Nicolas Cage in Bangkok Dangerous (2008)


(director/writer/editor: Danny Pang/Oxide Pang; cinematographer: Decha Srimantra; music: Orange Music; cast: Pawalit Mongkolpisit (Kong), Premsinee Ratanasopha (Fon), Patharawarin Timkul (Aom), Pisek Intrakanchit (Joe); Runtime: 108; First Look Pictures; 2000-Thai)

“The film moves at a dizzying pace, as it moves either backward or forward with no rhyme or reason.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Filmmaking twins from Hong Kong but working in Thailand, Danny and Oxide Pang, direct and script a violent and simplistic formulaic Hong Kong action film in the style of John Woo and Wong Kar-wai. It’s a visual treat, but the story is sentimental nonsense. The meaningless story has to do with a confused hit man seeking revenge in order to show his loyalty for a fellow gangster. There’s an old-fashioned love story thrown into the mix, about opposites unable to connect. The best thing about this action flick, is that the dialogue is sparse. It saves a lot on the ears, as you can imagine what these imbeciles would have to say if they were allowed to fully express themselves.

Kong (Pawalit Mongkolpisit) is a deaf-mute street urchin who was bullied as a child and lost his hearing in a street fight but survived life in the rough Patpong district of Bangkok. He works in a shooting range cleaning up the shells, where the noise level is intolerable to everyone except him. When he becomes a skilled marksman this is noticed by regular customer Joe (Pisek Intrakanchit), a hardened professional hit man. Joe mentors the timid Kong; and, before you can say derivative filmmaking, Kong becomes overnight a motorcycle riding coldblooded assassin killing capitalist pigs for a ruthless mob boss.

Joe has a relationship going with a mob femme fatale, Aom (Patharawarin Timkul). Aom gets Joe hit man jobs through her contacts with the big boss. The three of them bond, as Joe gets Kong in on the action. Kong does a hit on the underground and one in a Japanese restaurant in Bangkok, and one on the street where he kills a prominent TV executive.

Kong drops by a pharmacy looking for some painkiller pills to relieve the migraines he gets ever since his rough childhood experiences and finds someone who is sweet and has a nice smile and who cares for him Fon (Premsinee Ratanasopha)–the drugstore counter girl. They go on a date to an amusement park and see a Charlie Chaplin silent film, where we see him laugh heartily for the first time.

But things go wrong when Fon finds out that Kong’s a gangster and drops him as if he were a hot potato. Meanwhile Aom gets raped by her boss’s client on the nightclub floor where she works, and Joe angrily kills the rapist in the men’s room of the nightclub. But the boss is not happy that his client is dead, and so his goons assassinate Joe in a messy shootout.

In the end it’s up to Kong to set things right, as he goes after the big boss and all his goons in their water plant hideout armed with only his automatic pistol. By this time, Kong has decided that he did wrong in killing all those people and doesn’t mind dying.

The film moves at a dizzying pace, as it moves either backward or forward with no rhyme or reason. There are trick camera shots, CGI effects, and it goes from black-and-white to color. Overall this is a dull film whose trick montage shots become more annoying than interesting, and if you told me the story was written by a lizard — I wouldn’t doubt it.