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Bangkok Dangerous


Stars: Nicolas Cage, Charlie Young, Shahkrit Yamnarm, Nirattisai Kaljareuk, Panward Hemmanee, Don Hetrakul, Namngen Jaruvijit, Napasaranh Mittiraroch

Director: Oxide and Danny Pang

I’ve found that one of the more interesting aspects of Cage’s recent movies has been admiring his impressive (or, rather too often, otherwise) various hair pieces. So I really enjoyed looking at the dark dreadlocks he sports here playing an accomplished assassin-for-hire who, having finished his latest homicidal assignment in Prague (and having conveniently killed his hired assistant into the bargain), heads for Thailand to carry out four hits which he intends to be, in the familiar plotline of this kind of dark thriller, his murderous swan song.

This English-language remake of the Pang Brothers’ considerably more interesting 1999 action thriller has been scripted by Jason Richman who manages to employ much the same essential storyline to lesser effect. Co-directors Danny and Oxide Pang have in turn turned it into a relatively bloodless shadow of its former self.

While the storyline remains is much the same it is strangely less involving, leaving the darkly photographed people and traffic-clogged Bangkok locations effortlessly to upstage the actors. The action sequences – notably a rousing boat chase thorough a crowded water market and any amount of gunplay and assorted mayhem and a severed hand still clutching a handgun – are competent enough but unremarkable and don’t really compensate for the largely lacklustre proceedings, which Cage matches with an equally lacklustre performance, leave what few acting honours there are to be taken by Hong Kong pop singer-turned-actress Young as the woman Cage falls for, and, especially, by Thai actor Yamnarm, who gives the best performance as the killer’s local hired hand.

Alan Frank

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Entertainment Film Distributors. Colour.
99 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 05 Sep 2008