Bangkok Dangerous - My Review and Your Thoughts -
June 12th 2011, 08:13 AM
You know the drill.
This is a slightly older movie than the others I've reviewed as it was made in 2008 but is a remake of the 1999 version. For both movies, the directors were the same (Pang Brothers), so the films have a lot of similarities, however, my focus is not on comparing the two, it's simply on the 2008 version (rated R). Overall, I give this movie a 4/10 rating, my lowest yet.
I'll admit, I'm biased as I love action movies but this was a very slow action movie. In fact, it's not accurate to even call it an action movie, it's more of semi-action, semi-drama movie because the action is poor and the drama is very slow. Joe (Nicholas Cage) is a hit-man who seems exhausted and it's confusing whether he's meant to be void of emotion because he's quite gloomy. He plays this role very well throughout the movie and it helps to show the love he has for Fon (Charlie Yeung). The cinematography is always dark around Joe, further emphasizing his gloomy/void of emotion role. Even before you get to see him, you hear his description of Bangkok, Thailand as a dirty, corrupt city and its disheveled appearance supports Joe. Its corrupt nature is immediately verified by Kong (Shahkrit Yamnarm) as he successfully steals wallets of several tourists he's talking with. The way I gathered the movie, Joe isn't meant to be someone you can easily relate with, unless you're a hit-man or a very gloomy person.
This gloomy nature quickly becomes synonymous with hardly trying to act. Joe often is mentally exhausted despite his ingenious plans and bomb devices, so it's as though Cage is playing two characters: the ruthless killer and a bogged down gloomy guy. These personalities are mutually exclusive so it's hard to relate to him because he's changing so much. When he teaches Kong how to fight and shoot, the training scenes absolutely suck. They're very short and Joe is a crappy teacher as he doesn't explain much of anything, seems uninterested and gives no guidance. On the other hand, Kong is struggling away, putting lots of energy into the training, desperate to learn and it's sad to say but his good acting becomes crappy only because he's trying so hard with Joe and receives nothing. From the audience, you can see how hard he's trying and it's a let-down when Joe does next to nothing.
Fon's acting is decent, considering the fact she doesn't say a word, she's a mute. Her character is always bright, smiling, sees the good in everything and sticks with Thai tradition, as noted when she prays in front of the large Buddha statue. Again, Joe craps all over the place. It's understandable he's confused since she's a mute and is mystified by her beauty and caring, however, he this role never changes; he's a deer in the headlights.
Regarding the action (or semi-action) scenes, the reason why they're poor is Joe slowly strolls through them as though the movie is in slow-motion or he just stands like a deer in the headlights. For example, once Joe kills the third target, he stands over the deceased, not for one or two seconds, but for quite a long time without moving. Even after Kong comes and is horrified as the target is dead and mutilated, Joe still stands there like a statue. Backing up a bit, when he's involved in the boat chase, it's unfortunately a weak one because he's very close to the target yet constantly misses (and the target misses his shots), magically never needs to reload despite shooting more than 10-12 bullets, the bike he steals should have exploded earlier as the target shot it up yet the bike doesn't, the camera angles are far away so they're poor and the girls who are with the target disappear in thin air. When the cops shoot and chase Joe, he runs pretty damn slow yet is easily winded. When his shoulder is cut after the first kill, somehow the area has a big ass bruise, which really makes no sense because he quickly cleans it with some water then heads over to the pharmacy. In addition, the cuts have healed quite well in that short time, it's not really believable.
The good action scenes are the shortest and guess what, they don't involve Joe! These scenes are when Kong is fighting and running but there's no where near enough of it. Joe's action scenes toward the end get really good but they're abruptly ended and started, and are pretty short.
Lastly, Aom (Panward Hemmanee) has very few lines, so it's hard to judge her acting as most of her scenes involve her with Kong. However, there are some plot holes here because some scenes have Aom not dancing (she's a dancer at the club) as she's kissing Kong in the back room. Another plot hole and unrealistic part is when one of Surat's henchmen is standing right next to Aom as she's really going at it strong with Kong yet nobody notices this henchmen until Kong leaves. This guy has bleached hair, taller than the both of them, wearing distinctive clothing and Aom easily recognizes him... yet he's not seen when the two are going at it.
At the end, it really becomes a strong drama as Joe kills himself in order to kill Surat.
Overall, piss poor acting by Cage, most of the action scenes were crap, the drama scenes doddled on the spot then abruptly moved forward and there were plot holes with unrealistic parts. Hence, 4/10.
The ads/trailer was actually really good, hence why it was nominated for Best Foreign Action Trailer at the Golden Trailer Awards. I had high expectations going in from the trailer but it was incredibly unrepresentative of the movie.
I can rip you off, and steal all your cash, suckerpunch you in the face, stand back and laugh. Leave you stranded as fast as a heart-attack.
- Danko Jones (I Think Bad Thoughts)
Re: Bangkok Dangerous - My Review and Your Thoughts -
June 14th 2011, 11:35 AM
Shitty movie. Why does Nicholas Cage pick consistantly bad roles? I mean he's got a few good ones... Con Air, Adaptation, Matchstick Men, and a few others... they're his only watchable movies. Everything else has been shit. I mean, The fucking Wicker Man? Really?
To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget