Bangkok Dangerous (2008)

Bangkok Dangerous (2008)

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Cage could smell his own effluence. And it smelled good.
Cage could smell his own effluence. And it smelled good.

Twitter Plot Summary: An assassin ends up on the run after breaking his own very carefully structured rules.

Five Point Summary:

1. Worst escape from the police ever.
2. She’s deaf, perfect for Nicolas Cage.
3. Nicolas Cage clearly dislikes crabs.
4. Is something interesting going to happen any time soon?
5. Nicolas Cage in leather is a sight that can’t be unseen!

Nicolas Cage sports yet another adventurous hairpiece in Bangkok Dangerous, an assassin who breaks his own rules by falling for a woman and befriending/training a local boy. You can tell right from the start that this is not going to end well for him. Once you start breaking your own rules then that’s usually the start of your own downfall. When will these people learn?

This 2008 film is a remake of the Pang Brother’s debut feature of the same name. Remaking your own film is usually a bad idea unless you’re someone like Alfred Hitchcock. It’s an even worse idea when you make substantial changes to the original just to accommodate the whims of Nicolas Cage, who looks bored from start to finish. The original saw the lead character as deaf, which is an intriguing proposition, but can anyone seriously imagine Nicolas Cage playing a deaf guy? Still, the Pang Brothers bring a certain style to the direction that is frequently missing from action movies made in the West, and provides a sense of dynamic movement even if the actors are incapable of deomnstrating this themselves. It’s just a shame that it’s Nicolas Cage in the lead role bringing it all down. Now, depending on the script and the right director on occasion, Cage can be quite good – The Rock, Face/Off and Con Air being three good examples – yet here it feels nothing more than a vanity project for Cage and his production company. You can’t help but feel sorry for the Pangs, although they likely made quite a bit of money on this venture so perhaps it’s a moot point.

"So this is what I want you to do the next time you see me walking down the street..."
“So this is what I want you to do the next time you see me walking down the street…”

Not too far into the film we enjoy a scene featuring Cage conversing with a deaf girl, which is supposed to be heartwarming – at least, that’s what the soundtrack keeps telling us to feel – but it just verges on creepy. It’s Nicolas Cage hitting on a much younger woman, after all. The ensuing… well, the right word would be “romance”, apparently, is awkward and belongs in a different film. Cage struggling with hot food and grimacing at live crabs is as good as this plot gets. Far too much of the story gets bogged down with this disturbing romance, turning it not so much into an action vehicle for Nicolas Cage as a tawdry excuse for him to be in the vicinity of an attractive young Asian girl. The only person to come out of this without being smeared with the ridiculous stick is Shahkrit Yamnarm as Cage’s cheeky protege Kong, but this is mostly for his inventive use of swearing at Cage in his native tongue.

The assassinations are at least moderately entertaining, taking a variety of forms and doing something slightly different without ever outstaying their welcome. There is abundant overuse of elephants as a symbol of bad luck, and a little bit of entertaining gunplay by the final act, but ultimately they do nothing to prevent this being anything other than a tired excuse for an action film.

Score: 2/5

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