Sep 8, 2008

Bangkok Dangerous (1999)

Not too long ago I sat down and reviewed the newest Nicholas Cage vessel Bangkok Dangerous. That film is a remake of a Thai action drama filmed at the end of the 90's helmed by twin brother duo The Pang Brothers. When I had low expectations for the remake which we met with equally, I didn't expect the remake to be the exact opposite of the original.

Nicholas Cage is a caricature of our hero Kong, proven by the events. It even slightly explains the mop on his head. So, in the remake we have an assassin who becomes a sensei to a youthful man named Kong. This guy, Kong, is the only survivor of the hitman team in the Cage film. Kong, in the original, is an assassin who is taught by a man named Jo. Add a couple different scenes involving rape, and you've got nearly the same film, although backwards.

The original Bangkok Dangerous is 100 times more exciting, more dramatic, more tragic, and features an incredible love side-story, unlike that cantankerous love stint the Nicholas Cage had with the deaf-mute pharmacist. If you had to give Nic Cage lines, so be it, but I did admire how the Pang's turned the robbery scene into a entirely different scene as the woman couldn't hear the chamber emptying into thugs.

Kong is a deaf-mute which makes life a bit hard, especially his love life. If you enjoy awkward romance, fuck Juno and jump on the Bangkok bandwagon. He is unsociable and a cold remorseless killer. The only hesitation he even considers is just another obstacle he surpasses. The editing in this film was amazing at parts. It can be a fluent language of violence, as shown by the Pang's, but then it transforms back into painful drivel.

Blood is a striking substance that the duo uses to an effect. They find a mesmerizing beauty behind blood slowly shaping around tiles then reforming. I can see how this is an ample technique used in a thriller. One point I found to be a bit weird was the action scenes. Critics have hailed the original as "frantic and hectic gunfights" which it completely isn't. The gun play in this film is realistic and hardly stylish. Bullets go everywhere and there is no beauty to the point.

Thailand isn't normally a country I appreciate cinema from besides Tony Jaa films, but Bangkok Dangerous had that sly Korean feel which means there is life in that country. I'm glad to have seen this film, although a bit too late. The ending featured an incredibly tragic fate that could have been avoided but for the sake of sorrow, we wanted it to happen. Bangkok Dangerous (1999) puts the original to shame but still doesn't cross the line into marvelous territory.


No comments: