“Bangkok Dangerous” is a dark ride through the life of a hitman for hire. To clarify, by “dark” I mean really, really dark. As in this movie is almost impossible to see. At sometimes during the movie I couldn’t distinguish between the actors and the backgrounds. Also, by saying “ride” I am over-exaggerating just a little. The word “ride” seems to denote something fast and fun, neither are true here. A better word to describe this movie rather than “ride” could be “crawl.”
The Pang brothers, who made the original “Bangkok Dangerous,” have decided to remake it. But instead of keep the interesting storyline of a deaf and mute hitman, they cast Nicholas Cage (“National Treasure”). After a few of his one-liners and listening to him narrate the entire film, you’ll wish he was mute to begin with.
Cage plays Joe, a hitman that travels the world killing people for money. His anonymity is his weapon. No one knows who he is and he likes to keep it that way. Every place he goes he hires a small-time thug to do his dirty work, like deliveries and pick-ups, and then dispatches with them after the job is done.
The entire movie is narrated by Cage, telling us the ins and outs of hitman life. In the show “Burn Notice,” this type of how-to narrating works, but here it is grating and doesn’t really help move the story along.
We learn that this trip to Bangkok will be Joe’s last job. After this he’s done with the life. Wouldn’t you know it, that this is the time where everything doesn’t go exactly according to plan.
Joe finds Kong, a young punk, to essentially be his gopher. Kong runs back and forth from a club delivering sensitive documents stuffed in briefcases to Joe. These cases contain the information Joe needs to kill the people he’s being paid to kill. But Kong is so loveable, Joe is hard pressed to not become attached to him.
Joe also finds a love interest in a deaf woman named Fon that works at a pharmacy. Everything is going wrong. Joe’s life is spinning out of control. He’s falling in love ,which he’s not supposed to do, and he’s becoming friends with Kong ,which is another hitman no-no.
There are movies about hitmen that are interesting, but this isn’t one of them. It’s hard to take the film serious when it starts out as a dramatic film, heads on over into the buddy action genre, and then even skirts romantic comedy. It seemed so lackadaisically thrown together, that it was hard to care about anything.
Cage is completely unlikable and unbelievable as Joe the hitman. He doesn’t have that same aura as say Matt Damon had as Jason Bourne. He’s not equipped for a role like this. He clumsily moves around the film, like an old man, not fluid like you’d expect a world-renowned hitman to move.
But, in the end the story falls way short. There’s no emotion, or caring for the characters. Some of the plot points, like Joe training Kong like his little hitman Padawan, garner unintended laughter.
In short “Bangkok Dangerous” is anything but dangerous. It’s a dingy, slow-moving waste of big screen space. Its characters are dull, and its actors are duller. And to top it all off it seemed like Cage stole his hair-do from Tom Hanks in the “Da Vinci Code.” It’s hard to take someone serious when it looks like an animal just died on his head.