Bangkok Dangerous (2008), or Why Did I Even Bother?

9 01 2009
One Shot. One Kill. One Pathetic, Simpering Actor.

One Shot. One Kill. One Pathetic, Simpering Actor.

Oh, man! What the hell just happened to me? One minute I was sitting in my lovely chateau, sipping sherry while watching a DVD menu screen, and then I press play: that’s when I felt a searing pain shoot up my body. I black out from the sheer agony. I wake up quickly, thinking that perhaps it was just my lack of sleep or acute movie-poisoning. But no, it’s something much more insidious. So for the next 100 minutes, I’m assaulted with Nicolas Cage’s latest embarassment, Bangkok Dangerous. All the while, I feel my skin crawl, my muscles tense up, my kidneys freezing up due to all the crap I’m intaking. Now I can’t go to the bathroom without seeing my own blood and when I went to the doctor he said I might never love again. What have you done to me, Nicolas Cage?!?!?!?!?!

Hold on… Let me pull myself together for a second. Bangkok Dangerous is a 2008 remake of a 1999 Asian crime drama of the same name directed by the Pang brothers. In the original, the main character was Kong, a deaf-mute hitman who did revenge killings for his boss Jo. It seemed interesting chiefly due to the idea of watching a deaf assassin set up his killings, how it would be different than watching someone who could hear the bullet come out and the ensuing police detachment’s sirens. This remake, also made by the Pang brothers (huh?), will hold no such interest for you. In the remake, American hitman Joe, a guy who can hear (!) and speak (!!) has to assassinate four people on his trip to Bangkok. He never meets with the gang, in particular the gang leader Surat. He instead hires a mediator at random named Kong (!), a pickpocket who can hear and talk, to speak with the gang’s contact, a dancer at a nightclub. He gets his orders from there, and as he goes along with the killings, he notices that something’s not right, because as he gets to the last assassination, he realizes it is the Prime Minister of Thailand. He has to make some difficult choices, blah blah blah, do what’s right, blah blah blah. You get it, I’m sure. Oh, and along the way, he falls in love with a chemist named Fon who is deaf-mute (!!!)! What the fuck?

This is a straight-up action movie that is so dumb I would be surprised if I hadn’t lost any brain cells from watching it. It’s such a paint-by-numbers affair. The Pang brothers need to understand that with a remake, its like giving someone a makeover: you cut the hair, you put on some makeup, you paint their nails. You don’t rip out the heart, the mind, or the lungs when you want to update a movie for an American, and that’s what they did. The crux of your movie is having a deaf-mute assassin, and then you remake it but give him his hearing and speech back? That sounds like a different movie, my friend. Why don’t you just call it Bangkok Unimportant or Bangkok Boring at that point?

But in the end, the Pang brothers made this as a vehicle for one man, a man about which they even freely admitted, “We’d like to keep him[the main character] the same, but we understand that from a marketing point of view Nic needs to have some lines.” My oldest foe, we meet again… Nicolas Cage and I have a long history of hatred for each other. He makes movies that show blatant contempt for the audience’s higher brain functions, and I hate him for that. This one is no different. He runs around in that long hair piece he ripped off Tom Hanks’s skull circa The DaVinci Code with the same frantic, weird characterizations he has been using since Valley Girl and trying to make it come off as fun and action-packed. It’s not fun, Nic. It’s just weird. You try to make these people you play interesting, but they all just turn out quirky and slow, and you need to get out of Hollywood with your millions of dollars before someone bigger than me calls you out on it.

Another predictable mess by Nicolas Cage that not only ruined the legacy of a film from another country, but also might have given me smallpox. It’s bad folks, and not in a so-bad-it’s-good way. It’s bad in a so-bad-it-killed-my-plants kind of way. Still it was technically a movie, so I cannot give it the dreaded zero, and it was short, so it doesn’t even deserve a 1. Nic, fuck you. Your movie gets 2 hastily thought-out remakes out of 10.

See you tomorrow, where we have another surprise movie! What will it be? Oooooh! I’m giddy with excitement!