‘Dangerous” not safe for viewers

Scott Viau

Film: Bangkok Dangerous

Directors: Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang

Producers: Nicolas Cage, Norman Golightly, William Sherak

Writer: Jason Richman

Starring: Nicolas Cage

Runtime: 99 minutes

Rating: R

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What the hell happened to Nicolas Cage? I remember when he used to make really good movies, like “Leaving Las Vegas,” and was actually a talented actor. He took a wrong turn somewhere, and has been coming out with crap consistently for years. “Bangkok Dangerous” turns out to be no different than his most recent work and is more than likely a bleak glimpse of films to come.

Joe (Cage) is a hit man for hire. He is currently on assignment in Bangkok to take out certain people that his employees have a problem with. While in Bangkok, he hires Kong (Shahkrit Yamnarm), a streetwise man who helps Joe with gathering information he needs to carry out his executions. After receiving an injury during one of his assassinations, Joe goes to the local pharmacy to purchase medication. While there, he meets a young, deaf woman named Fon (Charlie Yeung). For some reason Fon seems to capture Joe’s heart, and he decides to court her. This eventually makes Joe discover his scruples, and he begins to wonder whether a life of murder and deception is one he truly wants.

“Bangkok Dangerous” is a remake of Oxide and Danny Pang’s original film of the same title. Although I haven’t seen the original, I’m sure it’s safe to say that it is more than likely better than its Hollywood counterpart. “The Departed,” which was based off the Pang Bros. own “Infernal Affairs,” showed that remaking foreign films for a Hollywood audience isn’t always a bad thing. The material for a great story needs to be there, though, and this time it wasn’t.

Looking like a stand-in for Alan Rickman in the Harry Potter films, Cage is truly phoning in this performance, just like he has with most of his recent films. He speaks in a monotone voice with much seriousness, even though a lot of the dialogue in “Dangerous” is laughable. I truly hope Cage signed on to this film only for the paycheck, and not because he thought the script had any merit to it.

Another humorous aspect is how the film becomes “The Karate Kid” for a brief period when Kong wants Joe to teach him how to defend himself, which comes about when he is attacked by a gang of neighborhood thugs. Despite the fact that he defended himself quite capably, Kong feels he has more to learn from his employer when it comes to the art of murder. Thankfully, these scenes are rather brief and never really come to fruition.

There are only two scenes in this film that actually grabbed my attention, and that’s because there was violence involved. The first was a somewhat entertaining shoot-out down a narrow, merchant-populated river. After wasting many rounds of ammo Joe finally catches up to his target and disarms him by severing his hand. The second notable scene comes toward the end of the film and involves a man being torn in half. I don’t even remember how this occurred but I do know that it looked cool.

The romantic relationship seems to be there only to justify the film’s ending and to add drama. There is no chemistry between Joe and Fon, who can hardly communicate. The latter is deaf and the former can’t sign, yet somehow love springs eternal, and this romance is enough for Joe to question his immoral ways.

It’s safe to say that those going to see “Bangkok Dangerous” can leave their brains at the door. If flat acting, laughable dialogue and a few notable scenes of violence is what you’re looking for, then run out to your local theater and see this. But by paying to see this movie, we’re only letting the studios think that we approve of this kind of mindless entertainment. So unless you want to see more trash, I would boycott “Bangkok.”