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Rental Review: Bangkok Dangerous

February 15, 2009
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Bangkok Dangerous

By Chad Larson

Nicholas Cage is a pretty interesting actor, and his career has put him in quite a few fantastic movies and some that were pretty terrible.

“Bangkok Dangerous” is definitely in the latter category. Cage plays Joe, a top-tier assassin who is the best in the business. After taking a high-profile job in Bangkok, he finds himself falling for a local woman, questioning his own choices in life, and sparking a war with his own employers.

The main problem in this movie is that Nicolas Cage just isn’t a bad ass. He excels when he can play characters that are multidimensional (such as the obsessive-compulsive Roy Waller in “Matchstick Men”) or slightly derived from an everyday guy (car thief Memphis Raines in “Gone in 60 Seconds” or Ben Gates from “National Treasure”). But the really bad movies seem to be the ones that put him in a one-track mindset. “Ghost Rider” is another example of this – when he doesn’t have much to work with character-wise, he sort of overplays the aspect he does have to work with, and this movie is the perfect example of what I’m talking about.

Joe, our main character, is the ultimate bad ass. He kills his associate in the beginning after completing the job, making it look like the guy overdosed on heroin. He coldly kills people with no compunction. He rides a motorcycle like a champ and can get away with pumping a carful of businessmen full of bullets at a busy intersection with apparently no consequences, even though he states at the beginning that part of his mission is to “leave no evidence.”

The plot of the movie plods along and 45 minutes into it, I not only had no clue where the story was going, but I just didn’t care. Joe’s character is so flat and boring, that his love interest (who is deaf and communicates through sign language) is infinitely more interesting despite having no lines whatsoever.

I do intend to check out the original 1999 version of Bangkok Dangerous which was written by this film’s directors, the Pang brothers. I think some of the appeal of the original story was lost in the translation to American films. (For example, in the original version the hitman character was deaf-mute, which already makes him more interesting than this version!)

I will take this moment to say that now that I have a Netflix membership I will be back in the loop with reviews again. Next in my queue is Towelhead which I’ve heard good things about.

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