Forget for a moment that the star of Bangkok Dangerous is Nicolas Cage. This fact alone nearly deterred me from watching this movie. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not that bad an actor. But for a martial arts action movie, Nick Cage is not the kind of star that comes to mind. Cage tends to be overdramatic when he gets these action roles which becomes a distraction while trying to enjoy a movie. And Bangkok Dangerous is exactly the type of movie where being overdramatic can ruin things. But even Nic couldn’t ruin this one.
This movie has a great (if not that original) story about a hired hitman wanting to distance himself from his intended victims only to ultimately submit to his conscience. Joe (Cage), the methodical and precise gun for hire does this by not only by committing the ultimate sin for a hitman; letting his prey live, but also by taking on a young protegé and falling for a woman all at the same time. In a revelatory moment of introspection, he goes from rigidly obeying his own set strict rules and protocols to breaking all of them all at once. You can almost figure out how all these changes result in utter chaos with regards to his current mission and how he handles his new love interest.
Joe first adopts Kong (Shahkrit Yamnarm) after using the young man as brief message conduit (one of Joe’s cool work protocols) and almost as soon as he’s broken his rule of solitary operation he also falls for a cute mute pharmacist Fon (Charlie Yeung). It’s the interaction with these two new people who become immersed in his life that he begins to question his cold killing ways to which he’d reconciled as putting down evil men.
Directed by the Pang brothers (who I’ve discussed previously with Re-cycle and who are better known as the guys who created the original Asian The Eye trilogy of movies) this is a great flick with just the right touch of human elements to shore up the action packed chases and shootouts.
And here’s a crazy fact. This is not the first Bangkok Dangerous movie the Pang brothers have made as they made one in 2000. But this is not a remake of that one for North American audiences as you would think. While I have not seen that earlier movie, the plot seems completely different to this movie. You’d think the bros would have been able to come up with a new title so as to avoid any confusion.