Friday, September 12, 2008

Bangkok Dangerous (1999)

By Abel Lin

Original is almost always better than the remake. But in this case, that's not saying much.

Starring: Pawalit Mongkolpisit, Premsinee Ratanasopha, Patharawarin Timkul, Pisek Intrakanchit, Korkiate Limpapat, Piya Boonnak
Directed by: Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang
105 minutes

“Straight in the eye!” — Joe.

First of all this is the most shady-snail DVD I’ve ever seen for a movie that wasn’t boot-legged. The DVD menu has “Play.” That’s it. And ass for brains that they have a ghetto subtitle set-up. Alas, I’m a hardcore film buff (or at least I try to convince myself that I am by subscribing with suburban-mom-Netflix) so I move on. Proof of purchase, Ki.

Dangerous reminded me of Zatoichi where somehow a disability actually IMPROVES your people skills, specifically killing them. This would make Helen Keller freaking 007 for spelling “water.” A disgruntled, angry janitor-teenager Kong becomes a deaf hitman. He gets his calls from Aom who moonlights as a stripper and is an ex to his mentor Joe, forced to retire from a botched-up killing. Employers decide to clean shop, and a random rape sets off — oh-God-bonkers, just watch it.

I know II stix is reviewing this because of that piece-of-crap Cage remake that the Pangs whored themselves out for. But the good news is that it vindicates the original can never be beat.

Opening-credit scenes gave a slutty nod to Alan Hitchcock, which was cool. Then decent-mediocrity ensues. I guess the problem with these quirky, indie-projects is that you either react strongly to it, or simply hate it for the hype it got for winning a FIPRESCI Award. Go ahead, look that up. It’s an actual award from the Toronto International Film Festival. I mean, yay Pang brothers. 

Let me please remind the reader one OCD-trait that I have: I hate prop plots. Like, “Oh how can we conveniently show that Kong’s a hit-man? Oh, I know. The park is suddenly enveloped by hoodlums.” GUESS what happens. Proceed to kill baddies to prevent dame gang-bang/self-defense. Dame flips. Hero menstruates deafly.

The budget obviously shows (read: pittance for Hollywood standards), but the Pangs make the best of it in their directorial debut. I must commend them on the flashy montages and lighting to create a disorienting feeling for the Thailand urban slums. But lacking realism that made films like Leon: The Professional sexy, flat-plot, and actors trying their best to work with the script, Dangerous isn’t showing anything new-new for the lone-gunman genre.

Just that Thailand give their strippers the ugliest outfits ever.

Bottom Line: Mediocre showing for the Pangs, in-line revenge flick worth a rent, nothing more. 

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