Bangkok Dangerous (IFC)Thursday 16 May 2002
Duration: 0 minutes
Directed by Oxide and Danny Pang, starring Pawalit Mongkolpisit, Pisek Intrakanchit and Premsinee Ratanasopha.
Loyalty, betrayal, revenge, the love of a good woman. No you're not in Hong Kong, just heading down towards Thailand where mute hitman Kong (Mongkolpisit) is suffering a crisis of conscience. Having made the census takers' jobs easier by wiping out half of Bangkok, Kong's starting to wonder if there isn't a bit more to life than semi-automatics and padded envelopes stuffed full of Bhat.
These thoughts come into even sharper focus when he meets Fon (Ratanasopha), the drop dead gorgeous pharmacist's assistant who becomes his friend and helps him forget about his meal ticket. But when Kong's buddy Joe (Intrakanchit) gets whacked, he realises that he can't stray from his chosen path just yet and becomes involved in a cycle of revenge.
While the brothers Pang deserve a truckload of praise for Bangkok Dangerous' visual style, the poorly worked plot and lack of decent dialogue makes you wonder if the title 'Bangkok Monotonous' isn't more appropriate. Sure, having a deaf and dumb hitman means that they can fulfil their wish of having a dialogue thin and visually driven film, but the character development is so poor and juvenile that you can't forgive them their poor choice.
Despite its subject matter, your pulse rarely races about what's onscreen and a horribly depressed feeling hangs over you like the muggy air in Kong's daytime hideout. As Kong nears his destiny, the film becomes more predictable by the shootout and it's no surprise that the ending turns out exactly as you figured from a half an hour earlier. The themes in this film have been better explored by John Woo in the 'The Killer' and Woo also managed to make you feel more attached to his characters - no matter how high the body count.
Make no mistake, the Pangs are talented, but this film showcases their best and worst qualities. And the only sliver of hope you'll take from 'Bangkok Dangerous' is that they learn from their mistakes and make the film that will do them – and you - justice.