Bangkok Dangerous (1999) - Directed by Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang. Mandarin with subs


Plot- Thailand a deaf and mute young man, Kong, works as an assassin with his best friend and mentor, Jo; his disability making him singularly good due to not being fazed by gunfire or the pleading of his victims. However after his partner's girlfriend is raped and Jo seeks retribution it's not long before their bosses decide they're too much trouble to them and set out to have them killed. It's then a race to see who get's to who first. Throw in a side love story for Kong and you can see where this is going....

Thoughts - This is a very messy film; from the very beginning where we witness an assassination from the upside down POV of an Iguana on the ceiling to the flashbacks in scratchy grainy footage to transitions to black and white, heavily saturated colour schemes, slow-mo and a number of different visual tricks (this is not a film for anyone that suffers from epilepsy) the Pangs have certainly made a flashy film. Unfortunately it is a rather hollow one at that.

The script such as it is, takes elements from Leon, any number of John Woo films, and doesn't allow the actors to be more than two dimensional archetypes on the page. Throw in a clichéd love story half way through and it's not a film that engages on any level other than a visual one. Is that enough for a film? Well no, not when the pacing and tone varies so dramatically in this case. Rather than throwing the kitchen sink of techniques at the screen and coming across as a hyperactive film student who's just discovered Tarantino, they would have been better toning it down and creating a more interesting story. The setting is interesting but it's not enough to transpose such a humdrum story into this exotic locale. Pavarit Mongkolpisit as the deaf and mute Kong does an admirable job conveying the stoicism and general cluelessness when relating to 'normal' people that an isolated person would have but the role doesn't really give him that much more to do and as for the rest of the cast, well they're pretty forgettable.

It's a film that I didn't hate but which I was bored by unfortunately. The overly busy visual style did not work for me and really when you strip that away there's precious little to the film.