Fans of cinema can breathe a sigh of relief with the Pang Brothers’ remake of their own 1999 film Bangkok Dangerous, as it’s not as bad as it very well could have been. Too often does Hollywood remake Asian films but with zero effort put forth and thus zero quality is apparent with most of them. However this remake is a decent enough affair, and while it’s nothing overly great, it manages to dodge the bullets which usually result in these remakes being entirely wretched.
A ruthless hit man is sent to Bangkok to pull off a series of jobs, but whilst there he finds himself breaking some of his own rules by getting involved with a local girl and taking a young errand boy under his wing.
At the very least one can forgive this version of Bangkok Dangerous of its faults, of which there are quite a few, simply because it’s not as bad as we’re used to these remakes of Asian movies being. Hollywood usually does their own version of Asian horrors, such as The Grudge and Premonition (both of which are rubbish), but this time have picked an action/thriller. And in that respect it’s a welcome removal from the norm. Everything about this film feels adequate enough, which is acceptable when you factor in just how bad this easily could have been. However that doesn’t mean that it’s anything to shout from the rooftops about.
There’s really nothing to point out that’s terribly atrocious about Bangkok Dangerous, except of course Nicolas Cage’s ridiculous haircut, but at the same time there’s nothing overwhelming about it. The story is unoriginal, and one which drags here and there, and the titular dangerous nature of the city isn’t really put across as well as it should have been (but it does in the original, I might add). And there are many characters that either feels superfluous or generic and two-dimensional. And the attempts at morality and humanistic elements, especially of the main character, isn’t really convincing.
However in spite of its many problems, Bangkok Dangerous still ends up being entertaining. There are a handful of action sequences, including a pretty impressive one involving motor boats, and some beautiful location shots that I found to be quite pleasing to watch. The Pang Brothers are clearly having fun with the Hollywood budget they’ve required for this remake of their very own film and they undoubtedly know the titular city like the back of their hands. They don’t quite match up to some of the talent working in action cinema today, both Asian and American, but I feel they are sufficient guys to be working behind a camera on this type of movie.