Eastern cinema is still in vogue at the moment, if in doubt, just check out the world cinema section at your local movie store. Indeed, Hollywood never far behind to cash in on a trend has recently remade Japanese films such as The Ring and Ju-On aka The Grudge, and this film is being remade starring Nik Cage. But here we are concentrating on the original.
The majority of these films are horror/suspense or violent blood soaked gangster movies.
Bangkok Dangerous is no exception to the gangster genre; however, the reason for reviewing this film is because ‘Kong’ the main character is portrayed as being deaf and mute.
The film follows ‘Kong’ as a deaf-mute professional hitman, whose life is one of remorseless killing after coming under the wing of an ‘Joe’ a hitman and ‘Aom’ his bar-girl girlfriend. However, after a chance encounter with ‘Fon’, an innocent girl from the local chemist it appears that Kong now has a chance to find love, happiness and a way out from his violent life. Matters are then complicated by the rape of ‘Aom’ and the death of ‘Joe’. Kong must now decide whether to turn his back on a life of crime or go and seek revenge.
This film offers nothing new from other Eastern counterparts in it’s predictability such as the violent blood-letting or the chance of romantic redemption. But the Pang Brothers exploration of the themes; disability, weakness and death in the main characters more than outweighs it’s predictable nature.
The film features innovative editing such as the clever use of childhood flashbacks in black and white super 8mm, camera tricks such as the monochrome opening scene, where a killing is witnessed from the upside-down perspective of a lizard on a ceiling and stunning visual scenes of Bangkok that do make it stand out from other gangster films. The film is vibrant, adrenaline filled and comes with impressive performances from the main characters.
Bangkok Dangerous is definitely worth watching but I wouldn’t recommend buying it at world cinema prices unless an avid fan of Eastern cinema.
Directors: Danny and Oxide Pang
Languages: Thai and English Subtitles
Distributor: Tartan Asia Extreme 2002