99 min. Rated R

Directed by the Pang Brothers

(Forest of Death, In Love with the Dead, & (the original) Bangkok Dangerous)

Every single thing I read about this movie was negative; that it was horrible and a waste of Nicolas Cage. Everything. So, I went in with excruciatingly low expectations, and to my utter surprise, I actually liked it. Well, I appreciated it. I suppose there's a difference. I mean, I wanted to hate this movie from the moment I first heard it was being made... or I should write, re-made, as there already was a Thai film called Bangkok Dangerous made in '99, by the same people. This film ... isn't even close to as bad as the critics out there will have you believe.

That being out the way... It isn't a greatest movie either. Fans of classic action films will be sourly disappointed. There are only 3 or 4 action scenes in the entire film, none of which will leave your jaw hanging open. However, the action is stylized; it feels like a foreign film, without subtitles. The whole film really, has a very deliberate style. It takes it's time with everything... even Cage's narration seems a bit slow.

The plot is so basic it almost hurts. Hit man gets ready for one last job, and then of course he's out for good. But things don't go quite as planned, and he falls in love just for good measure. That's pretty much it. You'd think that the love story elements here are silly, but are in fact handled delicately, with a touch of simple beauty. It not dwelled upon.

Given the fact that this film is very un-original, and lacking a lot of "punch," the filmmakers compromise by giving us photography that is incredibly stylish, and cool to watch. The visuals of Bangkok and the cinematography alone are almost worth admission. The Pang's play with color and realism... it almost feels like Wong Kar-Wai doing a hit man movie.

Plus, Nicolas Cage didn't bother me at all here. He has a tendency to do that sometimes, but his performance is much understated, deliberate, like the rest of the film. Despite the fact that when you first meet him, all you want to do is get him a haircut.

Believe it or not, this isn't as bad as the wrap it's getting. It's deliberately paced and not very exciting... but it works in a lot of places, despite the fact that it needs a new ending.

If Michael Bay's action movies are what you live for... this one might put you to sleep before the opening credits. But if you can appreciate a little "art" in your foreign action films, you might appreciate this one ... Might ... appreciate this one.


Bangkok Dangerous Stars:

Nicolas Cage, Shakhrit Yamnarm, Charlie Young, & Panward Hemmanee

The movie is similar to ... RIPLEY'S GAME (2002) ... GROSSE POINT BLANK (1997) ... LAST MAN STANDING (1996)... ROMEO MUST DIE (2000) ...