Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Bangkok Dangerous (2002)
18

Deaf and dumb hitman Kong (Mongkolpisit) plies his trade on the mean streets of Thailand's capital, assassinating targets chosen by his underworld bosses with clinical detachment.

A chance meeting with Fon (Ratanasopha), a pretty girl working at a pharmacy, offers the possibility of romantic redemption, but when the girlfriend (Timkul) of his business partner (Intrakanchit) is raped, Kong is honour-bond to take revenge on the perpetrators of the crime...

Along with the like of "Tears of the Black Tiger" and "The Iron Ladies", "Bangkok Dangerous" belongs to a new generation of Thai films that are gaining international exposure.

Co-directed by Hong Kong duo the Pang brothers, it's a frenetic gangster thriller, whose bravura stylization fails to conceal a lack of both originality and substance.

Borrowing heavily from both the bittersweet nocturnal vision of Wong Kar Wai's "Fallen Angels" - which also featured a mute gunman seeking retirement - and displaying an over-fondness for John Woo-style bloodletting, the film makers signal their aesthetic intentions in a monochrome opening scene, where a slaying is witnessed from the upside-down perspective of a lizard on a ceiling.

Driven along by its techno soundtrack and some frantic cutting, "Bangkok Dangerous" has a feverish visual sensibility: black and white gives way to colour, childhood flashbacks unfold in super 8mm, time is speeded up and slowed down, chronology is reordered, filters bathe interiors in sickly hues.

Yet the central drama - a man forced to choose between the codes of his profession and the tenderness of romantic love - remains predictably familiar, whilst the formulaic screenplay make it difficult for the actors to transcend the 'cool' façades of their characters. Expect the Pang brothers receive a call from a Hollywood studio soon, though.

In Thai with English subtitles.

End Credits

Director: Danny Pang, Oxide Pang Chun

Writer: Danny Pang, Oxide Pang Chun

Stars: Pawalit Mongkolpisit, Premsinee Ratanasopha, Patharawarin Timkul, Pisek Intrakanchit, Korkiate Limpapat, Piya Boonnak

Genre: Thriller, World Cinema

Length: 105 minutes

Cinema: 22 February 2002

Country: Thailand

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