Bangkok Dangerous

 
Slow action thriller from bored-looking Nic Cage.
  • Review Date: September 6, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

At first the assassin believes there's no "right" or "wrong" and kills whomever he's paid to eliminate. But by the end of the film, he discovers his conscience and puts his life at risk to save someone else's.

Violence

Explicit violence is to be expected in an assassin thriller, but most of the violence here is on the tamer side -- until the final sequence. Joe usually kills his targets by shooting them from afar, but one is drowned and another is shot by a gun taken from his own amputated hand. There are a few beatings in addition to gun violence, and the last shoot-out involves some grislier moments of a torso-less man and a suicide/murder.

Sex

Sexy Thai go-go dancers perform at a club in several scenes. A middle-aged man is shown having sex with two young women; one is topless. A couple flirts, hugs, and kisses.

Language

Surprisingly little cursing ... in English. Nearly all of the swear words are spoken in Thai and subtitled, including "f--k," "motherf---er," etc.

Consumerism

Some, but not excessive. Mercedes, cell phones, and a couple of expensive Japanese motorcycles.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Club-goers drink, as do gangsters at dinner; a cold bottle of beer is placed on a man's bruises; heroin is discussed and shown in a Ziploc bag, but it's not used.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this remake of a 1999 Thai thriller stars Nicolas Cage and has been targeting teen audiences -- and because of the hit man subject matter, it's likely to appeal to teen boys. Those who watch are in for a fair amount of violence, including a couple of grislier scenes of dismembered limbs. Two scenes feature a topless woman -- one during sex and another lounging. Other than those scenes, the sexuality is limited to flirting, embraces, hand-holding, and brief kisses. Nearly all of the movie's strong language (mostly "f--k" and its many derivatives) is spoken in Thai and subtitled in English. Expect some drinking and drug references, too.

What's the story?

Joe London (Nicolas Cage) is a professional hit man who lives by the cardinal rules of the job -- like "Erase every trace" and "Know when to get out." He's been hired to assassinate four men in Bangkok and plans to retire immediately after the last one. But after Joe hires a witty pickpocket (Shahkrit Yamnarm) as his go-between and meets a gorgeous deaf-mute pharmacist (Charlie Young), he starts breaking the rules and questioning his final hit.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Hong Kong-bred twins Danny and Oxide Pang (The Messengers) are popular filmmakers in Asia, but this remake of their same-named 1999 Thai signature hit lacks the energy and fast-paced momentum that American audiences expect from action thrillers. Perhaps the Pangs' first mistake in redoing their film for Hollywood was collaborating with Cage, who's joined Eddie Murphy in the club of actors who don't say "No" enough. Cage is humorless as the loner protagonist, and the Pangs don't help the sleepy first half of the movie with their reliance on slow, boring narration.

Thai actor Yamnarm infuses some much-needed levity into a few scenes, and Chinese actress Young is so lovely you can't blame Joe for falling instantly for her gentle beauty. Ultimately, though, the action is artificial, the characters aren't likable enough, and Joe's not nearly as fascinating as moviedom's most iconic guns for hire.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of stories about assassins. Why are professional hit men the protagonists of so many action thrillers? Despite what they do, are they sympathetic characters? Why or why not? The movie implies that killing "bad" men is OK but killing "good" men isn't. What do you think about that message? What separates the "good" guys and the "bad" guys in this movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 5, 2008
DVD release date:January 5, 2009
Cast:Charlie Young, Nicolas Cage, Shahkrit Yamnarm
Directors:Danny Pang, Oxide Pang
Studio:Lionsgate
Genre:Action/Adventure
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence, language and some sexuality.

This review of Bangkok Dangerous was written by

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byeastside01 June 11, 2009
age 13+
 

Bangkok Slow.

Bangkok Dangerous has another actor in this movie that is just doing it for the money. Wannabe Elvis Nicholas Cage delivers a tiring performance as someone. skip it.
Kid, 11 years old March 22, 2009
age 16+
 
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex

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