Bangkok Dangerous

bangkok_dangerous44

1999

Directed by Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang – Written by Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang

Starring: Pawalit Mongkolpisit, Premsinee Ratanasopha and Patharawarin Timkul

Despite being quite a fan of Asian cinema this is the first Thai film I’ve picked up and I must say I was very glad I took a chance on a film which has a mixed reputation – due in no small part to the 2008 remake starring Nicholas Cage. I urge you to dispel any predisposed opinions on this film which have been formed from either watching or being told about the 2008 Bangkok Dangerous. The remake is not only terrible in comparison it actually has a completely different plot. I know, I’m as confused as you but let’s leave that behind us and think about the original.

Within the first few minutes of the film you are thrown from a gritty murder in a Bangkok backroom to the multi-coloured lights in the streets and the hazy, depraved, neon lounge of a strip club. You slowly learn that the protagonist is a man named Kong, a deaf-mute assassin.  As the film develops we learn how Kong originally got into the business and how he slowly tries to better himself as well as better understand himself.

Soon, Kong finds romantic interest in Fon, a retail assistant in a Chemist. This sudden blossoming of emotion in Kong begins to warp his perspective of the life he leads and question the motives of those who surround him. As the thread unravels, chaos ensues and his life is thrown into turmoil. This strange zero to hero plot develops more as everything begins to become tangled around Kong’s life.

Kong is as brutal as he is efficient but there is no sense of malice and this is portrayed through the nature of the production. The haunting mise-en-scene maintains a cold edge throughout the film and good use of point of view creates Kong’s truly silent perspective. This atmosphere is complimented perfectly by the distinct lack of dialogue throughout the film. Pushing away the dependency on speech creates an extremely stylised piece that truly pulls the viewer into what they are seeing and helps them try to understand things which are not explained to them.

Very formalist editing and clever action scenes pepper the 105 minutes and round off a piece of cinema which has been unfortunately tainted by Hollywood. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Bangkok Dangerous and would recommend it to most, although I will warn those with a weak constitution that a few of the scenes leave little to the imagination.

9/10

– Jake Jackman

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