Went to see this on rainy Saturday, mostly to see Cage, who I was in acting class with decades ago before he was in any movies and always dug his fearless approach to the craft as well as his choice of roles.
This flick is made by the Pang brothers in that now not so new Hong Kong action film style that a lot of my intellectual friends have been enamored with for a while now.
I never found it that enticing. Compelling at times while watching, but mostly the murky bluish tint to everything, the muffled then blasting sound, the convenient coincidences etc. not my thing. Although sometimes each of those techniques and more can work very well, but it’s not a style I crave to see or fall under the spell of every time.
This was an exception, for the most part. The murky color and strangely balanced sound etc. bugged me for awhile until the story drew me in and I stopped noticing.
Cage was as compelling a screen presence as he usually is, and looked authentically like he’d lived the hard life that the character did. Someone actually doing the job his character does would probably want to appear less unique and eccentric, but it still worked for me. And he does that action stuff well.
But it was an added story element that most drew me in, that involved a lovely Asian actress playing an innocent and almost childlike non-hearing, non-speaking pharmacist! (Unfortunately I couldn’t catch her name or find it on the web.)
An unexpected twist that made a few scenes more touchingly poignant than the usual “romantic” element in these action flicks.
If some of the storyline seemed a little too predictable, well it’s a genre film and that’s to be expected. And anyway, some elements seemed too unpredictable, or unjustified given the narration and plot up to those points. But between the look and sound and style, as well as some of the plotting, it’s certainly a change from the usual Hollywood action flick of this kind, the Bourne trilogy etc. (though I have to admit I find the Bourne movies totally satisfying as movie experiences, and Matt Damon an equally compelling presence in them).
So, if you like action flicks but crave a change of pace in the usual way they’re made, BANGKOK DANGEROUS should give you a movie thrill.
And it was definitely a nice respite from the political concerns that can seem overwhelming these days, if you realize how much this election means and how much can go wrong. Although, in some ways, BANGKOK DANGEROUS could be seen as a metaphor for that kind of this-could-be-it turning point in the life of our nation situation.