“Bangkok Dangerous” – Susan Granger reviews

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Hong Kong’s Pang brothers — Danny and Oxide — have reworked their similarly titled 1999 Thai-language feature to star Nicolas Cage as the brooding, introspective hit man-for-hire.

His thinly conceived story begins in Prague where he leads a solitary existence: sleeping alone, eating alone and living out of a suitcase. There are four rules he lives by: 1) Don’t ask questions. 2) Don’t take an interest in anyone or trust anyone. 3) Erase every trace. 4) Know when to get out — before you become a target.

“The money’s good and I do what I’m told,” he explains.

Then he gets a plum assignment–four separate assassinations in Bangkok–which, he decides, will be his last foray. Perhaps that’s why he lets down his guard, befriending Kong (Shahkrit Yamnarm), a petty thief whom he hires as an assistant, and falling in love with a deaf-mute pharmacist’s assistant (Hong Kong pop singer Charlie Young).

Accompanying the underdeveloped story and Cage’s unrelenting angst, cinematographer Decha Srimantrea’s dark, dank cityscapes radiate unrelenting grimy gloom, except for a bizarre drowning in a Sheraton hotel pool, an exotic chase sequence through a floating market and a tender interlude in a shrine.

As to why an actor of Cage’s Oscar-winning caliber (“Leaving Las Vegas”) is involved as a producer of this laconic, B-level thriller, Cage’s taste has always been eclectic, considering that his last outing was in “Ghost Rider.” Then there’s the money. After all, Cage has corralled at least 13 homes all over the world, including Neidstein Castle in Germany, an allegedly haunted house in New Orleans’ French Quarter, and a private island in the Bahamas. And real estate’s expensive.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Bangkok Dangerous” is a toxic, tedious 3. It’s “Bangkok Boring.”

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.