[Screen It]

(2008) (Nicolas Cage, Shahkrit Yamnarm) (R)

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Action: A solitary hitman unexpectedly begins to mentor his young assistant while on a job to kill several people in the Thai capital.
Joe (NICOLAS CAGE) is a veteran assassin who lives and works by four simple rules: Work alone, trust no one, don't leave any evidence, and know when to get out. With the latter in mind, he's decided to take one last job for Thai crime boss Surat (NIRATTISAI KALJARUEK) that will involve killing four people.

Hiring local Bangkok street hustler Kong (SHAHKRIT YAMNARM) as his assistant who gets the target info from go-between exotic dancer Aom (PANWARD HEMMANEE), Joe sets out to complete the task at hand and then leave. What he doesn't count on, however, is deciding to teach Kong the tricks of his trade (he usually ends up killing his assistants to cover his tracks) or falling for deaf pharmacist Fon (CHARLIE YOUNG).

When his last target ends up being a high profile politician (and thus a riskier kill), Joe must decide what to do, especially now that he's developed feelings for Fon and thus is conflicted about his place and role in the world in which he operates.

OUR TAKE: 3 out of 10
Our new reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics is that we'll only provide a paragraph or two about the film's artistic merits or, more accurately, lack thereof. After all, life is too short to spend any more effort than that on a movie that even the releasing studio knows isn't any good (which is why they hid it from reviewers before its release).

Having seen and reviewed thousands of movies, I often wish filmmakers followed the rules they devise for their characters. Case in point is this flick and the brotherly directing duo of Oxide Pang and Danny Pang who are remaking their 1999 pic of the same name. In it, thanks to unneeded and annoying voice-over narration, we hear that the protagonist has four rules by which he does his assassination work.

The last, and most pivotal, is to know when to get out. It's too bad the Pang brothers didn't heed that directive, for this is a muddled (and muddy looking) offering that rearranges some parts of the original, but otherwise is pretty much the same thing.

In short, an assassin ends up falling for a pharmacist when not dispatching his targets. While that's somewhat interesting in concept, it fails in execution for a variety of reasons, including Nicolas Cage looking about as bored as can be (and probably wondering what happened to his hair stylist). While not the worst thing I've seen all year, it certainly had me thinking about my own exit strategy -- from the theater. "Bangkok Dangerous" rates as a 3 out of 10.

Reviewed September 5, 2008 / Posted September 5, 2008

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