Owain Paciuszko 06/09/2008
There was a time in the mid-90s where Nicolas Cage was a guarantee of quality; whether it was the heart-breaking Leaving Las Vegas, the great fun action likes of The Rock, Con Air and Face/Off or even screwball comedy in the vein of Raising Arizona; Cage was 'the man'. But all good things come to an end, and Cage's glorious run continues to dribble on like a tenacious string of phlegm.
Bangkok Dangerous is not the worst recent Cage film, that honour is juggled between Ghost Rider and Next, but it is a very 80s DTV affair lacking any originality, style, narrative-drive, interesting twists or action. It does boast one of Cage's most restrained performances in recent memory, but the character he plays here is so unremarkable as to be boring and one almost wishes for a few Cage-quirks to surface and at least spice things up a bit. There are a number of nice character moments here and there, mainly between Cage's hitman and a deaf-mute pharmacist (Charlie Yeung), but this, like the rest of the film's stunted plot strands, leads to nothing.
The film is a remake that dispenses with the original's deaf-mute assassin for Cage's emotionally awkward all-hearing, all-talking assassin. It's a choice that renders the film very familiar and unoriginal, you've probably seen a number of other films about assassins realising that perhaps what they're doing isn't quite right, and if you have you've definitely seen that tale told better than it is here. The Pang brothers return to remake their own film but this time devoid of any sense of style or pacing and create a not entirely unwatchable but generally quite stale lump of post-Summer (in)action.