The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: LionsGate - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 100 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Charlie Young, Shahkrit Yamnarm, Panward Hemmanee
Directed by: The Pang Brothers
Music by: Brian Tyler
Written by: Jason Richman
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 6, 2009
"There's only one way out"
As a hired assassin, Joe (Cage) is the best in the business but the years of stone-cold murder have taken their toll. Joe's plan to make this current assignment in Bangkok his last takes a wild turn when he violates one of the most important rules of the game. Now the hunter is the hunted in this hard-driving, action-packed thriller.
I have been watching and enjoying Nicholas Cage's films for years. I have seen him in a variety of them and can't say that I favor any particular genre but I can't think of one of his action based movie that I haven't liked. Unfortunately I can no longer say that as Bangkok Dangerous isn't a very good film. The story revolves around an assassin named Joe (Cage) who comes to Bangkok after being hired by a local gang leader to carry out four hits on various targets. Joe generally operates by using a local as a go-between to run errands between him and the client so that he never meets them face to face. Joe is painted as ruthless, thorough and consistent in his mode of operation which includes never leaving looses ends, getting close to people, or failing to carry out an assignment. Upon arriving in Bangkok he hires Kong (Yamnarm) a local small time pickpocket to be his errand boy/go-between. He carefully explains the rules to him and puts his standard plan into place to eliminate Kong after the job is completed. While carrying out the first hit Joe is accidentally injured and goes to a local pharmacy for antibiotics/medication. While there he meets an attractive local woman named Fon (Yeoung) who works there and happens to be deaf. He is smitten by her and returns later and asks her to go on a date with him. He also decides to make Kong his protégé rather than kill him. Meanwhile Kong (unbeknownst to Joe) has started a relationship with the young nightclub dancer that (the gang is using as their go-between) he has been meeting for each of the exchanges. Joe goes on his date with Fon and their relationship begins to blossom. Joe begins to have second thoughts about what he is doing and that perhaps it is time to get out. They seem to be brought on by his feelings for Fon and he decides that this will be his last job. Things begin to erode quickly when the gang decides that perhaps it isn't wise to leave any loose ends of their own. They decide that they will eliminate Joe once his tasks have been completed, the last of which is to kill a high profile politician.
In the opening segment Joe's narration sums him up in a nutshell. He lives a singular existence by choice which is necessary in his profession. No one can be trusted so he doesn't get close to people. He never leaves loose ends and is a meticulous planner. This is all illustrated when they show him carry out a hit in the beginning which is followed by the killing of his go-between. He gets to Bangkok to carry out four target style assassinations and seemingly with provocation begins to violate the rules that have not only kept him alive but have made him a successful hitman. Some of it was just plain silly and the film completely lost the flow that it had established in the opening segment. The ending was abrupt and didn't seem to fit until I watched the alternate ending in the special features. While it didn't improve the outcome of the movie it was far and away better than the one chosen for the theatrical release. I found this to be a disappointment and certainly not one of Cage's best efforts.
The rating is for violence, language, and some sexuality.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Bangkok Dangerous comes to Blu-ray Disc from LionsGate featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 35 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.7 mbps.
This film has a distinctive appearance that uses grain, de-saturated colors and high contrast. There are lots of dark sequences that are filtered so that color saturation is limited. It works well toward setting the mood and tone of the subject material. It does affect the rendering of flesh tones in those scenes as they appear lifeless and devoid of individual characteristics. I noticed that when this is not applied that color balance is much improved which provides better depth, vivid hues and skin tones appear better delineated and tonally divergent. Blacks are deep but on the muddy side which leaves them looking flat. Detail in dark backgrounds and shadow filled areas is very good which give many of the dingy interior shots better depth. Images aren't razor sharp but do offer excellent subtle detail during close up camera shots. The nighttime and wide angle camera pans of the city have less dimensional quality and above average definition that leaves objects in backgrounds looking less resolute. Grain is moderate to heavy at times but it is consistently layered and gives the video a noticeably textured look.
LionsGate's continues to support high bitrate lossless audio encodings that have yielded some high quality multi-channel soundtracks on Blu-ray Disc and Bangkok Dangerous is no different. This 7.1 channel surround mix makes regular use of the entire system and delivers near reference quality audio. This is a well balanced and active soundtrack that features deep, pulsating bass that reaches far into the room to augment the dynamic impact associated with the films action based elements and Brian Tyler's music score. The surround channels are actively engaged with a blend of discretely placed sounds and spatial ambience that weaves an aurally stimulating sound field that traverses the room. Dynamic range is extended and visceral at times when combined with the high level of sonic detail present in the recording. I never had any trouble discerning subtle vocal inflections or the presence of low level sounds that were mixed into the background. The mix facilitated seamless integration of the front three and four rear channels which created a stable and well proportioned listening experience that was complimented by rich, room resonating bass that had excellent palpability and tight extension.
- (HD) From Hong Kong to Bangkok - 15 minute documentary on Hong Kong Cinema
- (HD) Bangkok Dangerous: The execution of the film - 13 minute making of featurette
- (HD) Alternate ending
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- (HD) Coming soon from LionsGate - Previews
- MoLog - BD Profile 2.0 player required
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc - A standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable playback device
Bangkok Dangerous is a below average offering from the Pang brothers that will be a disappointment to Nicholas Cage fans. The script features flimsy action based elements and an insipid plot that genre fans will probably find rudimentary and lacking in practicality. For those who liked Bangkok Dangerous LionsGate has once again treated us to a first rate multi-channel lossless audio presentation on Blu-ray Disc. The high definition video presentation isn't among the best we have seen from the format however I believe that this closely resembles the original look of the film and its quality is solid. The bonus supplements are presented in high definition but offer little in the way of comprehensive content for fans.
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