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Issue #130 HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES October 21st, 2002

Bangkok Dangerous
(1999; Film Bangkok/BEC-Tero Entertainment)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Produced by Nonzee Nimibutr (the innovative director of NANG NAK and JAN DARA), this Thai production served as the directorial debut of Oxide Pang Shun and Danny Pang Fat, who would go on to do the popular Hong Kong horror thriller, THE EYE. The brothers also wrote this ultra-stylish thriller about a deaf hitman named Kong (ONE TAKE ONLY's Pawalit Mongkolpisit), who was trained by seasoned killer Joe (Pisek Intrakanchit). Although he was tormented as a child because of his disability, Kong's deafness actually makes him an ideal assassin (since he cannot hear the bullet being fired, he does not blink and is thus able to perfectly maintain his aim). Working together with Joe and his beautiful female contact/lover, Aom (JAN DARA's Patharawarin Timkul), the mute assassin's talents are soon in great demand. He is even brought over to Hong Kong for a job and eliminates his target, while riding on the subway. Feeling ill one evening, Kong goes to a local drugstore and falls for the pretty young pharmacist, Fon (Premsinee Ratanasopha; click here for a still). The two begin a very innocent courtship (they attend a carnival and a festival of silent Charlie Chaplin movies) and Kong finds his life filled with a degree of joy he has never before experienced. Unfortunately, Aom is attacked and raped by a gangster who had previously employed the trio. Joe exacts revenge and this initiates a chain of violence that Kong must inevitably deal with.

The Pangs and cinematographer Decha Srimantra (THE EYE) really go to town here, experimenting with different gauges (Kong's tortured childhood unfolds in washed out Super 8), video, desaturated and oversaturated hues, freeze frames, intense grain and contrast, intentional scratches and wear, time lapse, high and slow speed...you name it. With its sleek carnage and doomed romance, there are inevitable echoes of THE KILLER and FALLEN ANGELS here but BANGKOK DANGEROUS has a pulsating, enervating rhythm all of its own. It is also never self-conscious about those rapid fire eruptions of style. The brothers revel in what technology allows them do but also impart that delight to the viewer. We are entertained by the smoke and mirrors, rather than numbed into a stupor by MTV stylistics, an impressive accomplishment in itself these days.

Cover art courtesy First Run.

Pawalit Mongkolpisit. Image courtesy First Run.
First Look #FLP-91209 (U.S. Label)

Dolby Digital 2.0

Sync Sound Thai Language Track

Permanent English Subtitles

13 Chapters

Fullscreen (cropped from 1.85:1)

Coded for Region 1 Only

105 Minutes

Contains brutal violence, mild sexual violence, and mild sexuality

DVD menu courtesy First Run.

Great Britain: 18
Netherlands: 16
Singapore (Theatrical): RA
Singapore: (Video): PG [Cut Version]
Sweden: 15
United States: R (Strong Violence and Sexuality)

Alas, this DVD is a disappointment on every level. The cropping of the picture leaves everything looking unduly cramped and there is no panning and scanning, thanks to the non-removable, theatrical subtitles (the packaging actually says Subtitulado en Espanol but a "Subtitled In English" sticker has been placed over it on the case). Colors are fairly dynamic but the image is quite soft, as are the contrasts. Unstable edges and displacement are also common. The sound is strong (Orange Music's techno score is dynamic) but the film was originally mixed in Dolby Digital and First Look has only included a 2.0 track. 13 chapters are provided without any kind of illustration in the menu or on an insert card. The sole extra is the American trailer. In other words, this is VHS masquerading as DVD and an innovative production like BANGKOK DANGEROUS deserves a far better showcase than this half-assed release.

Those with PAL playback capability are directed to Tartan's all-region UK release, which is 16:9 and includes some extras.

BANGKOK DANGEROUS is available at Poker Industries.

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