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  Bangkok Dangerous Take A Hit
Year: 1999
Director: Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang
Stars: Pawalit Mongkolpisit, Premsinee Ratanasopha, Patharawarin Timkul, Korkiate Limpapat, Piya Boonnak
Genre: Action, Thriller, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Kong (Pawalit Mongkolpisit) makes his living in Bangkok as a hitman, thinking little of the people he kills as for him it's strictly business. But there's another reason he feels little connection to the job and that is because he is profoundly deaf, and has been since childhood where he was picked on by the other boys, leaving him a loner in his community. Now he is grown, he really only has one friend, and that's Joe (Pisek Intrakanchit), who spends his time getting drunk, although Kong is also on good terms with Aom (Patharawarin Timkul), a local stripper...

That friendship is more down to the fact that Kong has the details of his next hit passed on to him by Aom rather than any great affinity he has for her, but this is all about a cold killer discovering his humanity in the first feature from the Pang brothers, a pair of Hong Kong twins who made their mark in Asian cinema with a variety of genre-inflected movies. Bangkok Dangerous was their thriller, and got them noticed around the world as many regarded it as the natural successor to the type of action flick John Woo had popularised a few years before.

However, not everyone was won over, and while the Pangs knew their way around a suspense sequence, this wasn't really up to the standards of Woo at his best. Not that it was bad, it was simply more morose than kinetic for much of the running time as Kong wasn't exactly the most fun to hang out with, even if he is imbued with an innocence that belied his profession: we had been here before, and in this instance not much was being brought to the table that had not been there before. Only Kong's disability marked him out as something different from the norm.

Never mind the practicalities of a deaf hitman might have made him more vulnerable than your average hearing hitman, it all went to emphasise the character's isolation, an isolation that begins to improve thanks to the love of a good woman. That was the biggest cliché here as Kong meets chemist Fon (Premsinee Ratanasopha) who takes a shine to him and treats him kindly, so the next day he goes back to her shop to thank her with a note (he's a mute as well). One thing leads to another and soon they are enjoying each other's company on long walks through the Bangkok evening.

Naturally it all has to end, and does when Fon discovers in the most alarming way possible what her new beau's job actually entails. When he sees himself through her appalled eyes, Kong has to take stock of his way of life and he experiences something he never has before: remorse. But is it too late for him, as his two friends are placed in peril thanks to the gangsters at the top wishing to cover their tracks after one of Kong's hits gets that bit too high profile? The Pangs furnished what was in practice an oddly enervated tale with some flashy editing and camerawork which went some way to redeeming a predictable story, and it's obvious they had talent, but the curious old chestnut you got in movies like this of the killer with the heart of gold was barely saved by that method. Even by this stage, a killer as a main character who was an out and out bastard might have been refreshing; we had been here before, basically. Orange Music did the techno tunes.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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