Bangkok Dangerous is a 2008 crime thriller film written and directed by the Pang Brothers, and starring Nicolas Cage. It is a remake of the Pangs' 1999 debut Bangkok Dangerous, a Thai film, for which Cage's production company, Saturn Films, purchased the remake rights.
Known by its working title, Big Hit in Bangkok, and also as Time to Kill, it began filming in Bangkok in August 2006. The film was financed by Initial Entertainment Group, with Lionsgate Films acquiring its North America distribution rights. The film was released in North America on September 5, 2008.
Joe (Cage) is an professional freelance contract killer. He works strictly by the rules; He never socializes outside his work, he stays secluded in quiet spots, never meets his handlers and always leaves on time, leaving without a trace. He usually hires young pickpockets or small-time criminals as his local help, whom he usually murders after the end of the job to prevent any identification. He uses multiple aliases and also has middlemen between him and his handlers. He also carries a watch to perform a hit in specific time and correctly visualizes his every target.
After completing a hit in Prague and killing his current help, Joe travels to Bangkok for an assignment to assassinate four people for notorious Bangkok crime boss Surat, whom he never meets. Joe occasionally provides insight via voiceover narration throughout the film. He hires a local pickpocket with simple English knowledge, Kong, as his go-between in Bangkok, a condition of the contract being that the gang will never meet Joe. Contracts from the Bangkok gangsters are passed to Kong one by one via a nightclub dancer, Aom. Joe's first execution in Bangkok is done on motorcycle; when the target car stops at a red light, Joe kills all the passengers with a machine pistol.
Kong retrieves information about the second target, again via Aom, and the pair become friendlier with every contact. The target Pramod Juntasa, a notorious gangster and sex trafficker who buys young girls from impoverished parents and sells them after sex deals. Joe sneaks into the target's penthouse and drowns him in his pool. Unsatisfied with Kong's assistance, Joe contemplates killing him, but after a brief confrontation when Kong is ambushed by local gangsters regarding a briefcase containing information files of Surat's/Joe's targets, he instead decides to act as Kong's mentor and trains him for self-defense.
Midway through the movie, Joe meets Fon, a deaf-mute pharmacist, with whom he becomes intrigued after a brief consultation. Joe later returns to the pharmacy to invite Fon out for dinner. Soon after Joe falls for Fon and meets her mother. The affair is cut short when he shoots and kills two assailants in Fon's presence. Blood splatters on Fon, and she runs off, trembling and traumatized by the violent deaths. Feeling betrayed, Fon cannot forgive Joe and ends their relationship.
Before the third kill, the gang attempts to identify Joe, and he warns them off. For the third execution that takes place at the Damnoen Saduak market, Kong assists Joe. The kill does not go as planned, and the target nearly gets away but Joe manages to catch and assassinate him. Before beginning his last mission Joe visits Fon, presumably to say goodbye. She initially ignores him but as Joe begins to drive away she runs after his car.
His fourth target is the Prime Minister of Thailand. Joe is about to make the kill when he has second thoughts, is spotted, and escapes through a panicking crowd. Meanwhile the gang has abducted Aom and Kong with plans to execute them. Joe, now a target, is attacked at his house by four of Surat's henchmen. He uses explosives to take them out and is faced with the choice of rescuing Kong or leaving the country unharmed. Joe decides to rescue Kong, so he sets off to the gang's headquarters with one of the half-alive attackers.
Joe goes to the gang's headquarters, kills most of the gang including his bodyguard (who is blown into half by explosives), and saves Kong and Aom. The fearful gang leader flees to his car with three other accomplices. Joe spots him and shoots the gang members, then gets into the back seat with Surat. As the police arrive at the location, Joe realizes he has only one bullet. He puts his head adjacent to Surat's, puts the gun up to his temple and pulls the trigger, killing himself and Surat.
- Nicolas Cage as Joe
- Shahkrit Yamnarm as Kong
- Charlie Yeung as Fon
- Nirattisai Kaljaruek as Surat
- Panward Hemmanee as Aom
The original film's main character is a deaf hitman, whose disability makes him a fearless, unflinching gunman. That character has been changed in the remake. "We'd like to keep him the same, but we understand that from a marketing point of view Nic needs to have some lines," Oxide was quoted as saying in the New York Times. "So what weâre going to do is transform his girlfriend instead into a deaf-mute. This switch will maintain the drama of communication between the two main characters."
The Soi Cowboy entertainment district was among Thai locations used for filming.
The film grossed US$42,487,390, of which $15,298,133 was from the US. However, the film grossed US$7.8 million on its opening weekend making this the first film since Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star to debut at number 1 with such a low gross. Lionsgate distribution topper Steve Rothenberg said, "It will be a nicely profitable film for us." When compared to the film's $45 million budget, Bangkok Dangerous was a box office bomb.
Home media release
Bangkok Dangerous was released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 6, 2009. As of December 1, 2009, 760,178 units have been sold, gathering US$15,058,164 in revenue.
An alternate ending to the theatrical version shows that before Joe is about to kill himself, Kong arrives in a car to rescue him. Joe then gives money to Kong and leaves.
The film received mostly negative reviews. As of April 7, 2013, the film has a 9% approval rating based on 94 reviews from critics at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with its site summary saying: "With murky cinematography, a meandering pace, a dull storyline and rather wooden performances, the Pang Brothers' Hollywood remake of Bangkok Dangerous is unsuccessful." At the website Metacritic, which utilizes a normalized rating system, the film earned a rating of 24 out of 100 based on 16 reviews.
- Official website
- Bangkok Dangerous at the Internet Movie Database
- Bangkok Dangerous at AllMovie
- Bangkok Dangerous at Rotten Tomatoes
- Bangkok Dangerous at Metacritic
- Bangkok Dangerous at Box Office Mojo