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DVD Reviews

HTF DVD REVIEW: Bangkok Dangerous



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#1 of 1 Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

    Executive Producer

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  • Join Date: May 09 2002
  • Real Name:Cameron Yee
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Posted September 04 2008 - 04:58 PM

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Release Date: Available now (original release date August 5, 2008)
Studio: First Look Studios
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc DVD case
Year: 1999
Rating: R
Running Time: 1h45m
Video: 1.33:1
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo: Thai
Subtitles: English (forced)
MSRP: $9.98

The Feature: 3/5
Kong (Pawalit Mongkolpisit) is deaf and mute, disconnected from the world more by early childhood abuse than any physical impairments, which makes him a rather efficient contract killer. But when he meets beautiful pharmacy clerk Fon (Premsinee Ratanasopha), things change as they or wont to do when one falls in love. Unfortunately Kong's secret life comes out rather abruptly and unintentionally and he must make a choice. That choice becomes less clear, however, when his best friend and compatriot Joe (Pisek Intrakanchit) is murdered after avenging the rape of his girlfriend by a local mafia lieutenant. Should he avenge the only friend he's ever had and risk losing the only woman he's ever loved? Ultimately, he may have no choice in the matter as the mafia next turns its attentions on Kong and all the people he might care for.

"Bangkok Dangerous" tells a familiar tale of redemption by love and of brotherly bonds, drawing obvious influences from the likes of John Woo but managing to avoid being totally derivative. That's not to say you can't see the plot developments coming well in advance, but there's enough style and well-paced suspense and action to make it stand on its own.

Hitting theaters September 5th is the stateside remake going by the same title, starring Nicolas Cage and directed by the same fraternal directing team, the Pang Brothers. Though Cage's involvement doesn't invoke much confidence, there's enough promise shown in the original treatment to be at least curious what the directors will do with a bigger budget if not a bigger star. If things follow their normal pattern though, it's likely the original will prove superior and the remake an excessive and an unnecessary duplication. But I'm willing to be proved wrong.


Video Quality: 2.5/5
The first thing going against the DVD release is presenting the film in a cropped 1.33:1 aspect ratio, lopping off the sides of the original 1.85:1 framing. Besides the obvious reduction in picture information, the release suffers from general softness, close ups even lacking in crispness. Black levels are decent, however, though there's some noticeable black crush. The over-saturation of colors, most likely an intentional effect by the filmmakers, doesn't really help, but it's an engaging part of the film's style. Finally, there's some visible noise and white specks scattered throughout the course of the film.


Audio Quality: 3/5
The Dolby Digital stereo track is the sole audio option and provides some nice bass response, mostly in the form of club music. Pistol sound effects lack a fullness we're used to hearing in many films, at times having a sharp edge to them that isn't too kind on the ears. Dialogue clarity is ultimately difficult to judge, being in a foreign language, but I detected no obvious strain or harshness.


Special Features: 1/5

Trailer (1m22s)


Recap

The Feature: 3/5
Video Quality: 2.5/5
Audio Quality: 3/5
Special Features: 1/5
Overall Score (not an average): 2.5/5

Stylish, if mostly familiar, Asian action film gets a modified aspect ratio and barebones release. Anyone interested in owning the film will want to look to an import for the film's original aspect ratio.
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