Nicolas Cage Stars in the Pang Brothers' 'Bangkok Dangerous'

Metro Spirit | September 1, 2008
Nicolas Cage would be far more entertaining than normal if he were playing a deaf-mute. The actor’s cold, methodical manner of delivering his lines feels more like a contrived attempt at staunch masculinity than actual acting. Unfortunately, it appears that the Oscar winner (Leaving Las Vegas) has turned into a less-sexy, creepier version of oddball actor Matthew McConaughey. He’s even got the long hair to prove it.

Though originally a non-speaking role, Cage’s latest vehicle has him spewing laughable dialogue as a hitman who forms dangerous emotional connections while working a series of jobs in Thailand. Bangkok Dangerous is the Pang brothers’ remake of their own 1999 film, which focused on a deaf-mute hitman and his personal transformation from cold-blooded assassin to a killer with a heart.

Now, some seven years after that flick made the rounds internationally and at a handful of American film festivals, Danny Pang and Oxide Pang Chun, hope wide release of an updated, star-powered version of the story they also wrote will bring them their first real international box office success.

The Pang brothers – who, at this point in their careers, seem to be cooler than the Farrelly brothers, but nowhere as awesome as the Coen brothers – are known to American audiences as purveyors of only mildly-entertaining horror films. Their most recent efforts were as writers of The Eye and directors of The Messengers.

Cage also served as one of the movie’s producers, as he’s done on some of this other not-so-well-received action flicks like Next, The Wicker Man, and Lord of War. Perhaps the actor should leave producing to the pros.

Despite some success with the National Treasure movies, Cage has been in one of the downward spirals actors sometimes go through at the end of their prime. Some advice the actor might find useful as he looks forward to starring in several new releases over the next two years: get an A-list leading lady.

Forget Eva Mendes, think of what Angelina Jolie could do for Cage’s career at this point. After all, they both seem to enjoy “shoot ‘em up” flicks that have them running from the law. Their chemistry seemed to work in Gone in Sixty Seconds, so why not give it another go?

Looking for an alternative to Cage’s overdone hitman drama? You won’t have much luck. One other option is a documentary called American Teen. It follows a group of five students through their senior year at a Warsaw, Indiana high school.

As carefully and predictably typecast as these teen angst documentaries tend to be, this one features a jock, a nerd, a popular girl, a hot guy, and an artsy bookworm. Viewers may wonder if there’s any cultural diversity at all in Warsaw though. All of the film’s subjects are white kids.

Hang in there, movie fans. Next week will offer you a virtual smorgasbord of interesting flicks for your viewing pleasure. Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro combine their Italian-American intensity for Righteous Kill while George Clooney and Brad Pitt team up once again for a buzz-worthy Coen brothers flick. Meg Ryan also returns to the big screen in a classic movie remake, The Women, and a new Tyler Perry comedy should give audiences a reason to cheer.
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