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Bangkok Dangerous (2008 film)

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Bangkok Dangerous
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPang Brothers
Written byPang Brothers
Produced by
CinematographyDecha Srimantra
Edited by
  • Mike Jackson
  • Curran Pang
Music byBrian Tyler
Distributed by
Release date
  • September 5, 2008 (2008-09-05)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States[1]
Budget$45 million[3]
Box office$42.5 million[3]

Bangkok Dangerous is a 2008 American action 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.[4]

Known by its working title, Big Hit in Bangkok,[5] and also as Time to Kill, it began filming in Bangkok in August 2006.[6][7] The film was financed by Initial Entertainment Group, and Lionsgate Films acquired its North America distribution rights.[8]

Bangkok Dangerous was released on September 5, 2008. Upon release, the film became a major failure, grossing $42 million against a production budget of $45 million as well as receiving negative reviews from critics which criticized Cage's performance and the action sequences, as well as the direction, editing and screenwriting.


Joe is a professional freelance contract killer who works strictly by the rules; never socializing outside his work, staying secluded in quiet spots, never interacting or meeting with his handlers and always leaving on time 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 Thai pickpocket named Kong, who has simple English knowledge, 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 occupants with a MAC-11.

Kong retrieves information about the second target, again via Aom, and the pair become friendlier with every contact. Before Joe executes his mission, Kong informs him of the target, Pramod Juntasa, another notorious gang lord and Surat's rival crime boss who acts as a sex trafficker, buying young girls from impoverished parents and selling them for sex. 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 floating market, Kong assists Joe. The kill does not go as planned, and the target, a playboy and a criminal underworld associate, 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, who is revered by many but a great hindrance to Surat due to his hard-line crackdown on organized crime. 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 Surat's underboss/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.

Alternative ending[edit]

An alternative to the theatrical version depicts Joe about to kill himself when he sees Kong hijacking a police car and coming to his rescue. He kills Surat and runs to the stolen car (although he is shot once in the arm). The duo manage to elude the authorities and hide in a neighbourhood a few blocks away from Surat's headquarters. As locals come out to investigate the commotion, Kong reveals Joe as Surat's killer. They help him recuperate while one local remarks Surat's reputation, adding his death marks an end to his crimes and atrocities in their place. Kong then takes Joe to a boatman and gives him his passports, so he may flee the country. Joe thanks Kong for his assistance and gives him a bank account number with "a bonus", stating he was a good student. Joe then departs, with the camera focused on Kong (from Joe's perspective, similar to the original ending).



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 we’re 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."[9]

The Soi Cowboy entertainment district was among Thai locations used for filming.[7][10]


Box office[edit]

The film grossed US$42.5 million, of which $15.3 million was from the US.[3] The film grossed US$7.8 million on its opening weekend, making it 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."[11] The film's budget was $45 million.[3]

Home media release[edit]

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.[12]


The film has an 9% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 94 reviews with an average rating of 3.50 out of 10. The website's critics consensus reads: "With murky cinematography, a meandering pace, a dull storyline and rather wooden performances, the Pang Brothers' Hollywood remake of Bangkok Dangerous is unsuccessful."[13] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 24 out of 100 based on reviews from 16 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Bangkok Dangerous". American Film Institute. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  2. ^ "Here Comes Hollywood". 3 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d "Bangkok Dangerous (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
  4. ^ Fleming, Michael (June 6, 2006). "Cage's 'Dangerous' liaison". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved August 7, 2006.
  5. ^ "Nicolas lands in Bangkok for Pang brothers movie". Agence France-Press. August 22, 2006. Archived from the original on November 18, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2006.
  6. ^ "Stickman Weekly 20/8/2006". Stickmanbangkok.com. August 20, 2006. Archived from the original on August 31, 2006. Retrieved August 21, 2006.
  7. ^ a b "Thai filmmakers hope remakes will lure overseas audiences". Channel NewsAsia. Agence France-Presse. July 20, 2007. Archived from the original on August 22, 2007. Retrieved July 20, 2007.
  8. ^ "Lionsgate Acquires Cage's Bangkok Dangerous". Comingsoon.net. February 7, 2008. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2009.
  9. ^ Jessop, Sonia Kolesnikov (July 13, 2006). "Pang brothers see eye-to-eye on horror". The New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2006.
  10. ^ "Stickman Weekly 20/8/2006". Stickmanbangkok.com. August 20, 2006. Archived from the original on August 31, 2006. Retrieved August 21, 2006.
  11. ^ McClintock, Pamela (September 7, 2008). "'Bangkok Dangerous' on top with modest take". Variety. Archived from the original on September 26, 2008. Retrieved October 14, 2008.
  12. ^ "Bangkok Dangerous — DVD Sales". The Numbers.
  13. ^ "Bangkok Dangerous". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  14. ^ "Bangkok Dangerous". Metacritic. Retrieved December 13, 2008.

External links[edit]