By way of introduction, globetrotting assassin Joe (Nicolas Cage) tells us the rules for survival as a hitman, the most important being: Don't get emotionally attached to anyone. As soon as he breathes those words during his cold-as-ice voiceover, alert moviegoers will instantly peg Bangkok Dangerous as another of those dopey crime thrillers where the hardcore, bad-ass antihero inexplicably decides one day to lower his guard and open his heart, causing all kinds of hell to break loose. Adapting their 1999 Thai film, Hong Kong directors/brothers Danny and Oxide Pang (The Eye) start things off promisingly, draping the Bangkok locations in a sleek neon sleaze that suggests lowdown B-movie pleasure. But soon Joe, who's in town to kill four targets, takes in troublemaker Kong (Shahkrit Yamnarm) as his apprentice and falls for the deaf-mute shopkeeper Fon (Charlie Yeung), and the sinking realization kicks in: These people are taking this nonsense seriously. What follows is a series of ponderous training montagesshoot those melons, Kong!and painfully precious courtship scenes between Joe and Fon, stranding an audience that just came to see some cool shoot-'em-ups. They do happen eventually, but not before Joe reveals his soft side by bonding with an elephant. You heard me.
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