'Bangkok Revenge' is not to be confused with 'Bangkok Dangerous' or any of the other titles with Bangkok in them, including the film starring Kevin Bacon. No, this one stands alone and is sure to please hardcore Thai fighting enthusiasts, but to the rest of the masses, we may utter "meh" as we fade to black. This film is all over the place from an all girl gang, to transvestites, to some super quick cut fight choreography, and ultimately ending with a meat hook. This action flick might be fast paced, but it lacks direction and thrills.
Now I'll be the first to admit that I enjoy action packed martial arts movies, especially the movies that feature a Thai fighting style. Films like 'ong Bak' and 'Tom Yum Goong' are always at the top of my list. What makes those great is their impeccable and incredible fight choreography, along with amazing camerawork. Not to mention, Tony Jaa's acting and charisma. Here in the lead role is Jon Foo, who I'm sure has charm as he has a long list of movie credits, but he doesn't seem to show any of it in this movie, despite his character's main flaw. I believe this is a key trait to any martial arts actor.
Much like Bruce Wayne, we begin with a young boy who witnessed the murder of his parents. The evil bastards that dis this deed do not want to leave any witnesses, so they put a bullet into the head of this young boy named Manit. As he lay there almost dead, he was rescued by a nurse. Now Manit has miraculously survived this attempted murder, however the bullet in his brain has stopped him from feeling any emotions or anything. Manit is sent to a village where he is taught the ways of martial arts for the next several years until he is now a full adult. His master basically tells him that he is only to fight if he thinks his life is in danger.
Meanwhile, the nurse that saved Manit's life long ago is on her deathbed, and for some reason that is not explained, she tells him that his parent's killers were actually cops and are still doing corrupt deeds. Manit now has one mission, which is to get revenge in Bangkok. As Manit begins his search, the cops get word that he is still alive and on the hunt, so they retaliate with the gang connections. Manit uses the help of a good police officer, an up and coming Thai boxer, and a female journalist who gets captured and roughed up by different gangs more than she writes. All comes to a climax with a meat hook and one man hell bent on revenge.
One of the many flaws with this sub par action movie is its fight scenes. The director uses the WWE method of filming, by never showing a kick or punch in one shot, but rather cutting away at the moment of impact and filming the blow from another angle with a sound effect. This is how every hit is filmed and it's quite distracting. It even takes away how painful a blow to the head can be.
In between the fight scenes, I can see how hard they tried to make a coherent storyline, but it ultimately went in every direction with numerous gangs, one of which is an all-girl gang with girls ranging from ages 8-50 with one scantily clad transvestite in for good measure, because why not. There is also a sex scene which might be one of the most awkward and emotionless in cinema history. There is not point for this scene and I'm sure it was added to have sex appeal and to show that our main hero is capable of some sort of love and feeling, however that never seems to be the case.
Foo does a decent job of being emotionless through the whole film, but he still brings nothing to the table but some cool martial arts every once in a while, but even then he seems to take each blow with ease and never really get hurt, no matter what happens to him. I'm sure Thai martial arts fans will enjoy this to a degree, but there are much better films in the genre, and I suggest you seek them out.
'Bangkok Revenge' comes with a decent 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The detail throughout is sharp, as this was filmed digitally with closeups showing the all skin imperfections and facial pores. Flesh tones look natural too, and colors seem to pop but are not overly saturated. The black levels run deep and inky, however, towards the final minutes of the film, every scene seems to be darkened for some reason, and we lose color, detail and shadows. I'm not sure this was intentional, but it was noticeable. The picture as a whole seems to look crisp and clean with no evidence of banding or motion blur. I did notice that the end credits looked like the letters themselves were pulsating, giving a psychedelic look to them.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix and while you might think this is spoken in Thai with English subtitles, most of the movie is spoken in English, or broken English at times. The dialogue is crystal clear and you can always hear what is being said. Due to strong accents, you may want to keep the subtitle track up. The surrounds pack a punch with the sound effects of people being hit and tossed around, along with gun shots and other action beats. The directionality is spot on, with some great movement in the fight scenes. There are some excellent noises that emit from the speakers as bones crush and heads are smashed. The score is decent enough and does what it can to propel the character's emotions, while never drowning out the dialogue and sound effects. There was no evidence of hissing or cracks in the audio, making this a solid audio mix.
'Bangkok Revenge' is a very average martial arts movie, a jumbled mess of plots and emotionless characters that we never relate to. I've seen better fight scenes many times before, and after viewing this, I don't think I'd ever re-watch it. However, Jon Foo has a bit of talent, and I'm sure with the right roles, he will succeed. The audio and video presentations are solid, but providing only a trailer for the extras is blasphemy. Let's get it together studios, this is 2013, there needs to be more than just a trailer. My advice, rent this.