Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bangkok Revenge (2013)

Director: Jean-Marc Mineo
Notable Cast: John Foo, Caroline Ducey, Michael Cohen

As a cult film fanatic, my taste in films tends to be a little odd. If you were to ask me what my favorite kind of movies are I would answer "you know those movies that are awful, but so awesome at the same time? Those movies." Films that exist in a place where budget, strength of acting, story, and direction can be irrelevant. A place where "Bangkok Revenge" exists. Oh man, this movie is downright one of the most poorly made films I've seen...but at the same time, it's also one that I got pure joy out of watching it. Half the time the film made little to no sense in its half attempted plot and poorly developed characters all the while the execution in direction and acting is questionable at best...but it all combines into a perfect storm of B-grade action awesomeness.

 Manit (Foo) was left for dead as a child when his parents were brutally murdered by the mob. They left a bullet in his head that left him in a coma for quite some time...and left him unable to feel emotion. Raised in the outskirts of Thailand, he is trained to be an expert in martial arts. When new evidence in his parents' murder case opens a new path, he takes the road of revenge to bring justice to a conspiracy that has lasted too long.

There is a better actor in him than this...well as far as B-grade action films go.
So the story isn't original. Crooked cops, girl gangs, a trained killer hero hell bent on revenge. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've seen it before. To be honest "Bangkok Revenge", outside of a few interesting side stories including a French underground fighter that helps him, rarely adds anything new to the overly tread formula. Even the execution is shaky at its best. The acting ranges from surprisingly decent, again our French underground fighter stole some moments, to John Foo's rather apathetic performance to the hair ripping absurdity of some of the supporting cast - including leading lady Ducey who simply has to be better than this for her long career. The film leaps from one subject to the next and, bless his heart for trying, first time director Jean-Marc Mineo struggles to keep it all balanced and focused. As a fan of the art of film, "Bangkok Revenge" is a frustrating and often grating experience to try and follow as the cliche story simply seems to bounce around.

Yet, I have to admit it here, that there was something about "Bangkok Revenge" that had me completely hooked. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the hilarity of its B-grade moments, including a sex scene that is so unbelievably awkward it made me feel uncomfortable, but there were these moments...where a good movie peeked through. Mineo might have had trouble getting the film to flow and balance, but he tries to make certain moments unique and, surprisingly enough, it does work...occasionally. He obviously knows that Foo's strength lies in his fight work and the martial arts sequences can be quite good. Even artistic if you count the cool headlight shadow fight or the elevator throw down. Foo occasionally showcases a charisma for the moment too (it's rare here, he was slightly better in "Tekken") and between that and his strong action sequence presence it was enough to keep me interested.

GOING DOWN in an elevator. Pun intended.
To be honest, "Bangkok Revenge" is a B-grade action flick for B-grade action flick fans. Anyone outside of that realm will find it hard to stomach with its horrible acting and uneven directing. If you are like me though, one that can look beyond the bad to find the enjoyable things in films like this, "Bangkok Revenge" can be quite the piece of entertainment. It tries, dammit, and isn't that half the battle?

Written By Matt Reifschneider

You know you're tempted now. Might as well just click below, order your copy for it's March 26th, 2013 release from our wonderful friends of awesome at Well Go USA, and enjoy a good B-movie night.

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