Bankgok Ridiculous

is more like it.

Nicolas Cage stars as Joe, a paid assassin in Bangkok Dangerous, a bleak remake of a 1999 Asian shoot-'em-up.

With his shaggy hair, Cage looks like a refugee from an '80s British pop group. Spandau Ballet, anyone? The length of his locks changes dramatically from one shot to the next, once disconcertingly during the course of a single meal. And the film contains some of the most obvious uses of stunt doubles you will ever see.

In the tough-guy voice-over at the start of the film ("Bangkok: It's corrupt, dirty and dense"), Joe explains the four inviolable rules he has followed throughout his career.

Then on his final assignment - four separate targets in Thailand - he sets about breaking them one by one. Why, Joe, why?

His biggest mistake is letting down his guard with Kong (Shahkrit Yamnarm), a petty thief he has recruited as his legman. Kong becomes Joe's apprentice, taking a crash course in the lethal arts of the profession.

We're not going to count Joe's puppydog infatuation with a deaf-mute pharmacist (Charlie Yeung) as a further lapse in judgment because it's just too preposterous to believe.

But then none of Joe's motives or behavior makes sense in Bangkok Dangerous. No sooner has the film established him as a killer with ice water in his veins than he turns into a big softie, melting like a schoolboy for a pretty smile.

The Pang brothers, who directed this film (and the original) serve up some decent postcard shots of Thailand. But the action scenes are surprisingly mundane.

The entire film is shot with a sepia tone that gives it a flat, documentary feel. But in any light, Bangkok Dangerous is a dark, grim film with no emotional traction and little plot.

As a cinematic experience, it's like being locked in a coffin for an hour and a half.


Contact staff writer David Hiltbrand at dhiltbrand@ phillynews.com or 215-854-4552. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/daveondemand.