Lionsgate // 2013 // 104 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 7th, 2013
Together they are invincible.
Bangkok Assassins is an odd and mediocre movie. But before I get into that, allow me a small digression. At the top of the disc cover is the following tagline:
"Choreographed by the stuntman from Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and Ong Bak."
Really? Is that where we are in the world of DVD marketing? Six degrees of separation from more recognizable movies? Featuring a stuntman? At this rate we're going to get into blurbs like "From the roommate of one of the caterers on Mannequin 2: On the Move."
Then again, knowing how dumb the feature is contained on their optical disc, it makes sense that these PR hacks would employ all manner of trickery to score a retail buy. Just look at this cover: a serious looking kid brandishing a sword, walking through traffic, with his posse a few steps behind. On the back: we get the whole crew, poised to unleash ass-whoopings of Biblical proportions. Since I'm a sucker for overseas actioners, I was nursing relatively high expectations when I powered up my DVD player.
But Bangkok Assassins is weird from the get-go. Four children are kidnapped by some criminal scumbags who physically and emotionally torture them. A Shaolin master stumbles upon the criminals' lair and catches wind of the malfeasance. He promptly exercises his martial artistry, punches some faces, and brings the kids back to his domain, training them in the ways of the Shaolin.
This, of course, means they're now magic. They can float and defy the laws of physics, leap tall buildings, and maybe shoot fireballs. Then again, I wasn't really paying too much attention. Eventually, they decide to take on the evildoers who had tormented them so many years ago.
All that sounds potentially entertaining, right? Some hip young kung-fu superheroes teaming up to employ a righteous beatdown on some child abusers? Sign me up! Unfortunately, Bangkok Assassins is a baffling chore. There are two action sequences of note: one featuring two of the kids testing out their fighting powers on each other, the other a final face-off with the main bad guy that's over before you know it. Needles to say, this is not an action movie.
Although, I'm not really sure what it is. A disturbing magical coming-of-age story? There are extended sequences where the teen girl auditions for a reality singing competition, so maybe it's a musical. Whatever genre you decide to place it in, I have full confidence it will continue to be blissfully sub-par.
The DVD: standard def 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround (original Thai and English dub), English and Spanish subtitles, and nothing else.
Less singing, more assassinating.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Thai)
* English (CC)
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Rated R