Well Go USA // 2012 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 29th, 2013
Vengeance is coming.
Recently, there have been many films with the word "Bangkok" in the title. This observation has no bearing on my review. I just find it interesting.
Bangkok Revenge tells the story of Manit (Jon Foo, Tekken) a lethal fist-flailing machine whose childhood was destroyed when a group of armed thugs broke into his house and murdered his parents. In fact, he should have died himself, but the assailant's gun misfired, sending young Manit into a coma. Following yet another attempt on his life, Manit found himself whisked away by a sympathetic nurse and delivered to a remote jungle hideaway, where he's taken in by a kindly old man who also knows how to instruct pliable young men in the art of hand-to-hand murder.
A montage and crappy upbringing later, Manit is released into the world, fully equipped with all the necessary skills to bring the pain and, perhaps, track down his parents' killers and dispense some swift, brutal justice.
That doesn't sound like a bad set-up, huh? Who doesn't love a decent revenge story, especially if much violence is promised to be unleashed? The bad news: Bangkok Revenge fails to make the most of its simplistic yet ripe-for-badassness scenario. The good news: after a slow, weird start, the action picks up and produces some cool fisticuffs.
And that's what it's really all about, right, the action? There's a conspiracy at the heart of the double-murder as well as a budding romantic relationship between Manit and a comely foreigner but let's not kid ourselves. If you, like me, are interested in taking this disc for a spin, it's the mayhem that we crave.
Thankfully the storyline isn't distractingly terrible and serves as a suitable enough architecture to drape the fight scenes on. Jon Foo is a skilled on-screen pugilist, but the frustration arrives early. For some reason, the opening action scenes are 1) a drunken first person POV bar brawl and 2) an encounter that transpires completely as shadows on the wall. Bizarre.
Eventually, director Jean-Marc Mineo lets his fighters fight and the result is a decent assortment of smackdowns. Foo is a high-flying, physical performer and if it weren't for some annoying editing choices -- please, just show us these guys doing their thing in continuous shots -- he'd really stand out as someone to watch. As it stands, he gets some solid licks in and dispatches his opponents with R-rated brutality. Alas, the ending is a whiff. After so much build-up and a steady of crescendo of increasingly engaging bouts, the film deflates like a punctured balloon. Where's the final fight?!
Fine Blu-ray, if a little lean. The 1.85:1, 1080p transfer looks consistently good and the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix pumps out the jamz with panache when Foo gets up to no good. No extras makes us sad.
Not Guilty, but not quite a ringing endorsement.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Well Go USA
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (Thai, English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Thai, English)
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated