H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def discs by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze







Bangkok Dangerous [Blu-ray]


(Oxide Pang Chun + Danny Pang, 2008)



Review by Gary Tooze


Studio: Lions Gate



Region: FREE

Feature Runtime: 1:39:12.988

Chapters: 16

Feature film disc size: 29,397,719,040 bytes

Disc Size: 41,321,354,493 bytes

Average bitrate  39.51 Mbps

One dual-layered Blu-ray, one digital copy

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 6th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


DTS-HD Master Audio English 5260 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 5260 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps

Feature: English (SDH), French, Spanish, and none


• Look at HK Cinema HD 15:21
• Execution of the film 13:31 HD
• Alt ending 8:38 HD


Disc 2 - Digital Copy


Bitrate Graph:



Product Description: An adrenaline-charged action thriller, Lionsgate's Bangkok Dangerous stars Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, National Treasure) as "Joe," an anonymous assassin takes an unexpected turn when he travels to Thailand to complete a series of contract killings. Joe (Nicolas Cage), a remorseless hitman, is in Bangkok to execute four enemies of a ruthless crime boss named Surat. He hires Kong (Shahkrit Yamnarm), a street punk and pickpocket, to run errands for him with the intention of covering his tracks by killing him at the end of the assignment. Strangely, Joe, the ultimate lone wolf, finds himself mentoring the young man instead whilst simultaneously being drawn into a tentative romance with a local shop girl. As he falls further under the sway of Bangkok’s intoxicating beauty, Joe begins to question his isolated existence and let down his guard …just as Surat decides it’s time to clean house. Directors The Pang Brothers (The Eye) paint an explosive picture of the Bangkok underworld, illuminated with neon and saturated in violence. From a screenplay by Jason Richman, Bangkok Dangerous is based on the Pang Brothers’ wildly popular Hong Kong action film of the same name. Starring alongside Cage are Shahkrit Yamnarm (Belly of the Beast), Charlie Young (Seven Swords), Panward Hemmanee and Dom Hetrakul (Sniper 3). The film is produced by Jason Shuman, William Sherak, Nicolas Cage and Norm Golightly. Andrew Pfeffer, Derek Dauchy, Denis O’Sullivan and Ben Waisbren serve as the executive producers....




The Film:

Heavy on the spice and cheap on the meat, "Bangkok Dangerous" adds plenty of Thai seasoning to the Hollywood lone-assassin recipe, but the result is only mildly pungent. Rehashing certain elements -- including striking location shooting -- that marked their much grittier 1999 feature of the same title, Hong Kong's Pang brothers increase the decibel level of the gunshots and the schmaltz level of the scenario, but such embellishments, not to mention a Nicolas Cage doused with Clairol, make this hefty remake seem less dangerous than incongruous. Low September B.O. body count should be surpassed by acceptable ancillary returns.



Twins Danny and Oxide Pang made their dual-directorial debut with the Thai-language version of "Bangkok Dangerous," whose effective lowlife atmosphere and wide-ranging stylistic palette propelled them onto the international scene. They followed with the original 2002 "The Eye" and its two local sequels before debuting Stateside with last year's moody horror tale "The Messengers.".

Excerpt from Variety Magazine located HERE


Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

There is a very pronounced style affecting the appearance of this Blu-ray. It is extremely grainy and saturated. Both of these are, no doubt, intended by the filmmakers. Regardless I wasn't very impressed with the visuals of Bangkok Dangerous. Detail was minimized by the grainy look and colors seem to gravitate from extravagantly vibrant (in an unnatural way) to flat and overpowered by the darkness (occasional green cast) and saturation. The dual-layered Blu-ray itself is over 41 Gig and the feature less than 30. The transfer looks fairly competent in the respect that I'm sure the film actually looked this same way theatrically but I found it didn't lend itself to a 1080P rendering as well as some might anticipate. The image is, expectantly very clean on this Lions Gate disc and the Blu-ray image transfer exports a purposeful dark and often unnatural film image.

















Audio & Music:  
The DTS-HD 7.1 track seems pretty capable of handling what Bangkok Dangerous dishes out. It can get fairly aggressive with plenty of gun-shots, explosions plus motorboat chases and the like. Your surround systems should respond well with this mix. There are quite a few moments of demonstrative separation but I didn't note a lot of subtlety. Dialogue is fairly clear but something in the manner of production makes the entire range seem somewhat limited. This again may be intentional to produce a gritty aura. I don't know. There is a French language 5.1 DUB and optional subtitles offered in
English (SDH), French or Spanish.


Nothing new beyond the simultaneous 2-disc SD-DVD that I am aware - and not a lot in general. There are some featurettes - From Hong Kong to Bangkok - a Look at Hong Kong Cinema (15:21 in HD).It is hosted by film critic David Chute who talks about the evolution of Asian cinema and it is moderately interesting. 'Bangkok Dangerous:' The Execution of the Film' (13:31 in HD) has some sound-bites from the cast and crew and some behind the scenes footage. There is an 8-minute alternate ending (also in HD), and finally a theatrical trailer (2:15 in HD). There is a BD-Live function available. Disc two features a digital copy of Bangkok Dangerous. If you enjoyed the film - you may wish to indulge in some of these supplements however I found the link to Shaw-Brother-esque work very tenuous.



Bottom line:
The general consensus is thumbs down for this film - and I'd have to agree. Certainly the heavy style - reflected accurately by this Blu-ray - is not vey appealing for this reviewer. Something was definitely missing in the mix here - even Cage seemed off. The plot has some appeal but it doesn't evolve with conviction - or does with overly-obvious zeal. You can't really bond with a character who is a moral-less assassin. Hopefully the grabs above will give you an idea of what it will look like. I haven't seen the original - perhaps it is better. You may wish to rent this DVD first.  

Gary Tooze

December 30th, 2008





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