The Pang brothers are masters of the visual set piece. They're not afraid to stop the plot and milk a moment for all its worth. The explosion at the end of The Eye was one such incident with a stand-alone cinematic life of its own. Bangkok Dangerous has a few more, though on a smaller scale. It's a showboating technique that reminds me of AA Gill's articles in The Sunday Times - a string of intermittently wonderful, gobsmacking observations that you suspect would somehow read better if rendered as bullet points. Once the prose padding has been added, something else gets mislaid.
The emotional lives of the characters in Bangkok Dangerous are mostly shrouded by a thick veil of style. Yet underneath the slick gangster formula I detected that there's actually an interesting arthouse film struggling to get out - all about the loneliness of life in the developing world's urban jungles.
Deaf and mute hitman Kong and his young friend Fon are like contrasting portraits of innocence. Hers is of the traditional sort - the kind that results from not getting out enough. His is a more disturbing, sociopathic naivety. It's as if the Pangs are trying to tell us that humanity is an unnatural condition in the Asian metropolis, something that can be acquired only if you are lucky enough to stumble across one of the isolated niches where it struggling to survive. Brute ignorance and indecency are the norm.