Remember how I said Bangkok Dangerous was not going to be screened for the media? Well, in a sense, it was, but in a sense, it wasn’t.
I and other critics were eventually invited to a promotional screening last night, which was nice, but as I have mentioned here before, screenings that take place the night before the release date “don’t count” as proper press screenings, because they take place too late for the newspaper critics to file their reviews in time for the opening day’s papers.
This screening was even more unusual, though, because the studio didn’t just passively make it difficult to review the film on opening day; they actually told us not to review the film on opening day, telling us that anyone who saw the film last night would have to refrain from posting a review of it until Saturday. Well, obviously, this didn’t make any sense, since any schlub could buy a ticket to a matinee screening on Friday and write about the movie on their blog or whatever immediately afterwards … so at the last minute, the studio amended its rule and told us that we could post our thoughts on the film after 3pm today.
And so, here we are. And, uh, I don’t have all that many thoughts about the film, really.
I seem to recall that, when I attended the Nicolas Cage press conference at the National Treasure: Book of Secrets junket nine months ago, he told us that friends of his had seen Bangkok Dangerous and thought it might be his best film since The Weather Man (2005). I thought that statement was odd for a number of reasons, and now that I’ve seen the film, it seems odder still.
Many critics have complained that this film harks back to the bleak, dreary, morally confused genre pics that Cage made a decade ago or so — films like 8MM (1999), for example — and I would have to agree. Others have said that it continues Cage’s recent losing streak, in terms of the quality of the projects he has picked, and I would sort of agree there, too, though the National Treasure movies have obviously been very successful at the box office, at least, and I tend to think they’re good dumb fun, as well. I would also add that, with one possible exception, nothing in Bangkok Dangerous inspired the sort of incredulous laughter that greeted Cage’s ridiculous remake of The Wicker Man (2006).
So, the new film isn’t a complete wash-out. I did like a few of the gun-battle shots, and there are a few nice funny bits besides — even if most of them involve a romance which, when it works, feels like it belongs in an entirely different movie, and, when it doesn’t work, threatens, for just a moment, to make the movie melodramatic to the point of being simply laughable.
That aside, though, taken as a whole, the movie is kind of dull.
In the meantime, while Cage has been promoting this film, he has been talking about several other projects, too. Here’s the rundown:
1. There will almost certainly be a third National Treasure, but the question now is what the subject should be. At the junket I attended last year, Cage said he wanted to go global and make the next movie about an “international treasure”, but now he says, “There’s been talk about doing it in the South, maybe in New Orleans.” — MTV Movies Blog
2. Werner Herzog’s sequel to Bad Lieutenant (1992), which will star Cage in the role created by his National Treasure co-star Harvey Keitel, will not be driven by the “Judeo-Christian programming” of the original film, says Cage. “This one is much more existential.” Oh, and this film is reportedly taking place in New Orleans, too. — MTV Movies Blog
3. The sequel to Bad Lieutenant might tone the religion down, but if there is a sequel to Ghost Rider (2007), it will probably pump the religious content up. “It looks like it will take place in Europe and the character will work with the [Catholic] Church,” says Cage, who has been discussing the sequel with the studio. “It hasn’t progressed to [who the next villain will be] yet to be able to say, but I do know it will be shot in Europe and there will be some sort of connection working with different religious figures.” — MTV Splash Page, ComingSoon.net