Alas, Dacascos’ role in “One Night in Bangkok” does not require him to be very energetic. Which is basically like asking post-memeification Nicolas Cage to play a straight action hero: why bother? I waited for “One Night in Bangkok” to disarm me, or at least show me something that would make me stop thinking about the Dacascos performance I wished I was watching, and start caring about yet another revenge drama where a killer shoots the works on a suicide mission, and also befriends a younger woman. Unfortunately, the makers of “One Night in Bangkok” don’t deliver much, least of all a satisfyingly eccentric Dacascos performance.
Written and directed by Wych Kaosayananda (“Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever”), “One Night in Bangkok” is about as emotionally flat as Dacascos’ performance as Kai, a sedate Hawaiian tourist with a grey suit and a gun. Kai is bald, but his beard stubble is white, presumably because there’s supposed to be an age gap between him and Fha (Vanida Golten), his ingratiating taxi driver.
There are a number of similarly uninvolving details peppered throughout “One Night in Bangkok,” stuff that’s meant to hint at the personalities of characters who are otherwise defined by their generic circumstances: he’s a murderer with a personal vendetta, and she’s a tired, but savvy local with a sick brother. They bond, he gets progressively more beat up as he hits his marks, and she puts up with all of that, presumably because of their mysterious interpersonal bond (but also because of the $6,000 dollars he offers her for her services). “One Night in Bangkok” makes “Collateral” seem sensible.
I mean, at least the two male leads in “Collateral” have great push/pull chemistry on-screen. Dacascos and Golten, by contrast, have a low-simmering vibe that never escalates to slow-to-boil. “One Night in Bangkok” fatally stalls whenever Kaosayananda has to develop his hitman drama beyond place-holding cliches, and get into the stuff that you’re presumably paying to see when you sit down to watch an action movie where Dacascos is chauffeured around Thailand, and shoots people in the head while ignoring their pleas for mercy. Light banter is sadly not Kaosayananda’s forte—neither is action, for that matter—so don’t hold your breath whenever Kai, Pha, or any other characters have to establish themselves through conversation.