BANGKOK, CITA DE LA MUERTE (1985)
Bangkok, cita con la muerte – Actors & Cast
Actor · Actors
Actor · Actors
Director of Photography · Camera
Bangkok, Cita con la Muerte, in this context, registers as a commercial genre experiment, blending comic book-style imagery with a thriller plot. Franco has tried this before, notably in the delightful LOS BLUES CALLE POP (1983). Unlike that project, BANGKOK, is less a personal project than a theme room in his adventure universe. The overly formulaic plot combines drug running, Thai pirates (led by Lina Romay?), karate fighting, kidnapping, and parody to little effect. But it’s highly amusing to see how each genre element is placed, worked and detailed in the face of an obvious lack of funding and time. Franco told me in 2005 that his Golden Films Productions were “poor” meaning he had little money but complete freedom. But he also had to be able to market the result and hopefully make something on the back end, which he really didn’t. He just was able to keep on making these items because the cost with so low and he had his team in place.
Marta Flanagan, the yacht-going daughter of a millionaire is kidnapped by pirates. Her millionaire father (Eduardo Fajardo) hires a bumbling private eye named Panama Joe (Bork Gordon) to locate her. The daughter’s boyfriend (Jose Llamax) is also on the kidnappers’ trail. Panama Joe discovers the crooks are led by a drug smuggler (Antonio Mayans), who is in turn being double crossed by Queen Amania (Lina Romay). The detective tries to play both sides against the other, while uncovering deeper layers of corruption and double dealing.
BANGKOK is dialogue and plot heavy but always visually engaging, suffused with sunlight and candy colored costumes. Bork Gordon’s imitation Inspector Columbo ramblings just do not spark enough interest, but he’s an amusing Jess Franco detective, disheveled but able to get the drop on Malko at the end.. The characters are shown talking in cartoon dialog balloons (cf LUCKY, THE INSCRUTABLE) during the opening credits, but Franco unaccountably drops this unusual device immediately and never picks it up again. What’s left is a C-minus adventure with some ill-timed comic relief and ineptly staged karate stand-offs, in which the participants miss each other by miles. The lack of contact in a contact sport in an “action” film becomes amusing in itself, but would hardly please Bruce Lee fans.
Lina Romay has a few touching moments as the pirate leader, and is always a welcome, enthusiastic presence.. In one amusing scene, shes dances around in a tight swimsuit accompanied by a mechanical band. The result might been cute in 1973, but at this point in Franco’s career it’s indicative of his desire to create scenes which amuse himself first and foremost. Veteran character actor Fajardo reliably turns in a credible performance as the millionaire.
The movie benefits from shimmering photography of such exotic locales as the Canary Islands, with stock footage of Bangkok, and Shanghai. The Far Eastern locations, though, appear to be taken from stock footage from another film. Pieces of the /Pablo Villa/Daniel White’s brassy score can recall score in Franco’s earlier FU MANCHU AND THE KISS OF DEATH/KISS AND KILL (1967).