Bangkok Confidential: 10 Things “The Hangover: Part 2” Missed…

May 30, 2011

I’ve been living in Bangkok for a little over two years now, so naturally when I heard The Hangover 2 would be set here I had to see it ASAP—even though I hadn’t been that thrilled about the first one. And see it I did on Siam Paragon’s premier Enigma: The Shadow Screen—a movie theater so exclusive it refers to itself in the third person. There, laying on a bed, sipping my complimentary drinks and munching on complimentary appetizers and popcorn, I took in The Hangover 2. I gotta say, it was pretty funny. Though it dragged a little in the middle, it rallied and ended on a high note. Still, any resemble between the city onscreen and the real Bangkok is strictly coincidental. That’s too bad, since it represents a lot of missed opportunities. Wanna hear about them? Yes you do, so here is my list of stuff they missed in The Hangover 2:

1)  A modern, navigable city: The street scenes of TH2 show a crowded, anarchic Third World megalopolis. Of course those scenes were mostly shot in Chinatown. The movie conveniently skipped the SkyTrain, subway, modern office buildings, and numerous taxicabs. Speaking of:

2) Insane taxis: There would have been at least one scene of the guys packed into a too-small cab, trying to communicate with a drunk and/or high cab-driver who doesn’t speak English. For extra verisimilitude, one of them should have been injured in the process.

3) Mobile bars: You haven’t experienced Bangkok until you’ve balanced on a teetering bar stool alongside a van converted into a bar, complete with mini-disco ball and laser-show, while ‘80s Dire Straits plays on an insanely-dangerously wired sound system. And if you’re really lucky a baby elephant  will try and steal the fruit out of your drink while you’re not looking.

4) Soi Animals:  A monkey? A freakin’ monkey? There are no monkeys in Bangkok. There are, however, plenty of street dogs and cats that the Thais feed and vaccinate. There are also giant monitor lizards, massive turtles, and there even used to be elephants walking around for the tourists to feed (the cops cracked down on that). But, yeah, fine, monkey. Not like we’ve ever seen that before in a movie.

5) Vendors: Where were the street vendors selling everything from deep-fried insects to sex toys, to advanced combat gun sights?  These guys could have at least picked up some bootleg Viagra for Stu’s wedding night. I mean, that would be the responsible thing to do.

6) Sexpats: I don’t get it. There wasn’t one scene with a sixty year-old man in a cheap silk shirt he bought on Sukhumvit Road having an awkward, silent dinner with an Issan girl forty years his junior. That’s like shooting a scene in Paris and not showing the Eiffel Tower.

7) An Embassy: At one point Stu laments, “We should contact the American Consulate!” Yeah, or the full-fledged Embassy, pal. You know the one with an American Citizens Services section that deals with the kind of crap you’ve gotten yourself into on a daily basis?

8. Women: Holy crap, this movie is a sausage party. Thailand has more beautiful women than Vegas has slot machines. A short walk through a SkyTrain station for a straight male is like a swim through the Great Barrier Reef must have been for Jacques Cousteau. Don’t believe me? Here’s the chick who sold me my movie ticket:

Okay, that picture was taken a few months ago, but you get the idea. How can the movie ignore this? But ignore this it does, as we spend the whole movie with just the guys (and occasionally Jamie Chung—who certainly eases the pain). We don’t even see the swarms of bar girls setting upon their hapless-but-happy prey.  A movie in Bangkok without beautiful women is like a movie set in Africa that doesn’t show any black people.  It’s just perverse is what it is.

9) A sense of geography: Okay, Stu’s wedding is at a resort in Krabi (The Sheraton, actually….I’ve stayed there), and the guys commute to and from Bangkok in a…speedboat? WTF? Okay, assuming the boat has that much fuel (it doesn’t), the guys would find a bit of an obstacle blocking their route to to and from Krabi. It’s called Malaysia.

10) Debauchery: Okay, so we have a torched bar, a tattoo, bodily mutilation, international criminals, a monkey, and a transsexual prostitute…that’s it? Jesus, in Bangkok that’s a Sunday evening with the family. Hell, even the strip club was low-rent. They couldn’t have gone to Nana Plaza and it’s five floors of theme-related sexual pleasure? I mean, this is the city where within hours of his arrival, David Carradine had checked out in spectacular fashion. To top it all off, the dudes wake up the next morning! Sorry, amigos, but in Bangkok sleep is for wussies. The real hard-core partiers just take some meth and party until psychosis. Next time they shoot a movie here, I hope they leave the lightweights at home.


  1. You make it seem like such a lovely place to visit. My question is: do you think it was better than the first one?

    • No. It’s about on par with the first one, or a little worse–mostly suffering due to familiarity.

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