A Stranger in Paradise is a generic crime thriller with lots of pretty people, some of whom aren’t the world’s best actors, in an exotic locale. Nothing new to see here.
But what saves it from totally sinking into mediocrity is director Corrado Boccia✔, making his feature debut, who shows off an assured, fast-paced style that keeps things moving. And he gets the job done in well under 90 minutes, always a plus.
Colin Egglesfield (TV’s Rizzoli & Isles) is Josh, a whiz-kid investment banker on the verge of making partner at his New York firm. When his boss insists he go on vacation — to Thailand where Josh’s brother, Paul (Stuart Townsend) is living large as a nightclub owner — Josh thinks his life can’t get any sweeter. Paul even has a rather fetching assistant/bodyguard (Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace) and is surrounded by crowds of beautiful women. All Josh has to do is deliver a package to Paul, whom the boss knows from his college days.
Except that his boss is involved in money laundering and insider trading. And Paul’s neck-deep involved with the Thai Mafia. And everyone, including the Mafia, the Thai police and the Justice Department, wants what Josh has.
Cue lots of chase scenes through the streets of Bangkok.
But Boccia (who also co-wrote with three others) displays a keen visual sensibility that, despite the film’s low budget, gives it a palpable energy. It will be intriguing to see what he does next.
Exclusive: AMC Valley View, Dallas; and video-on-demand
STRANGER IN PARADISE
Director: Corrado Bocia
Cast: Collin Egglesfield, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Stuart Townsend
Rated: Unrated (strong language, violence including a scene of torture, sex)
Running time: 82 min.
* * *