Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Kazu Patrick Tang
What's it about
A violent gang is abducting and killing women around Thailand. Sanim and his friends, having had loved ones abducted, have joined together to break the gang of kidnappers. In a botched kidnap attempt, Deu is saved by Sanim's crew. After learning their unique martial arts style, Deu helps lure the gang into an epic battle to save the women across Thailand.
Is it good movie?
I'm going to admit, I'm not really a huge martial arts fan. Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate some good ass kickery, but I wouldn't call myself a big fan of asian martial arts flicks. With that being said, I'm a huge fan of Tony Jaa and anyone who isn't amazed by the dude's talents is crazy, even if the movies always seem to be the same. This one comes from the team who did Jaa's last films, so let's see what's up.
And so, Raging Phoenix has arrived on my doorstep and this one features Jija Yanin, a female counterpart to Tony Jaa. The plot is all over the place. Deu (Yanin) is ambushed by a cross-dresser and a strange woman one night but is saved by a dude named Sanim and his team of Muay Thai heavies. They train her how to kick ass, and the movie is afoot. That might not seem too crazy but let me tell you, there's a lot more insanity to it than that. Let's put it this way- the good guys that Deu teams up with have their names translated as Dogshit, Pigshit and Bullshit. Sorry, but that's awesome.
I don't know really what else I can tell you, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. It's bizarre, high-octane and hard hitting. It strangely combines crappy dance movies like Step Up with martial arts and although it sounds weird, it is a really cool thing to watch. There's a ton of crazy fighting and although it doesn't all hit the mark. the athletic ability is simply dazzling to watch.
This all goes without me even mentioning the final fight with the villain named Jaguar London (cool name, right?), the female heavy who battles Deu and Sanim on three rope bridges. This is an absolutely breathtaking fight, and the one that follows (the one on one battle) is just awe inspiring.
There isn't a lot of movie going on here- this is an onslaught of visually amazing feats and incredible athleticism. If you're sick of the same old kiss-kiss-bang-bang American style flicks, then you'll dig this. It's different, but fun to watch.
Video / Audio
The video is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and is a little soft around the edges at times but features an okay resolution during some scenes. A little uneven.
Audio is a DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track and sounds fantastic. If there's anything that a film like this needs, it is some thumping sound and this one has it in spades.
The making of Raging Phoenix is mostly the director explaining the whole film's philosophy from inception to creation. It runs about 12 minutes long and features a few cast and crew members but isn't tremendously substantial.
Behind the scenes of Raging Phoenix is another 10 minutes or so of really cool fight rehearsal footage and seeing this stuff before it's processed in post is really, really a treat. I can't say that this is a very in-depth fighting here either but if you're interested in a raw feed of people choreographed to kick each other's ass then look no further!
Finally, you get an international trailer for this flick and a few other trailers from Magnolia Home Entertainment.
You're either into these sorts of flicks or you're not. If you can watch this for a half an hour and you're not interested, nothing's going to change your opinion. I personally had a ball with this film because it was pure entertainment, but classic cinema it ain't. Sure, there's some spotty wire work and not every fight is a winner, but any movie that features karate dance moves, transvestites and tear drinking to gain power is a flick I want to see.