Raging Phoenix (Review)
Raging Phoenix aka Deu suay doo(2009)
Directed by Rashane Limtrakul
Move over Tony Jaa. There's a new kick ass fighter that makes you look like Daniel-son. And it's not a dude.
JeeJa Yanin sophmore effort after her mega awesome Chocolate lives up to the hype and more. Simply more WTF plot, more zany bad guys and more henchmen to dispose of.
This movie has it all.
Aside from the goofy plot revolving bottled tears (seriously, I'm not kidding) and some overly melodramatic cut scenes the movie has to be graded on the fight scenes alone. Plots in muay thai action are like dialogue in porn, it's totally irrelevant. I mean that's how I graded Chocolate and its really what you want to know right?
Let me just say this. Every time I see Thai action, I usually think I've seen it all and then somehow to my surprise I see something totally jaw dropping. Limtrakul and this crew create elaborate settings to hold massive, super awesomely choreographed fight scenes that are like dancing to violence. It's violent ballet and its fuckin beautiful.
Raging Phoenix is violent poetry and Yanin is an action ballerina. You will see stunts, gymnasticy flips and severe elbows and knees to the head. And it's a work of art. This is hardcore, uncensored action porn my good jaded viewers.
And its got a beat!
Depressed socialite Deu (Jija Yanin) picks fights and plays the drums in a rock band. One drunken night, a mysterious woman and tranvestite ambush Deu in a garage, but she gets rescued by Sanim (Kazu Patrick Tang) and his crew of Muay Thai-savvy B-Boys. From Sanim, Deu learns about a kidnapping ring that targets special girls like herself and Sanim's bride, who disappeared on their wedding day. Determined to get revenge, Deu trains hard in martial arts under Sanim to prepare for the ultimate fight.
This is actually the first movie where we hear JeeJa Yanin speak as she played a mute Jaa disciple in Chocolate. Thai-logue is very squeaky to say the least but Yanin in her acting performance plays the damsel then the slayer in a nice rounded performance. Her crew, consisting of Sanim, "The Leader", "The Joker", "The Drunk" and "The Loner" are a crew bent on dismantling the evil women kidnapping ring who like I said before kidnap women who have a certain odor. Once they kidnap these smelly women, they extract their tears (I'm not kidding!!!).
OK now that we got that out of the way, let's get to the fight scene ratings. I've given these fight scenes unique names describing why the fight scene is taking place and my rating (out of a scale of 1-4 spinkicks....obviously!). Don't like it? I'll elbow you in the head.
"Save the damsel"
The opening fight scene is quite awesome. Deu who is a noob is saved by Sanim as he fights off the lowe tier henchmen. Dudes on 2 legged pogo sticks with razors attached to em attack Deu as he fights em off. Lots of kicks to the head and pure athleticism.
Rating: 2 1/2 spins (because JeeJa Yanin didn't take part yet)
"You got Served"
Not 10 minutes later do we have another round of henchmen attack our drunk breakdancing crew in their hideout. Solid shit here. Break dancing, hip hop muy thai action-o-graphy. Totally freakin insane. I have never seen dudes breakdance while kicking and punching minium wage henchmen. They even pulled off tag team shit flipping JeeJa into kicks and punches. Some solid comic relief as well.
Rating: 3 spins
Gratuitous training montage!!!
After being rescued, Deu learns the way of the drunken Muy Thai martial arts. It's an ode to Jackie Chan's Drunken Master and serious boozing results in serious ass kicking. Very light hearted, very athletic. Even the montage had me seeing serious skill and gymnastic awe and wonder.
"Girls just wanna have fun"
Deu goes out on her own to show off her skills. She easily disposes of some badly trained henchmen with some awesome high flying kicks and choreographed blocks and counters. Good times.
Rating: 3 spins
Deu takes on "The Loner" in a non romantic, waves pounding beach action scene. Deu seriously wins in a shutout. Beautifully shot, some serious counters and high flying kick-assery. The team gets united and forms Voltron. All 5 team members get ready to take on the uber evil kidnapping crew.
Rating: 2 spins
Using Deu as bait, our Thai Force Five find the not so secret hideout of the kidnappers. They've got some heavy duty mini bosses who are tough as shit. One is a red haired dude and the other is a old man master kinda guy.
Everybody is going nuts, punches are flying and our crew is getting their asses kicked. All looks doomed for our team.
Rating: 3 spins
I call this "The Teaser" because this is a fight scene with our main boss Roontawan (she's the Asia Pacific Woman Bodybuilding Champion...no seriously). Crazy looking boss, heavily built and she can be lethal. Sanim and Deu use some tag team shit but that doesn't work at all. I should also mention Sanim is there to save is fiancee who got kidnapped.
Rating: No rating as this is just a teaser to the next scene.
And we get one of the best fight scene in the entire movie. Taking place on all creaky Temple of Doom like wooden bridges, our hero and heroine battle it out against Boss Lady. Serious rope flipping, duck and cover and awesome counters. Even tag team shit comes at a mile a minute. Totally insano stuff here...pure action ballet to the uber max.
When you think our heroes have won, you'll be shocked to see what happens.
Rating: 3 1/2 spins
After our other crew get their asses kicked, its up to Deu to step it up (get it!!!). Our Thai Force Five are badly beaten, Muscular Boss Lady looks to have won but Deu won't give in. Quick montage of Sanim, her training and those poor kidnapped women...she knows what she needs to do to get the strength she needs to defeat evil HGH Boss Lady.
She drinks her spinach tears!!!!
This leads to an easy ass kicking off the mini bosses and sets up the ultimate muy thai catfight. This has gotta be the best catfight action scene evaaaaaaaaaaaaar!!!!!!
Both get some serious shots in. Elbows are a flying, kicks are connecting and both women are eating floor. But Deu goes ballistic and takes care of business. I fell in love with JeeJa Yanin as she elbowed and kneed 'roided up Boss Lady in the face. Some reverse kicks and a spectacular finishing maneuver make this a happy ending.
Sanim is played by Kazoo, a TRICKZ martial arts champion from France. Thai B-Boys, some awesomely trained stuntmen and the hot JeeJa Yanin make Raging Phoenix a Must See film. If your tired of the boring American action films that rely on *yawn* guns and explosions, then hit up the alternative that is Thai action cinema.
JeeJa Yanin is clearly the cute action slayer and whatever her next film is, its going to be filled with the action you clearly paid to see. She's Tony Jaa with boobs and their really is nothing sexier than seeing a women elbow and knee somebody in the face. That's fuckin hawt.
It's action porn, not regular porn
This is not the gore you are looking for.
The final scene
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
I gave Chocolate 4 spinkicks. I'm giving Raging Phoenix 3 and a half. That's not to say Chocolate is better, but at the time I had never seen anything like Chocolate before. The movie has a run time of 1 hour and 50 minutes (I know right?) and some of the movie is filled with melodramaticy moments which make the movie longer than it should be.
But damn those fight scenes are awesome.
(Shhhhh the movie on YouTube right now, so you can actually watch it)
It's a happy fun time watching Raging Phoenix. I guarantee.
Check out one of the fight scenes below.
This is a stunt show demonstration from a Thai TV show (funny stuff)
And of course the trailer.