Movie Review: Raging Phoenix

Posted: March 14, 2012 in Movies
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Bottom Line:

Watch it.

Details:

[Medium to Well-Done Spoilers]

I’ve developed a strange affinity for martial arts films, especially foreign movies.

Enter Raging Phoenix.

This movie caught my eye because it was about a girl (Deu) who was nearly kidnapped by human traffickers, but then got away and decided to learn martial arts to get revenge on them. Other than that, I had no idea what the movie was about.

Well, I was pretty surprised.

It turns out that the basis for the style of martial arts that they do is getting really, really drunk. It’s actually a lot cooler than it sounds. And it sort of makes sense. Anyway, it’s a made up style, but it’s a combination of Muay Thai and break dancing. (Yeah, you read that right.) Deu finds out exactly why the kidnappers wanted her (for the human pheromone market. …Yeah, you read that right, too.) and she decides to offer herself as bait so they can find their hideout. This is when the real action started.

So, I actually liked this movie quite a lot. The style of martial arts was interesting and different, to say the least. I’m not sure how it would work in the real world, but in this story is was effective and it looked cool. The fighting sequences were much better than a lot of the ones that I’ve seen in American made fight movies. The acting was also pretty good, and I liked the general layout of the story. It was funny, but deep and thought provoking. Some of the visuals were gorgeous. And even though you need to read the subtitles (unless you speak Thai, of course), it isn’t dialogue heavy and you can sit back and enjoy the fighting scenes.

However, sometimes I didn’t know whether this was trying to be a comedy movie or an action movie. There were some pretty hilarious scenes and some great one-liners. Three of the main characters were also named “pigshit,” “dogshit,” and “bullshit.” No, I’m not joking. I think that was one of the problems – there’d be something really funny in a serious scene, and I wasn’t sure if they were trying to be funny or not. I think they were, but it did sort of jolt me out of the movie a little bit.

Another problem I had was the pacing. The first half of the movie was pretty awesome, but it was only halfway through that we found out what the real plot was. It was like the entire first hour was exposition, which we all know isn’t a good way to get the story up and running. Over and above that, though, was the fact that I actually liked the exposition better than the real plot line. The real story was a little hokey. (Human pheromones on the black market…really???)

Lastly was the ending. I won’t give it away, but I will warn you: if you like happy endings, tread carefully if you want to watch this movie. It felt like it was leading up to one thing the entire movie, and then all of a sudden that choice is completely taken away. It wasn’t the most satisfying ending, but it could have been worse, I guess.

I’d watch this movie again just for the visuals during the first half, plus the fighting sequences. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes foreign films or martial arts movies. Even if you just like good action movies, this might keep you entertained.

Also, here’s a funny story…I was debating on whether I wanted to watch this one or a movie called Chocolate. It turns out that the girl who plays Deu (Jeeja Yanin) actually plays the main character in Chocolate. How crazy is that! I’ve read around a bit and a lot of people are saying that Chocolate is a lot better. Guess that’s up next for me to watch (and review)!

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Comments
  1. Debra Kristi says:

    I may have mentioned I also love martial arts. I will have to check this movie out. I haven’t heard of it. You have made me VERY curious. Hey, you may want to tune to my blog a week from Friday. I’m just sayin’. 😉

    Typing in Netflix. Searching “Raging Phoenix” and clicking add to queue. 😀

    • Karen Rought says:

      I think you’re going to love this movie, Debra! Let me know what you think of it. And add Chocolate as well – that movie was SO incredible. I can’t wait to put up my review. I actually can’t wait to watch the movie again, either.

      And I ALWAYS tune into your blog, silly!

  2. Fabio Bueno says:

    Just like Debra, I added it to the Netflix queue. I must confess that I didn’t read your review yet, though, just the title of the movie, “martial arts”, and your recommendation. I don’t like spoilers, sorry 🙂

    • Karen Rought says:

      Haha, no worries! I think it’s probably better that way, anyway. I try to avoid them when I can, too. Make sure you stop back in and tell me what you think once you watch it!

  3. ddog13 says:

    The Forbidden City with Jackie Chan was the most recent Kung Fu movie I’ve seen, and that was years ago. It was a terrible experience. There were teens in the theater who couldn’t shutup with their comments and wisecracks. I have to recuperate before i see this one

    • Karen Rought says:

      Was it just the experience that was bad, or was the movie bad too?

      • ddog13 says:

        The experience and the movie. The movie was a Porkchop, by my rating system. The experience made it a very negative movie. It’s not one to see, really. But this movie sounds intriguing. I may check it out some day. Very nicely done review

        • Karen Rought says:

          I think you’d enjoy it. I’d highly recommend Chocolate, too. Both are in Netflix streaming right now. If you see either of them, you’ll have to let me know what you think!

  4. […] a month ago I talked to you about Raging Phoenix, which has the same female lead as this movie. This movie is pretty different and about a hundred […]

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