So we’re going to start this list off with a rare find, Raging Phoenix! I’ve seen this girl before, JeeJa Yanin, and she’s never let me down. Talk about a badass!
First, my boyfriend and I saw Chocolate, and were totally blown away. FLYING ELBOWS AND KNEES! As a little mini review, I could argue with IMDb about the 7/10 stars they gave it. Prachya Pinkaew did a damn good job (as well as the rest of the crew) on Chocolate. Oh, and I should mention he directed the first Ong-Bak, which was a work of art, if you haven’t seen it! (AND The Protector!) ANYWAY, Yanin’s performance in Chocolate was awesome. Come on, an autistic girl that kicks asses of full grown men to collect her dying mothers debt? The fight scenes were intense, I mean really, intense. You can tell these people get hurt, the way they just free fall. Plus there’s a short run of bloopers at the end that actually shows them screwing up and hurting each other. Yeah, there’s some blood, too. Also, these fighting scenes are long, continuous shots. The sequences are lengthy, and complex, and I wouldn’t doubt the film is sped up, even just a little, because these moves are just so damn precise!
Onto Raging Phoenix, the reviews weren’t so kind to this one. They didn’t really focus on Muay Thai as much, it was called Meyraiyuth - I’ve taken this from Wikepedia’s list of fictional martial arts:
———->”… also known as “drunken Muay Thai,” it is featured in the 2009 Thai film Raging Phoenix. It is primarily a combination of Muay Thai and breakdancing, but also features athletic skills from other disciplines, such as parkour and gymnastics, along with cooperative techniques that often resemble figure skating (?!) or swing dancing. This style derives much of its effectiveness from the unpredictability of the fighters, who often rely on punctuated movements, as well as exotic postures and unintuitive maneuvers. While Meyraiyuth may superficially resemble Capoeira, it is distinguishable by its lack of the Ginga ”stance,” and by its intentionally confusing movements, which may be punctuated and irrythmic.”Fuuuuuuuuck.
Aha! I enjoyed the introduction scenes, you know, the way they build up whatever is being explained. The characters were pretty cool, my favorites being the brothers Pig Shit and Dog Shit, who just don’t give a shit! Bull Shit was an asshole, and came into the movie like half way in (wtf?). He just appeared without any prior introduction. Yanin’s character, Deu, was very different from Zen (Chocolate). She’s arrogant, and quick tempered, but still endearing, of course. The film is full of twists, and a love triangle; she wants him, he wants someone else, that someone else is drugged to the point of being dead inside…right. “Him” being Sanim, the love interest.
As far as the story goes, it gets points for originality, as the tragedy ties into the backbone, Meyraiyuth. Deu (Yanin) is introduced as being easily fooled, and getting veeery drunk. As she’s walking home alone, she’s kidnapped! But the attempt is botched and she’s saved by Sanim, who later introduces her to Pig Shit and Dog Shit, who work together to foil those behind the attempted kidnapping. This gang kidnaps women to sell into human trafficking. This is where they introduce the concept of Meyraiyuth. One has to get VERY DRUNK to access the deep suffering one feels and fight like one sonofabitch. The alcohol acts like a channel, and while it’s noted the fighting comes from sorrow and suffering from deep within the soul, the fight scenes have a comical edge to them because Meyraiyuth is unpredictable, and those fighting in that style incorporate dance moves and taunts that make the whole scene pretty funny. Anyway, she learns the style, and they set off together to kick some ass.
>AND THEN A TWIST HAPPENS LIKE YOU’D NEVER EXPECT!!<
They leave her. Throughout her initiation into the group, they held her to a series of tests that determined if she were good enough to be one of them. They left her because she failed the test of emotion. What the hell, the judged that her feelings got in the way, or skewed her ability to be a part of them. Whatever, it pissed her off. She tracks them down, and kicks. their. asses. She rants at them, and states that her feelings are no one else’s but her own, and therefore unable to be judged. How dare they. They apologize and bring her back in.
——->This is the part that I don’t like: They go after Pie, Sanim’s lost wife. She’s being held with a special group of girls that are drugged to remain motionless and cry, because their tears contain a pheromone that is put into some ridiculously expensive perfume. ANYWAAAAAY, they find her! And rescue her…almost! It comes down to Deu holding both Sanim’s and Pie’s hands as they dangle over some bottomless pit. Here we go, Deu wants to save Sanim, but Sanim won’t be able to live (or forgive her) if she lets Pie go. So he voluntarily lets go of Deu’s hand, and dies.
What the helllllll. Now Deu goes and lives with Pie? What?! The movie ends with each of them parting ways, and saying goodbye to one another. I guessssssssss.
Still, I think the movie was awesome. I guess the fight scenes made up for the faults in the story. They’re so well done! I’ll have to get the name of the person in charge of it…
UPDATE: So, upon discussing the movie with my boyfriend, he made it clear that Sanim had to die. Even though her “rebirth” was signified through her retribution of being left behind (rebith, like a phoenix…eh? eh?), she ultimately had to LOSE HIM to understand and complete the story cycle. Pie couldn’t die, that was too perfect, which leaves it to either Deu or Sanim. It had to be Sanim. Deu had to let him go, and lose the overall fight. It was necessary.
Ima buy it fasho.