Raging Phoenix (2009)

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Released 15-Dec-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Martial Arts Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Eastern Eye Trailers
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 109:03
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (82:28) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Rashane Limtrakul
Studio
Distributor
Baa-Ram-Ewe
Madman Entertainment
Starring Sompope Vejchapipat
David Bueno
Marc Hoang
Roongtawan Jindasing
Chris Kulanusorstit
Sompong Leartvimolkasame
Saroch Ruampaothai
Nui Saendaeng
Boonprasert Salangam
Patrick Tang
JeeJa Yanin
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Kanisorn Phuangjin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Thai dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Jaguar gang are kidnapping young woman who have a particular smelling “Pheromone” and collecting this scent in their tears to make a very, very expensive perfume. Deu (Jeeja Yanin) is a drummer in a band with huge man troubles; unfortunately for her she also has the important scent. She is abducted by the gang, but is rescued by Sanim ( Kazu Patrick Tang). He is part of a group that includes Pigshit (in Thai: Khee-Muu Nui Saendaeng), his brother Dogshit (Khee-Mha Sompong Leartvimolkasame) and B****** (Khee-Kwai Boonprasert Salangam) who have all lost loved ones to the Jaguar gang. They are practitioners of the martial arts style of “Meyraiyuth” and are dedicated to destroying the Jaguar gang and rescuing their loved ones if they are still alive.

     Meyraiyuth seems to be a combination of drunken kung fu (in that you need to be drunk to practice it), Muay Thai, gymnastics, Trickz and break-dancing (with a few other oddments thrown in). Deu is trained in this technique by the group, the intention being that when she is ready she will be used as bait and, when kidnapped, followed to the Jaguar gang’s underground hideout. Of course, things don’t go according to plan as the Jaguar gang include some fearsome martial artists of their own including Jaguar Tokyo (Hoang Nghi), the red haired Jaguar Bombay (David Bueno) and the lethal female warrior Jaguar London (award winning Thai bodybuilder Roongtawan Jindasing). Deu must harness all her skills and resolve in a fight to the death in an attempt to destroy the Jaguar gang forever and save the man she has come to love.

     Raging Phoenix is another Thai action film staring the diminutive Jeeja Yanin who made such an impact in the marvellous Chocolate (2008). In that film she played a mute woman; Raging Phoenix gives her the opportunity to speak and to act, and to prove that she can do both very well indeed. Her role here requires comic timing, as well as tears, sorrow and dramatic scenes, and if she is not quite totally convincing, she displays enough talent to show that she is well on the way. As well, she looks great and her martial arts moves and skills are excellent, taking the bumps and knocks that go with doing your own stunts. Her one-on-one fights with Boonprasert Salangam are exceptional action sequences. She is, in essence, wonderful to watch, a genuine screen presence.

     Raging Phoenix has more plot than Chocolate with the quieter interludes helping to establish character. This is not a film where the interludes only serve to move the film towards the next action sequence, rather the action sequences (at least until the last quarter of the film) are an integral part of the plot. The action also varies a lot, with the early ones played more for humour. As noted, Meyraiyuth is a combination of older and modern styles with dance moves thrown in (the interviewees in the extras in this disc refer to B-boy dancing) which makes for energetic and inventive action mostly done for real, and although some obvious wire work is included it is not excessive. For the first three quarters the film is excellent; perhaps the only criticism is that the last quarter goes on too long, includes some quite dodgy CGI work and a sequence on rope bridges (underground!) that is just silly.

     Diminutive Jeeja Yanin made a real impact in Chocolate (2008). Now, in Raging Phoenix, she again gets to strut her stuff against a wide range of bad guys but shows that she can act. As well, she looks great and her martial arts moves and skills are excellent. She is wonderful to watch, a genuine screen presence and I cannot wait to see her in something else. Watch Raging Phoenix for her if nothing else.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Raging Phoenix is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     There has been a substantial manipulation of the colours in the film. Mostly they have been oversaturated with resulting quite garish yellows and greens especially. Other sequences go the other way with a desaturated silver look. I did not see this film at the cinema (I don’t think it received a theatrical release in this country) so I assume that the DVD faithfully represents the filmmakers’ intentions. Within these constraints, sharpness, contrast and brightness vary (even more in the steadicam flashback sequences), blacks and shadow detail are OK, but not exceptional.

     I did not notice any film or film to video artefacts.

     The English subtitles are in a yellow font. There is no obvious spelling or grammatical errors.

     The layer change occurred at 82:28 with only a slight pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice between Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps and Thai dts at 768 Kbps.

     Both audio tracks are good, with the dts seeming to have a cleaner sound. Dialogue is clear and the front and surrounds are utilised aggressively for Foley effects, such as thunder, punches, kicks and the whoosh of bodies being spun or thrown around as well as for the music. The sub woofer use was also quite aggressive, supporting the fight sequences impacts, and music.

     The score by Kanisorn Phaungjin was quite diverse incorporating at times hip hop songs, lush orchestral, lone piano and choral arrangements. It mostly worked well to support the film.

     Lip synchronisation was fine, even Kazu Patrick Tang who is not a native Thai speaker.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Behind the Scenes (6:52)

     Basically seven minutes of unstructured fight rehearsals and raw B camera footage with only on-set sound. No linking comments or narrative.

Cast and Crew Interviews

     Short promotional interview segments. The interviews are cut from longer interviews and some of the cuts are quite jerky. The director talks about his intention to make a romantic love story blended with martial arts, the action choreographer about Jeeja Yanin, Kazu Patrick Tang and the martial arts styles, the various cast members mainly talk about their character, other actors, martial arts styles or how good the film is. Very superficial. Tang speaks in French, the rest in Thai – all with yellow subtitles although they do not come on automatically and need to be selected from the remote. Interviewees are:

Original Trailer (3:28)

Eastern Eye Trailers

     Trailers for other films from Madman: Chocolate (2:02), Ong Bak 3 (2:29), Merantau (2:55) and Kamui (1:35).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 2 UK version includes 6 featurettes (approx 45 minutes in total), 6 deleted scenes, outtakes, training workshop footage, 4 TV spots plus trailers. There are various releases in Thailand with extensive extras, but there do not appear to be English subtitles for the feature or extras. At this date I cannot find any record of a Region 1 US release. The UK release wins.

Summary

     For its first three quarters Raging Phoenix is an impressive and entertaining Thai action film staring the diminutive Jeeja Yanin. She is wonderful to watch, a genuine screen presence. Watch Raging Phoenix for her if nothing else. .

     The DVD has good video and audio and a minor number of extras, missing quite a few that were available on the Region 2 UK edition.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, January 31, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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