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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Phenomenal Sophomore Effort
I wasn't expecting much from JeeJa Yanin's original film ("Chocolate"), but her physical talents were showcased in spectacular fashion and won me over despite the shortcomings in terms of scriptwriting. That film grew on me more and more after repeat viewings, but there still was room for improvement in the pacing and storyline elements. Enter "Raging Phoenix", which not...
Published on January 25, 2010 by Anticlimacus

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So what the hell was in that jug?
To sum up the film: Very cool action set pieces; bloody awful story. We knew there was gonna be imense pressure for Jeeja Yanin's sophomore work to equal or surpass her debut film CHOCOLATE and, to be honest, RAGING PHOENIX carries a whiff of trying too hard. Jeeja Yanin in CHOCOLATE played a mildly autistic debt collector and so it makes sense to have her switching it up...
Published on August 16, 2010 by H. Bala


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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Phenomenal Sophomore Effort, January 25, 2010
I wasn't expecting much from JeeJa Yanin's original film ("Chocolate"), but her physical talents were showcased in spectacular fashion and won me over despite the shortcomings in terms of scriptwriting. That film grew on me more and more after repeat viewings, but there still was room for improvement in the pacing and storyline elements. Enter "Raging Phoenix", which not only avoids a sophomore slump for JeeJa, but actually surpasses "Chocolate" in total entertainment value.

One way it does this is to allow JeeJa to express her camera presence and charisma. This was surprising to me personally, because her previous role in "Chocolate" was so introverted and robotic that it was essentially impossible to determine whether or not this girl could steal a scene without beating someone's brains in. In "Raging Phoenix", however, she really cuts loose during the opening half as she jokes around, engages in some funny dialogue, and participates in some light-hearted fight scenes involving drunken styles of martial arts. That one-vs-many boat brawl is - now wait for it - a boat-load of fun. JeeJa exhibits a natural likability that her fellow countryman Tony Jaa severely lacks. Don't misunderstand me, because I am a fan of Tony's films, but he has some serious limitations as all of his screen presence is earned through his (phenomenal) physical skills. JeeJa, on the other hand, portrays her character in a way that is very endearing. In other words, I'd love to have her as a younger sister. This charm is a major reason why this film is so entertaining. When the action scenes are bridged by good "non-action stuff", that's a huge plus.

The mood gets more serious when the kidnapping plot line is fleshed out more, but even here the film stays attention-grabbing with an interesting twist involving drug dealing. Now, I'm not saying that the script is incredibly strong. It's not going to win any awards in that realm, nor is it as strong as more dramatic action films like "Kill Zone" (2005), but it does build anticipation for the finale and establishes characters a bit more than usual. In addition, "Raging Phoenix" one-ups "Chocolate" by introducing a very strong lead antagonist during the latter half (played by Roongtawan Jindasing - Asian Pacific Women's Bodybuilding Champion). This lady is one tough son-of-a-gun who proves incredibly difficult to take down, which automatically makes things a bit more exciting than having JeeJa beat down random stuntmen the entire time.

Which brings us to the action scenes. There are some one-vs-many scenarios early on, but that shifts decisively towards one-on-one and two-on-one battles afterward, which results in some outstanding fist-a-cuffs. The cavern hideout finale lasts a solid 30 minutes, and Roongtawan Jindasing hands out a great deal of damage to JeeJa and her buddies. It escalates to the point of making one's hairs stand on end, especially when JeeJa gets her second wind and slugs it out in EPIC fashion. That sequence must be an instant classic (at least in terms of girl vs girl mayhem). Heck, this entire film is an instant classic.

If you liked "Chocolate", you need to see this. If you didn't like "Chocolate", you need to see this anyways. It's truly an excellent action film, and quite possibly the best girl fighting movie ever made.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So what the hell was in that jug?, August 16, 2010
By 
H. Bala "Me Too Can Read" (Recently moved back to Carson, California, or as I call it... the center of the universe) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raging Phoenix (DVD)
To sum up the film: Very cool action set pieces; bloody awful story. We knew there was gonna be imense pressure for Jeeja Yanin's sophomore work to equal or surpass her debut film CHOCOLATE and, to be honest, RAGING PHOENIX carries a whiff of trying too hard. Jeeja Yanin in CHOCOLATE played a mildly autistic debt collector and so it makes sense to have her switching it up in this one. She plays Deu, one of those party girls who have too much free time on her hands. The film opens during a spectacularly bad series of moments for Deu. She gets kicked out of her rock band, gets spectacularly liquored up, and then gets abducted by a girl and by - and I guess this is the Thai sense of humor at work - a chubby transvestite. She's saved by a melancholy dude named Sanim who along the way fends off a bunch of goons on pogo stilts sporting wicked sharp blades - this, by the way, doesn't at all seem contrived. Really. Deu ends up joining Sanim's tiny band of inebriated martial artists, and these guys specialize in "Meyraiyuth," a form of drunken Muay Thai boxing which incorporates breakdancing. We learn along the way that Sanim and his friends are seeking an elusive organization of kidnappers. It's not too long before Deu picks up drunken Muay Thai boxing. In fact, it may be best to overlook the inordinately short amount of time it takes Deu to pick up impressive fighting skills. Personally, it's even more challenging for me to buy into Jeeja Yanin's pretending to be this girl who, at the start of the film, can't fight at all.

Likewise, it's best not to dwell too much on the kidnappers' target victims. It all has to do with certain women exuding a particular scent, and these women are taken so that their tears could be extracted and sold as a curative for staggering sums of money. It's all pretty "What the f---?"

Like in Tony Jaa's movies - and I wonder if we'll always be comparing JeeJa Yanin to Tony Jaa? - RAGING PHOENIX has a sketchy plot which is there solely to frame the crunching slugfests. What sort of sinks the picture is that things often get bogged down in superfluous plot exposition and forced melodrama. When no one is getting a sharp knee to the face, the pace slows downs to a snail's pace. There are also times when our girl sounds really shrill and when I was thinking that maybe she was better off in CHOCOLATE when she barely had dialogue. She's not as wooden as Tony Jaa. In fact, Jeeja does demonstrate expressiveness and personality (dug her drunken Muay Thai when she first goes off on her own). I blame a screenplay that's listless and the shoddy direction and the fact that this is a Thai martial arts film, a genre which tends to ignore trivial details like good acting and fine execution of story.

We're here strictly for the martial arts stuff, so how was that? Just when I was thinking that THE REBEL's Veronica Ngo was the new lady sheriff in town when it came to buttkicking heroines, here's that wisp of a girl Jeeja Yanin once more kneeing opponents in their painful parts. There are several fight sequences here, and the first two has our heroine taking a back seat to French-Vietnamese martial artist "Kazu" Patrick Tang.("Sanim") and his crew (comprised of members of a B-Boy band in real life). These sequences are really nifty, if unrealistic. The first fight, against the pogo stilt henchmen, demonstrates Kazu's athleticism. The second is the big drunken Muay Thai boxing showcase, and it's cool to see our guys popping and locking and breakdancing while handling their business against some more evil henchmen. The music playing in the background amps you up, too.

Jeeja Yanin gets in the act in later encounters - and her character even challenges one of Sanim's guys into a duel by the beach - but, really, it's not until the final 30 minutes that the real Jeeja Yanin comes out to play. Her brutal beat down of two formidable martial artists is an electrifying highlight. But then to top it off, she takes on the menacing female leader of the kidnappers in a rematch (her previous tussle with her, over a lattice of shaky wooden bridges, ended somewhat in a draw). The film's Big Bad is played by Roongtawan Jindasing who is a champion body builder in real life, and she looks mean enough to wipe the floor with you and me and Shaquille O'Neal (and while she's wearing a bikini bra, no less). And, in the department of "That's Really Gonna Leave A Funky Bruise," JeeJa Yanin's devastating finishing move on Jindasing will drop your jaw. Yanin does her own stunts again, and it's crazy insane to see her acrobatic moves and observe the impact her blows have. Just when I'd thought I'd seen everything Muay Thai had to offer, Yanin demonstrates a series of electrifying maneuvers. I almost don't mind the sometimes glaringly obvious wire work.

This rating thing is pretty subjective. I'm compelled to give this film 3 stars out of 5 (breaks down to 5 stars for the fighting, 1 star for the crappalicious story content). Except that if you already knew going in that the story would get the back seat treatment and you only showed up to see JeeJa Yanin pummel thugs anyway, do you then only rate this for the action bits? I dunno. I say, 3 stars.

Last thing for me. Seriously, what awful ungodly brew was in that jug that everyone had to drink to cement their team membership? It's got me curious.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The New Queen of Martial Arts Defends her Throne, February 24, 2011
This review is from: Raging Phoenix (DVD)
When Tony's away, Jeeja will play...or at least try to take over the title of best international action hero, a feat which seems wholly obtainable with Thai cinema gurus Prachya Pinkaew and Panna Rittikrai on her side. Not since the advent of Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock has it seemed feasible for a lady to establish herself over the top stars of the day in the realm of martial arts films, but not only did the petite powerhouse Jeeja Yanin draw considerable first blood with her debut in Chocolate a few years ago, her follow-up film here may very well be the single best entry to fill the void of the Jaa-free landscape. Is it without flaws? - of course not. But it's still one of the most exciting features I saw during the year of its western release.

The story: troubled indie rock & roller Deu (Yanin) is rescued from the Jaguar Gang - an underground circuit specializing in kidnapping young women - by the leader of a small opposing gang (Patrick Tang, Bangkok Adrenaline). Trained by him and his colorful cohorts in their unique style of martial arts - Meyraiyuth - Deu is recruited as a member of a counter-effort to find out where all the other kidnapped young women disappear to and what fiendish purpose they are used for...

The movie's glaring fault is its narrative. Though it evens itself out as the film goes along, the opening 35 minutes or so are an unwelcome rush of events, happenings, and information that could have easily been spread throughout the first half of the picture. Viewers not devoted to action are likely to turn the movie off before the plot even gets rolling on account of this overload. Additionally, the film's 'twist' - what the kidnappees are used for - elicits a resounding "yeah, right" from all but the most passive viewers, considering how the movie delves into sci-fi territory after more or less playing it straight for the first hour. Production values are pretty strong for the most part (some of the 'underground' sets aren't entirely convincing) and the acting's about as strong as it's going to get for this movie, so count your blessings.

Yes, do count them, but people who appreciate raw physical talent will run out of fingers to list the highlights of the film's ample fight scenes. Love or hate choreographer Panna Rittikrai but don't ever say his work's unoriginal: the man who made his name finding ways to kick butt in manners audiences have never seen outdoes himself yet again with roughly eight jaw-dropping brawls. The fighting style alone is worth the rave: calling the fictional Meyraiyuth method a synonym for capoeira is nonsense, considering its evolution throughout the movie - beginning as a crass mixture of drunken boxing and breakdancing, it takes on elements of capoeira for the middle act before becoming a completely untaggable hodge of muay Thai, kung fu, and judo. Jeeja struts her stuff, but she's perfectly complimented by the likes of Patrick Tang and first-time stars like Nui Saendaeng, Sompong Leartvimolkasame, and ex-policewoman Jindasing Roongtawan as the evil mastermind - all of whom deserve their own starring vehicles as far as I'm concerned. Up until now, I was convinced that the Cynthia Rothrock/Karen Sheperd encounter in Above the Law constituted the single best fight between two women in all of cinema, but the Yanin/Roongtawan finale easily puts that one to the test: what we have here is a new standard that will be very, very difficult for other movies to live up to.

I could go on about this one, but it eventually boils down to this: casual viewers will probably hate the plot and deride the length of the fight scenes, while action appreciators who aren't intimidated by the sight of a woman kicking butt will have plenty of reason to cheer. Fans who lament the loss of Tony Jaa will, in a pinch, find a suitable replacement in this young lady from Bangkok and her new vehicle; if you sat through the silliness that was Ong Bak 2: The Beginning, you can certainly stomach this one.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This mildly angry, mythical bird is a hoot!, July 8, 2010
Okay...so what can I say about Raging Phoenix? Well to begin...was it as good as Jeeja's first film Chocolate? Sorry Jeeja...while my love for you will never die, I must say no. Does that mean it sucks like many other reviewers on other sites might have you believe? No again. Like it's star, it kicks much butt. But it does have one major-league downfall of a flaw...the plot is uber thin and really rather ridiculous.

Everyday thousands of women everywhere are kidnapped and sold into the sex-slavery trade...and in Thailand it is no different. Enter our four intrepid heroes: Sanim, Pig, Dog, and Bull [add another word for excrement as the name for the last three]. These four hapless guys have all had some very special and important women in their lives kidnapped. They have all banded together to hunt down those responsible and make them pay by beating them severely about their head and neck as well as other sensitive parts of their person with a brand spanking new form of martial arts called Meyraiyuth. This new style is suspiciously similar to Capoeira and uses a combination of drunken Muay Thai and breakdancing.

Unfortuantely, these guys aren't having any luck in finding the bad guys or their secret hideout. So they hit upon the awesome idea of setting up some poor, unsuspecting girl as bait, having her get kidnapped, and following the evil doers back to their lair. And as you might have guessed by now, Jeeja is that girl. She plays a character named Deu, a wimpy, spoiled, little, rich girl who is ignored by her family and has had a string of bad relationships...so she's perfect. Their plan might have worked too, but Sanim started feeling guilty about what they were doing, and at the last minute rescues her from her would be captors and then takes her under his wing as his new Padawan learner.

The four guys get her drunk and then...teach her Meyraiyuth so they can later use her for another similar plan. Only this time, she will be able to protect herself from the villain's dastardly plan...which I won't go into because you gotta see it to understand and believe it.

Alright so...the fight scenes are pretty cool...Jeeja is at her impressive best and the rest of the guys are also pretty damn good fighters. The cinematography for the film is also pretty sweet...at least until the climax. At that point we get a lot of hokey wire-work against a green screen and the final showdown with Jeeja and the film's main antagonist seems to drag on much longer than it needs to.

In all, the film is pretty decent for Jeeja's sophomore outing

Now...I did not buy this Blu-ray from Amazon; I purchased a region zero import from that BIG auction site for a lot less than what it was going for here. I'm glad I did get it though, because the disc had a number of trailers on it for some really cool looking movies. Like IP Man with Donnie Yen, which I did pre-order from Amazon.

Okay...techie time:

Picture was crystal clear and the colors were very vivid. Sound was very loud and crisp. The movie has no English dub, so you will be forced to read subtitles...which is fine as there is more fighting than talking.

So that's it...hope you enjoy the movie as much as I did.

And FYI - I recently read that a sequel to Chocolate was in the works, taking place primarily in Japan...can't wait!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars very disappointed, September 29, 2010
By 
Brendan Ngo (California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Raging Phoenix [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I have to say, after watching this I was very disappointed, some of the fights was interesting, but it was very hard for me to enjoy this compared to Chocolate. Chocolate is so much better, and worth the to own on blu-ray.From movies like this, I never expect much from the story and plot, I usually watch these movies for the fighting and action, which what this movie was all about, cheap plots put together as an excuse for the fights. I was expecting much better fighting from this movie, the trailer definitely made it seem very cool. But after watching its not that great, I'll just stick to watching the protector a billion times more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raging Phoenix - great action shots, January 19, 2014
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If you like martial arts, you will like this very much. Very creative. Hard to believe anyone could perform these. Jeeja is fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jee Ja Yanin is awesome!, November 24, 2013
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If you are a true kung fu/karate movie lover, then you will love this star jeeja yanin she is great! P.S. check out her other movies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ooooooo! Weeeeeeeee! A must see!, April 25, 2013
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This review is from: Raging Phoenix (DVD)
Okay, I'm going to get straight to the point. The first 15 min or so starts off kind of corny and slow but let me tell ya, after that, your mouth will drop to the floor. The action is so intense, I'm talking no wires no stunt people. This is real kick but action folks. So, if your into the real thing, check this dvd out. Every bone in Jija's body should've been broken! Jija is for sure the next female Ong Bak. Can't wait to see her in more serious rolls though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would watch it again, March 14, 2013
I liked the funky twists and turns of the story line. Its contempory style of young actors.. I have to give it to the actors and actresses in this for their MEGA contribution of athletic ability, coreography and staminia. Liked the parkour freestyle, not a CGI movie If you ejoy martial art scenes....You will enjoy this movie!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Action action Action, March 14, 2013
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ill keep it short. If your a fan of Jeeja, you'll love this movie. If you've never seen her before then your in for a treat. This movie is non stop action with a huge dose of silly humor and goofy antics. The martial arts are just awesome and watching this girl fight makes most other action stars look like little kids. If you love martial arts movies and humor you will love this movie.
P.S. this movie doesn't take itself seriously and neither should you.
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Raging Phoenix [Blu-ray]
Raging Phoenix [Blu-ray] by Rashane Limtrakul (Blu-ray - 2010)
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