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Raging Phoenix (2009) @ จีจ้า ดื้อสวยดุ

At a glance:
Drunken Master (1978) meets Only The Strong (1993) in a female version of Ong Bak (2003) with a dollop of unnecessary Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer (2006) - that's what you get if you give martial arts wunderkind Jeeja Yanin another run at the cinemas after Chocolate a.k.a. Fury (2008). With a Siamese title that translates to "stubborn, beautiful and fierce" (or so I read), this joins the recent rich vein of Thai action movies that hold their own against the Hollywood stuff. Jeeja plays Deu, a pathetic, punk-rock drifter who joins a group of dancin drunken fighters on their vengeful mission of rescuin abducted women from a mysterious flesh trade gang. This vigilante trio (offensively named Pig Shit, Dog Shit and Bull Shit) is headed by another bitter bloke named Sanim (played by French-Vietnamese fighter Patrick "Kazu" Tang, pic, L). You can forget about Marc Dacascos and his capoeira once this lot starts kickin ass, especially in the flurry of fight scenes in the first quarter of the movie.
Bad news on the doorstep:
In spite of good lensin and breathtakin backdrop, all of the meticulously choreographed fight action is hampered by an uncomfortable packagin that tries to cover romance and some hocus-pocus mystical backstory as well, resultin in an overlong final product with an extended climax and an unnecessarily elaborate endin. This decision takes out a lot of energy out of the movie, leavin audiences with a martial arts flick that is enjoyable in patches only.
Perennial wonderment:
If Thai movies can ever stop it with the invasive background music. This one sounds slightly better. Plus it has a real score too I think.
Watch out for:
Star of the show Jeeja Yanin (pic, R). She's cute (though slightly annoyin) and she sure can put up a helluva fight. Utilisin a real-life Siamese discipline called meiraiyuth, her character convincingly embraces the art and gives us somethin awesome to marvel at in every frame. However the most interestin sequence is at an abandoned skate park where Kazu does some amazin work.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?Let's hope Jeeja Yanin's next project is much better and will bring her into Hollywood circles because this Thai talent is more marketable than Tony Jaa.★★1/2
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