Deep down in her underground lair, Jaguar Gang leader London (Jindasee Roongtawan) and her diabolical henchmen are milking the tears from kidnapped women for use in some kind of super-perfume that... well, it's not really clear what it does, but it sure is expensive. Deu (Yanin "Jeeja" Vismistananda), nearly kidnapped herself, is rescued by Sanim (Kazu Patrick Tang), whose sweetheart was taken from him by the Jaguar Gang on their wedding day. Sanim and sidekicks Pig Shit (Nui Saendaeng), Dog Shit (Sompong Lertwimonkaisom), and Bull Shit (Boonprasayrit Salangam) teach Deu the art of Meyraiuth, which is apparently some fusion of breakdancing, Zui Quan, and Muay Thai. The group soon sets forth to thwart the sinister plot and find Sanim's bride. Or something like that.
I'm going to go ahead and get straight to the point here. While I was genuinely looking forward to seeing Raging Phoenix, this film takes the prize for the absolute worst Asian film I've ever seen. When the bad guys chasing Deu on bladed pogo-stilts make their appearance five minutes into the film, I had more or less given up any hope of intellectual stimulation, but I'm afraid that was only the beginning. If you thought Chocolate (2008) was silly, you clearly haven't seen Raging Phoenix.
To be fair, I found Yanin "Jeeja" Vismistananda to be charismatic, likable, and certainly more attractive in this film than she appeared in Chocolate, but she could be Gong Li and it still wouldn't save this train wreck of a film. While I found Yanin "Jeeja" Vismistananda perfectly tolerable, I can't say the same for Kazu Patrick Tang's character, Sanim, whose brooding personality wouldn't look out of place in Twilight if it weren't for the facial hair. Meanwhile, Jindasee Roongtawan, who plays London, has zero acting ability, though, fortunately for us, she doesn't appear until quite late in the film.
The first thing Raging Phoenix fails to do is establish any indicator of place. All we know is it's all going down somewhere in Thailand and the beach can be seen several times throughout the film. Aside from the beach, most of the sets-particularly the Jaguar Gang's lair-look like something from a theme park. Whoever designed these sets made some very liberal use of plaster and dry ice. If you're foolish enough to endure this film, my advice to you is to see it in low resolution. I made the mistake of seeing it in full 1080p, which didn't make the poorly executed CGI look any better either. Also, why is there an unexplained bottomless pit in the Jaguar Gang's lair?
Besides all that, isn't the whole premise of rendering perfume from the human body lifted from Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006), one of my favorite non-Asian films?
What makes Raging Phoenix so bad isn't just the fact that it's, well, bad, it's that it doesn't even seem to know it. The actors/actresses cry like babies as if we're supposed to take them seriously or even join in on the schmaltz-fest. Even the cheesy dramatic music is overkill and, lastly, there's the issue of pacing. If you're going to make a movie even half this bad, you could at least do your audience the service of shortening it up a bit. This was truly an ordeal on my part.