Raging fire, Hong Kong director Benny chan latest film, is the most intense action flick of 2021, which says a lot about a year we have No time to die, F9, and The suicide squad. It also means something that Raging fire was made for a tiny fraction of these films. Chan, one of Hong Kong’s earliest action directors whose film career began in 1990, died last year after completing filming on this film, his 25e movie. Months after its theatrical release, upon rewatching the film on Blu-Ray, its impact is greater given its status as an outsider to Hollywood blockbusters with a budget of $ 200 million.
Donnie Yen plays the last honest cop in Hong Kong who goes against a gang of sociopathic ex-cops led by Nicolas Tse, all of whom were sent to jail on Yen’s testimony years ago. Now they want revenge on all those who wronged them, the high ranking officers who abandoned them, the bank mogul who sold them, the entire Hong Kong police force, including Yen lui -same.
Raging fire is almost an anachronistic old school in its “a good cop becomes a thug to shoot down his old friend turned psychopath” which is also a shrill copaganda play. A common trope in Chan’s action movies is that his villains are always sadistic, mocking sociopaths. They’re never the least bit sympathetic, even when played by Nicholas Tse, who brings nuance to a villain who wants to burn the world down. The title’s raging fire is its nihilistic thirst for revenge.
Benny Chan was one of the last old-school Hong Kong action directors to make everything as real as they can be, and the characters on screen really seem to be risking their lives. CGI is all about blood firecrackers, removing wires, and spawning even bigger explosions. There’s a massive action scene every 10 minutes, from the opening raid on an abandoned mall to a slum brawl with a drug gang (with a racist presentation of the only South Asian character to appear in the movie). movie, and unfortunately, a common trope in Hong Kong movies). It ends with a brawl in the sewers to a mad car chase through the streets of Hong Kong, from a hostage-taking in a school gymnasium to an epic shootout in the streets of Hong Kong that reimagines the shooting of a big bank Michael Mann’s Heat and increase even more. Chan’s glee here seems to want to blow up Hong Kong for the action to be filmed. It’s not every day that a director literally comes out with a bang. Raging fire looks like a summary of Chan’s career and looks like one of the last old school Hong Kong action flicks.
To have Raging fire on physical media actually seems important in light of the fact that Chinese government censors directly take over the oversight of Hong Kong film and television censorship. It could be the last hurray of Hong Kong action movies as we know them, and with literally any Hong Kong movie in danger of being wiped out by Chinese censors, having a Blu-Ray is one way. to preserve cultural history.
Raging fire is now available on VOD and Blu-Ray from Wellgo USA.
Review by Adi Tantimedh
Re-rated on Blu-Ray after its theatrical release, it’s still the best action movie of 2021, especially when comparing it to the $ 200 million Hollywood blockbusters that are packed with CGI. The action feels more real, more visceral, and could be the latest in old-school Hong Kong action flicks.