It’s been a while since Donnie Yen has graced our screens with his latest brand of bone crunching high kicking, power punching action. But he’s back in Raging Fire, the last film, from writer, director Benny Chan, who died from cancer just after Raging Fire was completed.
While conducting a raid to arrest a drug lord, police encounter a group of masked thugs. In a violent act of sabotage, the gang steals the drugs and murders the police officers on the scene. Arriving late, Inspector Cheung Shung-bong (Donnie Yen) is devastated to see the brutal aftermath, discovering the cop killers are led by Ngo (Nicholas Tse, New Police Story, Shaolin), his former protégé. Once a rising star in the police who was driven to a life of crime, he now bears a grudge. As their fates become entangled again, a score will be settled once and for all.
For a final movie, Benny Chan has left us with probably his best work. Raging Fire is a tour de force of the modern martial arts movie. Donny Yen shows why he continues to be such a huge box office draw, with a incredible perforce both from a physical and acting point of view. Yen simply absorbs every scene he’s in and makes it better and then when the time comes to unleash his fists and feet of fury, he does so with such incredible timing, power and intensity, you almost feel every blow yourself while watching the film!
While Raging Fire follows the Heroic Bloodshed plot line trappings that you find in the HK movie scene currently, it’s just carried off with such aplomb. With a finale that has possibly the best action sequence of the year, that begins with a street shoot out that Michael Mann’s Heat would be proud of and and end battle between Yen and co-star Nicholas Tse, that is a magnificently staged fight. Raging Fire will give you a thrill-a-thon ride that will leave you simply breathless by the end credits.
The film is sometimes weighed down by some of the underdeveloped co-stars whose exposition slows down the pace to a crawl, but then someone soon gets lamped by a piece of scenery or punched so hard they end up in a pile on the floor and were back off at the races again.
Donnie Yen is simply timeless, the man much like Paul Rudd simply doesn’t seem to age. (Someone should probably check his house for a dusty painting in the loft…). He carries Raging Fire on his shoulders with relative ease and ensures that the viewing audience get every bit of their moneys worth from start to finish. Nicholas Tse also, is a particularly good foil for Yen and matches him move for move, kick for kick and leaves the future of HK action movies in very good hands if the current wave of A-listers (Yen, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun-fat, Daniel Wu etc.) ever decide to retire.
Raging Fire, is in the argument for action movie of the year and if you can forgive the films shortcomings, then you are in for a real treat. An action festival for the ages with Donnie Yen leading the charge
Raging Fire is now showing in selected UK Cinemas and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu Ray, DVD & Digital from January 31st 2022.