Strong Women Movie Challenge #19 of 200 : Deu in Raging Phoenix (Jija Yanin)
I love to write and write and write about strong women in the movies on a regular basis. The women that kick ass in all sorts of physical and non-physical manors.
But Jija Yanin doesn’t kick ass. That would be like saying a masterpiece is just ‘pretty damn good’
No…. Jija DESTROYS!!! EVERYTHING!!!
It's impossible to not get excited when it’s all about to go bang off and Jija is at the front of it all.
I first stumbled across this whilst bored one afternoon looking for trash on Netflix to pass the time.
Little did I know that a relaxing afternoon martial arts flick would have me wrenched from my seat and punching the air in delight. Then screaming the name of Jija Yanin to anyone that might care. (And to many I knew wouldn’t give a flying hoot as well)
Such is Miss Yanins power.
The setup is thus :
Recently cheated-on Deu is a victim of a kidnapping from the Jaguar Gang. These sum-bitches are kidnapping specific women for reasons I cant possibly reveal as the bonkersness behind it all should be discovered by yourself.
She’s rescued by a group of 3 guys and taught the art of Meyraiyuth.
Meyraiyuth is a fictional form of drunken martial arts that is basically 'hammered out of your face Muay Thai’. And it’s simultaneously awesome and hilarious.
Thus begins their quest to take out these bad, bad, men. And woman. But more on her later cos she deserves a paragraph all to herself.
I was torn the first time I saw this film as the first hour is all kickass fun and drunken shenanigans, but then the second hour goes super-serious.
At first I didn’t like the change in tone. But after watching it again last night knowing what I now know, it’s actually to its advantage.
Now I absolutely adore everything about what the makers set out to do and I believe that the 2 hour stretch wouldn’t have been such a pleasure had it been all silly or all serious. The balance is perfick.
Jija is an absolute master of the art. And that’s what it is. A beautiful art-form.
She’s so frackin' awesome at what she does, that she leaves your jaw hanging. Making every movement she does flow like an elegant, albeit brutal dance.
The fact that she’s a pocket rocket doesn’t mean that you’re asked to suspend your disbelief on this girl kicking ass for 2 hours. She WILL kick your ass. I spent the duration either going “ooooh” at the crunching blows she was inflicting. Or reaching for the rewind button ;-)
This woman rocks so so so so hard.
And the guys she teams up with rule the roost too :
Sanim (Kazu Patrick Tang) is amazing. I’d never seen him before but this guy, like Jija, is not only a master of his art-form, he’s actually a pretty sweet actor too.
And rounding off the foursome are Pigshit and Dogshit (Gotta love those awesome choices of character naming)
You could easily dismiss them as the humour of the film, but each of the 4 has a very serious reason for wanting to take the Jaguar Gang out.
They’ve all been affected by the kidnappings on a very personal level.
It’s for this reason that this movie actually made me cry. There I said it. I cried at a martial arts flick.
It’s just that you’re living with these wonderful characters for so long that you’re really feeling each individuals pain. You’re behind them so damn much.
That’s what is most surprising about this movie : it has a great story. I make no apologies for feeling.
Of course, they’re inevitably going to reach the top of the chain, and this is where the leader comes in :
HOLY KICKASS VILLAINESS BATMAN!!! Roongtawan Jindasing is the shit.
She’s kind of the anti-Deu. I wouldn’t say she is any less elegant with what she does. She just ups the brutality level through the roof. It makes the final fight between herself and Deu sooooo epic.
Jija is given full reign to really go for it when faced with an adversary that is the best of the best and the brutalist of the brutal. Roongtawan is the best baddie I tells ya.
This movie has everything if you’re even slightly interested in the genre. Its hilarious in parts, super-dark and serious in others. The characters are amazing. And so is the story. (still not apologising)
Couple that with some amazing fight scenes and Jija Yanin and you’re on for a brain-exploding winner.
Jija Yanin shouldn’t just be known as the face of Eastern women in martial arts. Or the female Tony Jaa (lazy lazy lazy). It somehow doesn’t sound far reaching enough.
Cos someone this talented should be a global phenomenon. Only then will this amazing lady truly get what she deserves.
Thank you for time x