I had two pairs of tickets to give away to the screening of Raging Phoenix at the New York Asian Film Festival.
They went to the first two people who came hopping into my office in Bangkok on a pair of bladed pogo stilts.
Actually, scratch that part about the bladed pogo stilts.
They were just the quickest to e-mail me at wisekwai [at] gmail.
It's the New York premiere for the sophomore feature starring Jija Yanin, the female action star who burst onto the scene with Chocolate. Here, she's a bitter, lonely and headstrong young socialite who survives being kidnapped by transvestites. She's rescued by a swell group of guys, from whom she learns how to combine Muay Thai beatdowns with B-boy moves. It's "truly jaw-dropping ... full of high impact kicks, lethal breakdancing and the discovery that the greatest martial art of all is Drunken Muay Thai," raves the festival.
Here's more from the festival:
Raging Phoenix is a living organism, a gorgeous pop abomination from beyond media sent to Earth to teach us its strange ways of love, with a shrieking breakbeat pulse and a soul pickled in 100-proof starshine. This latest mad monster from producer Prachya Pinkaew (Ong-Bak) reunites us with Chocolate star "Jeeja" Yanin for the sickest, slickest lost weekend you've ever had, and we promise: no hangover. With a magic mushroom premise and production design straight out of Fraggle Rock, this might just be Thai action cinema's first elbow-gouging, pelvis-smashing chick flick.
Lonely-hearted rock drummer Deu (Jeeja) is in no mood for monkey business when some sniff-happy hoodlums come bouncing after her on gigantic pogo-scythes, determined to use her crazy lady pheromones to cultivate a forbidden black-market perfume made from tears of sorrow. Rescued by four beach bum badasses – Dog Shit, Pig Shit, Sanim, and the ever-mysterious Bull Shit – Deu joins their ranks to learn Meyraiyuth, the hip-hop-flavored drunken fighting technique born of the DTs, unlearnable without having first consumed massive quantities of hard liquor. Armed with only her pluck and a rainbow coalition of the world's strangest booze, Deu must drink the sacred demon Hell Grog that mere men dare not drink, and become the Raging Phoenix who will liberate womankind.
As Deu, Jeeja Yanin proves her acting mettle, playing an abrasive burnout case who'd rather open your throat than open her heart ever again, while the eye-popping, break-boxing choreography by Panna Ritikrai (Chocolate, Ong-Bak) is like nothing you've ever seen - you haven't lived until you've watched someone take down an opponent with the Worm, and Rashane Limtrakul's fluid-groove camera captures every B-Boy beatdown. Raging Phoenix is a gloriously debauched addition to the Thai action canon, an hallucinogenic cocktail which goes nova in your throat and gets you drunk on the fallout. Come drunk, leave happy.
Though check the showtime first: Raging Phoenix is at 1pm on Monday, June 28, at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater.
The New York Asian Film Festival runs from June 25 to July 8 at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater, July 1 to 4 at the Japan Society and midnights on June 25-26 and July 2-3 at the IFC Center.