Benny Chan’s final film delivers a classic, fast-paced Hong Kong cop thriller with Donnie Yen defying his years as Cheung Sung-pong, a by-the-book ‘good cop’ whose integrity has cost him a better career. But Cheung’s not too good a cop – he will happily beat the shit out of any criminal suspect in such a fashion that you begin to think Hong Kong police departments don’t have an HR rep to deal with. When a drug bust goes horribly wrong, Cheung is forced to confront an incident from his past, and his protégé Ngo (Nicholas Tse), who has a grudge and might just be out for revenge.
Raging Fire starts strong but is let down by its overt cheesiness and occasional over-the-top clichés (flashbacks, for example, and using scenes taken from the same film). It both harks back to the nostalgic days of the ‘80s and ’90s Hong Kong cinema whilst trying to be modern, a balance that does not always work. Certain characters do things that are hard to believe, but this suspension of disbelief is necessary – as the plot is secondary – to what people are really watching this for. And that’s the incredible action scenes, shoot-outs and brutally choreographed fight scenes. As a drama, it struggles, but as an action film, it hits the mark and delivers more than a hard punch, giving serious Heat vibes during the climax. Good, cheesy fun.
Raging Fire is in UK cinemas on November 12th.