Action Crime

Fantasia Festival Review: ‘Raging Fire’ is a Hard-Boiled Throwback to Classic Hong Kong Action Thrillers

September 8, 2021Ben MK

With films like A Better Tomorrow, Infernal Affairs and Cold War, the Hong Kong crime thriller genre has kept many a moviegoer on the edge of their seat and inspired all sorts of filmmakers the world over — from independent upstarts to established directors like Martin Scorsese. Now, with director Benny Chan's posthumous final movie, Raging Fire, the genre is back with a vengeance, in this hard-boiled tale of two former colleagues who find themselves on opposing sides of the law.

Set against the backdrop of Asia's World City, the story follows Senior Inspector Bong Cheung (Yen), a by-the-book cop who's spent the better part of the last four years obsessed with capturing a notorious drug and arms dealer named Wong Kwun. Little does Bong realize, however, that his former friend, an ex-cop named Ngo (Tse), has also been obsessing about something. Only for Ngo, it's not about collaring a wanted criminal, but getting revenge on Bong for testifying against him and his team during their manslaughter trial. Now, after having spent the past four years in prison, Ngo and his fellow cops-turned-convicts are looking for payback. And you can be sure that they won't rest until they exact their violent retribution on Bong and the rest of the Hong Kong Police Force.

A gripping exercise in classic genre tropes, what follows is sure to please old-school action fans. However, those looking for a more evolved take on the genre might be left somewhat wanting. That said, the memorably charismatic turns from Yen and Ngo are more than enough to make Raging Fire worth a trip to the multiplex — digital or otherwise. Just don't expect to see any doves flying in slow-motion amidst the bullets.

Raging Fire makes its Canadian premiere at the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 6 min.

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