Kick'em In The Ghoulies

"It's The Only Way To Survive"


London East Asia Film Festival ( LEAFF)  Opening Gala 2021


Raging Fire - Benny Chan - 2021

In the World of Hong Kong Cinema, there are films from certain actors and directors that are a must-view.

They may not live up to expectations or hype, fans of Donnie Yen will always be waiting for the next big film he throws out.

And it's pretty much the same with certain directors.

With Hong Kong cinema it has always been the likes of John Woo, Dante Lam, Sammo Hung, Yuen Woo-Ping that direct films that draw big audiences.

And it was the same with the films of the Late Benny Chan. The Late Mr.Chan's films though not vast in number far outshone many of the leading directors of action cinema throughout his career.

His breakthrough film 1990 Moment of Romance with a young Andy Lau is a landmark film in the genre.

Internationally Benny Chan's work would be first viewed in his direction of Jackie Chan's Who Am I in 1998.

The two Chan's would go on to collaborate on a further three films, New Police Story from 2004 would be nominated for numerous awards and winning Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Wu and getting an Audience Choice Award.

Since those films, Benny Chan had directed some great action cinema with great characterisation.

So when it was announced in 2019 that Benny Chan would be collaborating with Donnie Yen for his next film, my attention was peaked.

Benny Chan had worked before with Donnie Yen back in 1995 for the Fist of Fury TV series, so it was twenty-five years nearly since they had worked together.

Also on board was another Hong Kong legend and a regular who had worked with Benny Chan before, the actor Nicholas Tse.

One common dominator with all of Benny Chan's films is the way he gets to cast a whose who of Hong Kong cinema in so many of his films. So the inclusion of Ray Liu, Simon Yam, Ken Lo, and Patrick Tam also starring.

In reality, Raging Fire would have been released sometime in 2020, it of course was delayed, but not all due to the Pandemic, Unfortunately, one of the main reasons was due to Benny Chan being diagnosed with Cancer.

The director had finished Directing duties of the film around Sept 2019 but was too ill to finish doing the Post-production, this was later passed to a friend. In August 2020 Benny Chan sadly Passed Away in Hong Kong.

For fans of Hong Kong cinema, the collaboration between Yen and Chan was cinematic heaven.

What's sad is not the time we have had to wait to see this film, but the fact that this is Benny Chan's last film.

What's also important to point out is this is a Hong Kong action film, Not a Chinese film. Many of the Hong Kong studios have folded more and more since 1997, the focus has been for China to have these big productions done through their own production companies, many of the past directors have moved on making big Chinese extravaganza's or have even moved to Hollywood.

The late Benny Chan has delivered a piece of Hong Kong cinema to the fans, just like he always had done in the past.

We viewed the film at the London East Asia Film Festival in the heart of London's Leicester Square.

As an opening Gala event to start the festival and to honour a Great film director.

Being this was the first major event I had attended since before the Pandemic I must admit I slipped back into the flow of things with all the crowds in Leicester Square.

After some Introductions by the Festival Director Hyejung Jeon, and Director General for the Hong Kong Economic, and Trade Office in London, Gilford Law the audience sat back in comfort at The Odeon Luxe West End and tucked into their goody bag ready for the big film.

Set in Modern Day Hong Kong, Donnie Yen plays Bong, a Police officer who always has to do the right thing, even if it means landing himself into trouble.


Raging Fire -The Story

The film unfolds in a series of flashbacks, Bong is after capturing a big Drug kingpin by the name of Kwai, but when his plans are derailed by bureaucrats and big wigs, it's his fellow Police Officer and friend Yiu Yuek-sing, who goes in for the bust only to fall foul to an alternate agender on behalf of one of the dealers.

It's this agenda that gets Bong's friend killed and sets Bong on a path to uncover the truth behind it all, only to come face to face with former protege, Ngo, whose team got kicked of the force and imprisoned five years earlier.

The film's plotline is fairly simple, Cop goes after former cop, but it's the way the story is told, it unravels at a steady pace to get you accustomed to the characters.

It often draws a fine line as to what's acceptable behaviour for a Police Officer under duress, and at parts have the antagonists come across as hard done by.

We all have a view on how criminals should be viewed or treated, In reality, we would all want justice to fit our own criteria, but the law stipulates what's justifiable, and what's not.

For me as a person, someone who murders, Rapes, or kidnaps someone should be dealt with by equal means. Of with their head, I say.

But from the law's point, justice must be served. But whose justice?

You can't help feeling sorry for the character of Ngo and his colleagues at times. Even though they go on a mindless killing rampage without due care for anybody.

It's here that Director Benny Chan got the best out of both Tse and Yen as they fire off against each other, not just in battle but in their minds.

Raging Fire shares a similar premise to the director 2004 New Police Story, both films see an annihilation of a Police Squad, whereas, in Jackie Chan's film, Jackie's character becomes a useless drunk before being pulled from the gutter, here Yen's character of Bong is relentless in his pursuit of Justice, pretty much what you would expect from a Donnie Yen film.

And maybe that's slightly where Raging Fire doesn't quite pip Benny Chan's work on New Police Story. As I would never have thought of the storyline of that particular film for Jackie Chan back in 2004.

Also, I find Nicholas Tse's character of Ngo is very reminiscent of his character in the New Police story spliced with the Daniel Wu character of the same film, not in a bad way, but a revealing way.

For me, the character of Ngo stole the show a bit as he is the perfect Dr. Jekkal and Mr. Hyde.

I kind of liked the guy, he was getting justice for his imprisonment for being a Police Officer, caught up in the heat of the moment dealing with what in real-life terms is a lowlife.


Image Copyright (c) Emperor Motion Pictures 2021


Raging Fire - How Does it Fair ?

The action and Fight choreography which in part was done by Donnie Yen is old school in style with a modern twist.

Though there's lots of gunplay, as this is an action film with some fighting, not a Martial arts brawler.

Amidst battle with guns blazing there are scenes in a short burst of hand to hand, this is more routed in a brawl or street fight than a one-on-one battle showcasing anyone's ability. But that's not to say that they don't deliver. What's there is really well done and the recent favour in the depiction of ground fighting continues as all and sundry is used to nail an opponent's head to the floor.

From flying bits of wood, people smashing through walls, I think one scene had Bong throw an Air Conditioner unit at Ngo, I thought that's a breath of fresh air to the fight proceedings.

Chases, oh yeah the chases, no old school Hong Kong flick would be complete without that chase scene. And Benny Chan delivered in bucket loads. The underuse of CGI was a blessing as shown in the out-takes at the end. We had real cars smashing through windows and people running for their lives here folks, all under strict control mind, safety first, and all.

At around two hours in length, Raging Fire is packed full of action, some of the flashback scenes slow the pace in a good way, as without them I think it would all blur into one big flashing explosion of gunfire, kicks, and car crashes.


Raging Fire - Director Benny Chan

In the end, the film is dedicated to the memory of Benny Chan, and everyone clapped and stayed a bit and waited for the final credits to roll.

Raging Fire is a fine and fitting end to Benny Chan's films as director. Like I said I don't think it was his best film, but it was close, and to be honest it has had some stiff competition from the director's own films from the past thirty years.

My main reason is that Nicholas Tse stole the show a bit, I wanted to see Donnie Yen in a role that made us go wow, I can't believe he's pulled that off.

And that's where I think Jackie Chan pips Donnie Yen some of the time, Jackies is a better actor, especially getting into character, Benny Chan's New Police Story proved that and JC proved it again with The Foreigner.

But then again maybe that's a credit that also should go to Benny Chan. He seemed to bring out what's hidden in so many actors and actresses and never realised.

Finally, we dedicate this page to Benny Chan and the great films he has given the Hong Kong Action Film Industry over the years, it was sad that he passed so young. But he will live on through the media of his hyper-kinetic explosive and thought-provoking films that have brought a smile to the faces of so many fans over the years.

Thank you, Benny Chan. R.I.P.

Review By: Sertes Nake

Review Date : 22-10-2021 – 2.47am

There are other Hong Kong Films being shown at the LEAFF event and one in their retrospective event is Benny Chan's, Moment of Romance from 1990 which stars Andy Lau, it's being shown on Sunday 24th October at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square at 3.00pm


The Late Benny Chan

Director / Screenwriter / Producer

The Late Benny Chan was a Producer and Director of Hong Kong Cinema, his films have set benchmarks for action cinema for thirty years since his debut in 1990 with Moment of Romance with Andy Lau.

Benny worked with the leading lights of Hong Kong cinema. from Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, Nicholas Tse, and many more over his career.

In 2019 Benny Chan was diagnosed with Nasel Cancer whilst filming Raging Fire with Donnie Yen.

He managed to oversee post production with aid of a friend, but sadly passed away in August 2020.

He was only 58.

Nicholas Tse

Martial Artist / Actor / Singer / Chef

Born in Hong Kong , Nicholas Tse and his family moved to Canada where he grew up.

His breakthrough in acting came in 1998 when he was cast in The Young and Dangerous -The Prequel. 

This earn't him The Best New-comer award.

Tse learned Martial arts from Sammo Hung, Andy On, and Philip Ng. He was taught stuntwork by Jackie Chan.

He is also a popular Canto POP star as well with many albums under his belt.

In 2021 Nicholas Tse renounced his Canadian citizenship, and is now has Chinese Citizenship, this is all due to China imposing sanctions on the entertainment Industry. 

Prior to this he held Dual citizenship.

Tse has been in the public eye a lot in Hong Kong and China, Not always for the right reasons. 

He does seem to have a Driving problem.

But he's also been lucky to have starred in some  of the regions best films from New Police Story with Jackie Chan, Dragon Tiger Gate, where he performed this magnificent flying kick over a huge table.

Donnie Yen

Martial Artist / Action Actor / Action Director 

Donnie Yen who was raised in the USA, broke into Hong Kong cinema with Drunken Tai Chi, amidst the craze of the Kung Fu comedy which was popularised by Jackie Chan.

But it was till slightly later and his work Yuen Woo Ping's Tiger Cage, and In The Line of Duty 4 opposite Cynthia Khan that people started to take notice. 

Since then he has refined his art and turned to action choreography, and Action Direction. Though throughout the 90s he made many action films, none really set the world on fire. His biggest role back then was probably opposite Jet Li in Once Upon a Time In China 2.

But as action cinema changed in Hong Kong after 1997, Yen seemed to find better ways of expressing himself on screen as his work progressed and also due to the exodus of talent from the region after the Chinese handover.

World wide Donnie Yen came recognised through his depiction of Bruce Lee's teacher Ip Man in a series offilms that started in 2008.

Since then he has flirted with Hollywood , even landing a role in Star Wars Rogue One, and appearing in the third in the Triple X series opposite Vin Diesel.

Donnie Yen continues to champion Hong Kong cinema on a anual basis, which pleases the fans the world over. 

The Venue - Odeon Luxe Leicester Square London


Director: Benny Chan

Producers: Benny Chan / Donnie Yen

ScreenPlay: Benny Chan / Ryan Ling / Tong Yui-Ling

Starring: Donnie Yen

Nicholas Tse

Simon Yam

Ray Liu

Ken Lo

Qin Lan

Language: Cantonese

Country: Hong Kong . China

Length: 126 Minutes

Distributor: Emperor Motion Pictures - Worldwide . Hong Kong

Intercontinental Film Distribution _ Hong Kong


All attendees also were privvy to a goody bag on their seat with drinks and snacks and a commemorative Program for LEAFF 2021.

So A good night for all.