One of the first major films of the year has officially launched in theaters and on Disney+ Premier. We speak of course of Raya and the Last Dragon, the latest Disney adventure featuring the Southeast Asian main character, and a film focused on their culture as a whole. The creative team behind the film was very intentional in how they wanted to represent the world that was around Raya, and even though they had several fantastic elements in the film like the dragons and her animal friends and so on, there were a lot of realistic and authentic elements in the film.
Key among them was the martial arts scenes. There were several, and they featured real martial arts styles that came from the Southeast Asia region. It was important to writer Qui Nguyen and the rest of the crew to get these fight scenes right. They told ComicBook.com that they did special things like using Muay Thai mixed in with Arnis as well as the wrestling that comes from Vietnam.
But in a fun twist, they were also a bit unchained in terms of what they could do. Because as Nguyen noted, in a live-action film you have to be careful with the actor and make sure you don’t harm them too badly. But in an animated film, you can go and be “brutal” and do things like hitting a character hard in the face.
Granted, they did make sure that it wasn’t as brutal as say something like the upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot. But, they were still authentic to the styles presented and that helped make the film better as a whole.
Raya and the Last Dragon has been getting praise from both fans and critics alike for its characters, story, and yes, the fight scenes. So it seems Disney has another hit on its hands.