Starring: Veronica Ngo, Lê Bình, Cat Vy
Director: Le-Van Kiet
Running Time: 97 mins
Furie (Hai Phượng) is a Vietnamese film about a mother who embarks on a relentless search after her daughter is kidnapped, coming across her dark past as she returns to the big city of Saigon.
With the action sensibilities of John Wick blended with a thrilling Taken-esque story, and hugely entertaining martial arts action throughout, Furie is an absolute riot from beginning to end. It may slow down a little in the middle period, it’s a mostly rapid-fire, relentless affair that takes simple action thrills and turns them into immensely enjoyable popcorn viewing.
There’s a lot to love about Furie, but the best thing about it is the fact that it’s just so much fun. Intense revenge thrillers are more common than any other premise nowadays, but too often do films in the genre take a dark, overly gritty approach to things, with the likes of Run All Night, The Foreigner and many more missing the mark in recent years when it comes to delivering a properly entertaining action thriller.
Furie, on the other hand, places fun, exciting and dynamic action entertainment at the forefront from start to finish, resulting in a film that’s jam-packed with both the intensity that a great revenge thriller warrants, as well as fun-loving, slightly over-the-top action and choreography to give you an enjoyable hour and a half.
The action is absolutely amazing throughout, ranging from that fun-loving vibe to just how well it’s all choreographed and directed. Finding a brilliant middleground in the martial arts genre, Furie has the fun-loving and ridiculous sensibilities of the likes of John Wick, without pushing into sheerly insane territory as often seen in many modern Chinese and Hong Kong martial arts movies. On the other hand, the film keeps its feet on the ground throughout, and takes inspiration from the brand of more serious, heavy martial arts action that you’ll have seen in the likes of The Raid series.
So, while there’s the excitement and thrill of heavy, intense action throughout, this film still has those fun-loving, laughter-inducing sensibilties, making it an immensely entertaining watch, furthered only by the striking visuals, quick-paced cinematography and editing, and brilliant fight choreography throughout.
For fans of pure action, Furie ticks pretty much every box, but it also impresses when it comes to the story. Again reminiscent of John Wick, the premise is blissfully simple, with a mother fighting at all costs to find her daughter. Hai Phuong, the mother, is pretty much invincible when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, but the story introduces a relatable human side as she desperately fights to save her daughter, all the while coming across moments of personal struggle when she encounters people from her own dark past.
It’s a fantastic lead performance from Veronica Ngo, who is just as likable a main character as she is an amazing action star, and she owns the screen from beginning to end in the same vein as Keanu Reeves in John Wick, Liam Neeson in Taken and more, as you earnestly will her on in her quest to rescue her daughter.
As a result, Furie proves a hugely entertaining and equally engrossing action thriller throughout. However, if I were to have one problem with the film, I would say that it does slow down a little too much in the middle period, missing out on the breathless action thrills of the first and final acts that really make this film so memorable. There is dramatic intrigue in the middle of the movie, and it’s far from boring, but it just doesn’t compare to the thrilling heights that it often reaches.
Overall, I had great fun with Furie, thanks principally to its thrilling, fun-loving action sensibilities that feature exhilarating martial arts choreography and striking direction throughout. However, with an equally engrossing and fantastically simple revenge story and brilliant lead turn from Veronica Ngo, it’s a film that’s certain to entertain all fans of action from beginning to end, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.8.