Review: Furie (2019)

Starring Veronica Ngo, Phan Tahn Nhien, Mai Cat Vi, Thanh Hoa

Fight Choreography by Kefi Samuel Abrikh

Directed by Le Van Kiet

“Never touch a Tigress thats guarding her cubs.”

Hai Phuong is a woman who’s led a rough life, but her and her daughter Mai have managed to survive using Hai’s skills as a street smart fighter to work as a debt collector, which is not looked upon well by Mai (or anyone else, for that matter). Mai tries to get her Mom out of the business of jacking dudes up for cash, but before she can succeed, Mai is kidnapped, and Hai will do anything, and hurt just about anyone, to get her daughter back, but to do so means returning to her former life and dealing with unfinished business. A LOT of unfinished business…

Furie is a trip into the darkness of Saigon as we follow Hai’s journey–both inward and outward–to find her daughter and reconcile her past. Now Saigon may be dark but the cinematography is fantastic, lighting up the darkness in neon blues and reds, which create some really nice shots as Hai battles her way through the alleys and backways of Saigon. Kudos to cinematographer Morgan Schmidt, who makes even basic shots look terrific. From the green and browns of the small village at the start of the film to the cold blues of the city that suddenly bursts with neon colors once night falls, every scene makes you want to peer into the darkness to see who else Hai has to deal with.

This helps support a fast-paced, but well told story as Director Van Keit delves not just into the mission, but the past that Hai has to face on the road to saving Mai. Veronica Ngo balances being a scared mother with being a total billy-badass who tears up anyone standing between her and her daughter, and Veronica may have given her best performance as an actress here. Thanh Hoa is a great, nearly unstoppable villain in Thahn Wolf, leader of the gang that took Mai, and Nhein does a great job as the cop with a heart of gold (reminds me of characters made famous by Andy Lau in the Lucky Stars films or Donnie Yen in stuff like In the Line Of Duty 4). The story is so well done here, for what could’ve been a paint-by-numbers action film. A few well-placed flashback scenes inform us of Hai’s criminal past, her relationship with her family, and what she did to leave the criminal lifestyle. Every fight brings her closer to Mai, but the threat to both of the lives is always there as Van Keit directs every scene with immediacy.

The fights. Oh boy, the fights here really reminded me of the choreography we used to see from the late great Panna Rittikrai, and to start with Veronica has never been better as a fighter onscreen than here. She really put in the work and it shows in every scene, and her standout fights with Thahn Hoa are great, both her first fight and particularly her last, where she pulls out some next-level ass-kicking to win the day, and even gets a curtain call fight to finish the film, which is a nice touch. Kefi and the stunt teams did a magnificent job staging all of the brutal fights, from the village to the underworld of Saigon to an ominous train, ever fight escalates as the story races to its finish. Even the small fights are well-done and appropriately brutal-and exciting.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 9

Veronica Ngo smashes her way through the Saigon Underground as Furie kicks a ton of ass in an exciting martial arts film that once again cements Veronica as one of the best action stars working today!