A compelling lead and impressive fisticuffs make Furie another solid female-led Asian actioner on Netflix.
Between Maria and now Le-Van Kiet’s Furie, Netflix is quickly becoming the go-to spot for impressive female-led Asian action cinema. And I’m all for this, obviously. The action genre is criminally underrated and misrepresented in pseudo-intellectual film circles as it is, and always finds its biggest audience on streaming, so more easily-accessible ass-kicking can only be a good thing. Enter Furie.
The plot is distressingly familiar. The talented Vietnamese star Veronica Ngo plays a dangerous debt-collecting single mother, Hai Phuong, who does the dirty work so that her cute daughter, Mai (Cat Vi), can have a roof over her head and food in her belly — even if it is undercooked. But of course this line of work is never sustainable, and after a few unsavory fellows get bumped on the head, Mai winds up kidnapped by black market organ traffickers, and Hai Phuong finds herself in a pursuit that’ll wind a bloody trail through Ho Chi Minh City.
Nothing new there, then. And frankly, there isn’t much new about Furie overall, though that’s hardly a problem. The movie is filtered entirely through Hai Phuong’s refreshingly fierce maternal perspective, with Ngo delivering a consistently watchable performance that runs the gamut from vulnerability to desperation to unstoppable badassery. The very solid fight choreography by Samuel Kefi Abrikh and action direction from Yannick Ben and Anh Tuan Nguyen would all be for naught if Ngo didn’t sell it physically, but she does, seemingly without much effort. She’s a real talent.
That isn’t to say that Furie is without its flaws. The resolutely focused and one-track-minded approach leaves aspects of plot and character feeling thin, mostly sped past without any particular care, and the film occasionally veers into inexplicably corny territory that can undermine the very cinematic technical underpinnings. But on the whole, this is a very well-done actioner with a solid lead and satisfying fisticuffs that’ll reliably please genre fans — another smart international acquisition by Netflix that I hope finds some fans.