2019’s been a great year for action films. It’s not just John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum or Avengers: Endgame which blew peoples’ minds, but smaller films like Shadow, Avengement, Master Z: Ip Man Legacy, Big Brother, and Furie. If you missed any of these films and you dig smart action sequences structured for maximum impact, then you’re in luck! Most are coming to home video or are already available. Furie is the latest to hit shelves and remains one of the strongest films to come out of 2019 and rests in this reviewer’s #19 spot for top films of the year. It may not contain the beauty of Shadow, the brutally of Avengement, or the budgets of Wick or Endgame, but Furie makes up for it by being completely relentless. Co-directed by Le Van Kiet and lead actress Veronica Ngo (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Furie is the kind of a movie which makes a statement: don’t mess with Ngo or her family.
If you want to know more in a spoiler-free way, head over to our review. You’ve been warned.
Le Huynh Ngoc Phuong (Ngo), known as Hai, is a former Saigon enforcer who left that life behind her once she became pregnant. With no other skills, however, she continues to use her talents for pain as a debt collector in a small village far from the bustle of Saigon. Hai’s reputation as the local heavy puts a strain on her relationship with her daughter Mai (Mai Cat Vi), despite only continuing the work to keep Mai in school. No matter how much Hai tries to put her past behind her, her demons have a way of finding her as Mai is kidnapped by human traffickers. Tracking them to Saigon, Hai must not only contend with her past but also with Officer Luong (Thanh Nhien Phan), a Saigon cop on the trail of the traffickers. With nothing to lose but her child, Hai will not stop until her child is regained.
Part of what makes Furie so memorable, even several months after its theatrical release, isn’t just the stunts, the visual components, or the story, but the fact that so much of the stuntwork is performed by Ngo and Phan. Evidently, the training period for both was incredibly short before filming began, yet everything they did looks impressive and utterly professional. Ngo possesses experience doing stuntwork, whereas Phan does not. In one of four behind the scenes features, Phan discusses how he joined Furie, the challenges he faced, and the process of training. Unlike Ngo who came to the project with training, Phan was utterly unschooled, arriving with a background in extreme sports only. In fact, a trip to Everest left him with permanent brain trauma, making it difficult to both learn dialogue and recite lines. Additionally, since he’d never acted before, a coach was brought in to help him learn how to be present and react naturally when in a scene. Ngo herself doesn’t receive a solo behind the scenes offering like Phan or Mai Cat Vi, but we do get some sense of what the project meant to her and the process of shooting through the collective featurettes. Most notably, a story is dished out through the course of the featurettes in which we learn that Ngo broke her leg during a stunt yet kept filming. When Tom Cruise broke his ankle filming Mission: Impossible – Fallout, audiences clamored to see the footage and glorified his work ethic. No one’s going to call that into question, especially since you can see the moment happen within the film, but Ngo broke her leg and kept shooting. This speaks to the level of focus and dedication to her craft.
Beyond the featurettes, the home release includes the usual previews for other upcoming Well Go USA home releases —Shadow, Triple Threat, and Master Z: Ip Man Legacy — and the theatrical trailer for Furie. Anyone looking for a commentary track will be sorely disappointed, but at least they have the featurettes, which offer plenty of information on the creation of Furie. In total, the four featurettes run between 3-4 minutes a piece, but what they reveal about the process of filming, the dedication of the actors, and the talent behind the stunts and direction makes you wish each one was longer.
Whether you saw Furie during its theatrical run or you’re coming to it on home video, the chance to revisit Furie is a treat. Unlike a lot of action films which rely on machismo to carry the moments between fights, Furie’s quiet moments serve to push the narrative forward in occasionally heartbreaking ways. But that’s not why you’ll come to a movie like Furie. You’re coming to watch people get their butts whooped and you’ll get that in spades. From the lengthy chase after Mai’s kidnapping which moves from a foot chase to a boat to a motorcycle all the way to the near-climatic train sequence, there’s not a fight scene which won’t incite an audible reaction. Get ready for some truly delicious beatdowns and beware her fury.
Available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and digital beginning July 2nd, 2019.
- “Difficult Actions Scenes” featurette
- “French Action Team” featurette
- “Hai Phuong’s Daughter Mai” featurette
- “Police Officer Phan Thanh Nhien” featurette
- Furie trailer