25th Jun2019

‘Furie’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Lê Bình, Pham Anh Khoa, Veronica Ngo, Thanh Nhien Phan, Kim Long Thach, Hoa Tran, Cat Vy | Written by Le-Van Kiet, Nguyen Truong Nhan | Directed by Le-Van Kiet

furie-art

Furie (Hai Phượng) is directed by Lê Văn Kiệt and stars Veronica Ngo as ex-gangster and debt collector Hai Phuong, whose daughter is suddenly kidnapped on the street by a group of criminals who are selling body parts on the black market. In order to find and save her daughter before she is lost forever, Hai Phuong falls back into the volatile and violent life she tried to leave behind. Resulting in a warpath of violence stopping at nothing to kill everyone who stands in her way.

The comparisons to John Wick for western audiences are going to come thick and fast, however, this isn’t just a “Vietnamese John Wick” it’s a distinctive different palette of filmmaking and performance. Firstly, Furie feels far more frantic and atmospheric compared to its western counterparts. It’s a far more visceral and emotionally impactful feature due to the film’s use of hand to hand combat and frenzied style of editing. The fight choreography and action direction from Kefi Abrikh and Yannick Ben are immensely constructed. It’s pulsating and wild with a sizeable hefty weight behind each and every punch and ultimately with that, you not only physically feel the gravitas of the situation that Hai Phuong is fighting against, but it convinces the audience that every fight could possibly be her last.

There isn’t a whole lot of backstory and depth afforded by the screenplay by writers Lê Văn Kiệt and Nguyen Truong Nhan for Hai Phuong, and the audience to connect to a substantially compelling level of engagement. That being said, the material that the audience is given, enigmatic and all, is sufficient with creating not only a mysticism wave for the main character but doesn’t falter in concerning what the film wants to be, and that is a relatively uncomplicated action film. Veronica Ngo is terrific as the titular character. The physicality Ngo brings in each and every action sequence is convincingly realistic, and when the film wants to delve into the very limited character backstory, she succeeds in evoking the characters emotional vulnerability with ease.

The edit serves the wild nature of the film with chaotic tension and furious emotional intensity. It’s not the level of pace you’ll find in a Paul Greengrass feature with cuts that last for seconds. It’s more restraint in that regard but it is no doubt extremely fast paced. In certain sequences, it’s a little muddy and in your face but overall it accentuates the material at hand with splendid tension.

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