Producer: Ngo Thanh Van
Director: Le Van Kiet
Writer: Le Van Kiet, A Type Machine and Nguyen Truong Nhan
Stars: Ngo Thanh Van, Cat Vy, Phan Thanh Nhien, Thanh Hoa and Pham Anh Khoa
Studio: Well Go Pictures
There’s plenty of action but precious little plot in “Furie,” which might be described as a Vietnamese version of “Taken,” except that here it’s an angry mother who’s in pursuit of the kidnappers who have snatched her daughter.
Hai Phuong is played by Ngo Thanh Van, aka Veronica Ngo, who has had supporting roles in a few Hollywood blockbusters (most notably “The Last Jedi”) but seems more at home—in all respects—here. When we first meet her, she’s a debt collector in a rural Vietnamese town, raising a cute but sullen daughter named Mai (Cat Vy) on her own. She’s devoted to the girl, who obviously loves her mother despite the bullying she takes from schoolmates because of Hai Phuong’s unsavory occupation.
So when Mai is snatched in the street by a bunch of thugs, Hai Phuong not only trashes some of the abductors with expert martial-arts moves but grabs a motorcycle to pursue the rest; and when she sees her child stuffed into a van with other kids for transport to Saigon, she hitches a ride in a delivery truck to follow.
She’s not exactly unacquainted with the city: she used to head a gang there, but left when she got pregnant. Now she’s back with but one goal in mind: to rescue Mai who, she figures out from a visit to a police station, is one of the victims of a ring that traffics in human organs on the black market. A detective named Luong (Phan Than Nhien) is on the case, but she decides to go it alone—at least for the present.
What follows is a series of martial-arts episodes in Saigon as Hai Phuong follows clues that lead her to increasingly higher-ups in the trafficking operation. Though how she proceeds from level to level is not entirely clear, the action sequences are skillfully choreographed and shot (director Le Van Kiet is aided in these by action directors Yannick Ben, Anh Tuan Nguyen, Team X and fight choreographer Kefi Samuel Abrikh), and they certainly give Ngo ample opportunity to show off her battle prowess, though she’s not always victorious. Eventually she reconnects with Luong, and in collaboration with his squad arranges a final face-off with the baddies led by nasty villainess Nu Quai (Thanh Hoa) that leads—no spoiler here—to reunion with her daughter and, the end credits indicate, a new life.
The movie is technically adequate, but not much more. The grittiness of the opening section is replaced in the city scenes by a look drenched in colored lights and grime, and the editing (by Quyen Ngo) isn’t always tidy. The use of visual effects is sparing, and not always of the best quality, but overall the makers avoid an overly murky look.
“Furie” hardly breaks new ground: it’s just an unimaginative action flick, a “Taken” clone with a female protagonist. But Ngo is a strong heroine, and her kick-ass skill will make it a hit with genre fans.