Netflix Now: Furie (2019) - Reviewed

2019 has been a banner year for martial arts flicks. Of note, Avengement, Master Z: Ip Man Legacy, Shadow and Triple Threat were all good-to-great and now we can add Vietnamese actioner, Furie, to the list and like many of the aforementioned films, its now available on Netflix just waiting for you to discover it.
Starring Veronica Ngo (Roses sister Paige in The Last Jedi), Furie is a well travelled story that sticks in your mind long after the credits because of Ngos excellent central performance, gorgeous cinematography and incredible fight choreography. 
Playing like a Vietnamese Taken, the film follows Ngos ex-gangster Hai Phuong, whos now a single mother raising her daughter in a rural town outside of Saigon. Acting as an ass-kicking debt collector for a local business, Phuong pisses off the wrong people and it results in her daughter being kidnapped, to be sold and harvested for organs. 

What follows is a fairly standard narrative with the load being carried largely by Ngo and the filmmaking. Across the board, the lighting, fight choreography, editing and cinematography are so inspired. So much of the back half of the film looks like an Argento movie. Neon reds, blues, purples and greens drape over Ngo as she fights her way to the top of the crime ladder to retrieve her daughter. On top of that, the climax is phenomenal, to the point that your jaw will be on the floor by the final blow. 
Ngo, who has one of the most emotional moments in The Last Jedi, gets to show off her range all over this movie. Fueled by rage, shes sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious but always an empathetic presence. Too many movies like this have leads who are largely robotic as they rip their way through the gangs. Ngo gets beat up, a lot, but continuously pushed forward, bloodied and bruised. You feel for her every step of the way. 
The best aspect of the movie is that the guys are largely goons for Ngo to pummel into oblivion while the gang leader is almost a cyborg of a woman who beats Ngo to a pulp in their first meeting. Its really cool to see two women get to battle it out for a change. I know its not a new concept, particularly in martial arts, but in a dude-heavy year for action movies, this was a welcome change. 
If theres anything holding this back, aside from its basic plot, its the dialogue. A lot of the conversations, particularly ones including Phuongs daughter, Mai, are pretty bad. It could just be a bad translation but I suspect its probably the former. But in a film as fun and (pardon the pun) furious as Furie, dialogue is hardly what you come for. 
Warts and all, Furie is a blast. Personally, Ive been late to the martial arts game having only gotten deep into it in the last few years. It was so easy to immediately fall in love with guys like Scott Adkins or Iko Uwais or Tiger Chen. Veronica Ngo easily adds her name to that pantheon after kicking ass across Vietnam as she makes her way to her daughter. Furie lives and dies by its central performance and Ngo is a superstar. Netflix has a treasure trove of fun martial arts movies for you to discover and Furie should be high atop your list when youre ready to dive in.

-Brandon Streussnig