The Vietnamese Female-Led Revenge Film, Furies, is now streaming, but should you give it a watch? Here’s our review of the new Netflix movie.
Anticipating the impending bloodlust for ultra-violent gun-fu films during the week of release for the much anticipated John Wick 4, Netflix smartly picked up the delayed Vietnamese action thriller Furies. It will bring it to the platform alongside JW4 this weekend.
A loose prequel to 2019’s Furie, the film brings the original’s star Veronica Ngo back in the fold with the expanded role as director, co-writer, producer, & one of the movie’s leading ladies.
Set in the brutal, neon-laced streets of 1990’s Saigon, Furies tells the story of three young women who have been saved from cruel & abusive backgrounds by their leader “Aunt Lin” and trained to be fierce and furious vigilantes on a bend to make the brutally sadistic crimelords pay for their tyrannical grip on their world.
The films stars relative newcomer Dong Anh Quynh as the de facto protagonist Bi, Singer/Model turned actress Toc Tien as Joan Jett-inspired gritty assassin Thanh, Rima Thanh Vy as the bubbly & optimistic Hong, Thuan Nguyen as “Big Four” leader Mad Dog Hai, and the aforementioned Veronica Ngo (The Old Guard, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Da 5 Bloods) as Jacqueline aka “Aunt Lin”.
From the very outset, director Ngo sets a tone of relentless savagery & sexual violence in a predominantly patriarchal society. The audience is led into the story from the perspective of Bi, a young child who is attacked & sexually assaulted by one of her prostitute mother’s regular clients. Following the tragic conclusion of that horrible ordeal, Bi runs off to Saigon, where more of the same abuse & criminality would be waiting for her on the streets in which she now lives.
After being saved & taken in by Jacqueline, Bi is quickly trained alongside her sisters in combat, Thanh & Hong, to help in Aunt Lin’s quest to rid Saigon of “The Big Four” crimelords in charge of sex trafficking, drugs, prostitution, & gambling.
While the story may be set in the 90s, the action choreography influences are definitely the 2010s. Inspired by films like the kick-ass 2011 Indonesian crime thriller The Raid or its many disciples such as John Wick, Netflix’s The Night Comes For Us, & Atomic Blonde, Furies takes up the phrenetic action pacing & close quarters fight scenes and executes them quite well. Fight choreographer Kefi Abrikh took his experience from working on the original Furie and his larger budget American films The 355 and The Princess to create quality practical martial arts compositions & believable gunplay.
Where the film truly does not hold up to its predecessors is with the low-budget, computer-generated effects. Poor matting behind motorcycle chases and borderline embarrassing explosions drop the film’s overall action acumen down from its elite aspirations.
With important messaging on sexual exploitation of women and abusive power dynamics in patriarchal settings, the film’s script should have been a strength alongside its athletic camera & kung fu. However, the story is too thin & too long, with dialogue that doesn’t inspire between kicks. Much of the feminist themes in the first half of the film don’t hold as the story dives headfirst into revenge plots and 3rd Act twists and, frankly, they weren’t well executed nor galvanizing to begin with. The finer points of the film and the script come much later than its audience would hope as it truly takes off with its final mission. But hey, we get to see a high heel knife through someone’s neck, so we take what we can get.
Overall, Furies impresses with its kinetic pacing, punching, & production, but the uninspired dialogue and stretched runtime hold the film back from reaching to the heights of its obvious influences. Netflix adds another watchable female-led actioner alongside recent releases Kate and Gunpowder Milkshake.
Watch Furies on Netflix If You Like
- John Wick
- Gunpowder Milkshake
- The Old Guard
- My Name
- The Night Comes For Us
MVP of Netflix’s Furies
Toc Tien as Thanh.
We always fall for the dark & brooding ones, right? Maybe it’s just me. However, in the case of this film, Toc Tien’s performance as Thanh holds the film together as the glue in a story that has a power vacuum at times. After Aunt Lin’s initial rescue, a lot of the training & leadership falls upon the shoulders of Thanh as the field commander and sister-in-arms. She is the “Leonardo” of this impressive trio of vigilantes as their “Splinter” was plotting her revenge.
PLAY, PAUSE, OR STOP?
To quote Playstation MC PaRappa The Rapper, “Chop, chop, kick, punch, block! We’re all in it together; you know we can’t stop.” Satiate your need for vengeance & high-level ultra-violence, but don’t expect the motivations to grab you.
Will you be watching Furies on Netflix or have you already watched it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.