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Furie (2019) – Hai Phuong (Review)

[This review was contributed by (AF).]

Furie is a powerful, emotional and action-packed film that is nominated for Best International Picture for the 92nd Academy Awards. It features Vovinam (a Vietnam style of martial arts) and highlights the growing epidemic of human and child trafficking set in Vietnam.

The daughter of gangster turned debt collector, Hai Phuong (Veronica is kidnapped by a well-organized gang operating in the organ harvesting black market. Phuong uses her fighting skills and pure determination to find her daughter Mai before she is lost in the system forever.

An old friend of Phuong, Detective Lương (Phan Thanh Nhiên) assists her in finding the root of the trafficking operation. He is a martial arts badass and aides her in infiltrating the operation plaguing the city of Saigon.

The visual and emotional story-line begins with our main character Hai living in the countryside. She has a reputation for violently collecting money and navigating single motherhood. As a result, her relationship with Mai is guilt-ridden and uncomfortable.

Fast forward to the kidnapping, Hai is led back into Saigon where she meets old acquaintances, estranged family, and enemies she fled 10 years earlier.

Hai eventually reflects on her poor choices and behavior causing an emotional breakthrough and evolution in her character development.

Visually the cinematography reflected Hai’s world and emotions by utilizing muted clothing, low lite buildings, narrow streets, and motorbikes. During the many excellent fight sequences, the human body was the main weapon. However, objects were creatively repurposed to disarm henchmen and cause serious damage.

What sets this movie apart from Taken, Equalizer or Rambo: Last Blood is the authenticity. Without the Hollywood glamour and frequent gun use, the fight choreography is on full display.

The gang operates logistics through basic communication in jeans and t-shirts. The kidnapping is set in Hai’s own country. Human trafficking is starting to gain global news, particularly in the southern Asian territories due to the demand for kidney transplants and brides.

Organizations lure or kidnap thousands of women and children from the northern border of Vietnam and smuggle them into China. This movie highlights one woman’s fight to find her daughter while so many fail. From Hai’s perspective, we see the emotional roller coaster. I would highly recommend watching this movie.

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