Norwegian-Vietnamese superstar Veronica Ngô is back with a semi-prequel to her 2019 film “Furie” called “Furies.” The film, which is Netflix’s first Vietnamese original, takes place in 1990s Ho Chi Minh City, brought to life with noir lighting and crowded streets. It follows three young women assassins who have been trained by a maternal figure to take revenge on the four men who control the sex-slave scene in the city. Ngô presents us with female rage through dramatic violence, a fantastic soundtrack, and edits that might put “John Wick” to shame. There’s no holding back the gore, and the film is paced with action scene after action scene for the 2-hour running time. Even still, when it tries to build on its story, it slows down in momentum, leaving its audience slightly bored with its unremarkable plot.
Do you have to see “Furie” before seeing “Furies”? As someone who hasn’t seen the first film, we can positively say you can watch this one directly. The most common factor in the two films is female-led revenge and the defeat of atrocious bad guys who will do anything for money. What makes “Furies” amusing is the use of the soundtrack to build on the action sequences and the camerawork that follows each move like a video game, leaving us viewers in awe. All the actresses rain down impeccable kicks and blows making the action incredibly stimulating. Although some graphic abuse scenes could’ve been omitted, considering how many times the female revenge story has been depicted before, we’d say give this one a go if you’re into action-packed films such as the aforementioned “John Wick.” The plot is simple, as are the characters, making the film easy to follow and enjoy. It’s rather easy to root for the women when over-the-top villains covered in tattoos attired in grotesque luxury fashion are their enemies. They come off as rather comical at times, but given the nature of this film, it isn’t too jarring.
From the get-go, we get the idea that this film will go badly when the protagonist Bi tells us right at the start that she is destined for tragedy by name. There isn’t much time to deal with the emotions when Bi finally finds a family with the girls who help her become the powerful fighter she is because it is followed by a brutal rampage and massive blood splatters. An especially memorable scene is one that includes motorbikes and tremendously skinny alleyways, which is equal parts confusing and fascinating, giving off very green-screen vibes. Of course, to truly enjoy such a film, we recommend suspending your disbelief because these women are quite indestructible at times (as we can say about many leading men in action films). The neon lights and electric guitar definitely add to the impact of the CGI action scenes. Bi dons an iconic pink tracksuit as she comes into her new self, making it a cosplay-worthy outfit such as that of The Bride in “Kill Bill.” Martial arts and boxing combined with a lot of knives (no, we mean it; there are repeated scenes of characters picking up their weapons) are used in preposterous manners, leaving one wondering how one person can go through so much and stay on their feet. Just as in the first part, there is a woman-on-woman action sequence that pushes boundaries and incorporates incredible camera work and editing to have fun with, even if there are some liberties in the choreography, such as how many bullets a gun can have. Keeping that in mind, if the scene was a little bit shorter, it may have hit the mark a little better.
While tragedy is at the center of the film, it’s rather disappointing, with an ending that is just as tragic. For a film that moves like a game far from reality, it rather reveals a hard truth to swallow: whatever women do, they will continue to be mistreated and hunted by power-hungry men. This movie is by no means a social commentary, and even with its heavy subject matter, it is quite unserious about dissecting its subject matter, just presenting it as it is. The central female triumvirate is highly charged, and each girl brings a unique charm to the group. Ngô leaves the controls to her girls as she takes on the role of their leader and trainer, Jacqueline. The trauma these girls have suffered pushes them to be better assassins, rather than ruthless action figures, making them extremely deadly. Although the film follows Bi’s story, it would’ve been interesting to know a little more about the other two girls’ back stories to know more about their personalities.
In conclusion, this furious, nail-biting, nostalgic thriller definitely warrants a single watch. If you’re into merciless combat and despicable villains who deserve every bit of the violence that ensues, then this could be the perfect watch for you. We give “Furies” three on a scale of one to five punches. Leave your thinking-brain behind and enjoy the savagery.