FURIE, Don't Make a Vietnamese Mother Mad
By Peter Martin, screenanarchy.com
October 8, 2019
"My mom is cool. She can do anything." She is fast and she is furious. Yet she is also polite.
Filled with sufficient action scenes ... the touching dramatic scenes add welcome weight to the narrative. -- ScreenAnarchy
When a little girl is kidnapped by a trafficking ring, they soon find they messed with the wrong child. Her mother, a notorious former gang leader, is close on their trail and will go to any lengths to bring her child home.
Now a debt collector in rural Vietnam, Hai Phoung (Veronica Ngo Thanh Van, The Rebel, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) left behind her life as a club enforcer in Saigon to raise her daughter. As a single mother, she is still made to feel ashamed by local residents and, indeed, she herself feels ashamed and remorseful about her former course of life.
Neither does Phoung feel good about her current life as a debt collector, but she needs to provide for her 9-year-old daughter and she has few options. She loves her little girl dearly, and has taught her to walk a straight path, which means her own daughter questions why her mother is working as a debt collector.
For all her strict mothership, Phoung is still loving and gentle toward her daughter, but a misunderstanding at the local market leads to the little girl running away. That leaves her prey to a criminal gang, who kidnap her, even as Phoung is searching for her.
Phoung's desperate search grows in intensity when she learns that the gang is not out for revenge against her as a debt collector, or for her past actions as a quasi-gangster, but instead because they are in the business of kidnapping children and selling them for their organs. With the clock ticking before the young girl is shipped out of the country, Phoung must head to Saigon, confront her own criminal past, and rescue her daughter.
Often brutal but rarely explicit in its bloodshed or violence, Furie is driven almost entirely by Ngo's performance. She is a mother who is well aware of her past mistakes, and regrets them fully, but she definitely puts the welfare of her child above everything else. That motivates her every action; she doesn't fight other men or women for glory or revenge, but will overcome any obstacle that is placed in her way so that she can save her child -- or die trying.
Summing up: Ngo is terrific. She makes it easy to overlook the limitations of sometimes dodgy special effects and, no doubt, a limited shooting schedule.
The film is filled with sufficient action scenes to compensate, and the touching dramatic scenes add welcome weight to the narrative.
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