The story starts with a rundown building filled with bloody, lifeless bodies of men, and a battered woman who appears to have been responsible for their deaths. Next, we get a visceral flashback of a young girl being sexually abused and how she fights back. The 2023 Netflix movie “Furies,” which is the streaming giant’s first original Taiwanese-language film, lives up to its angry-sounding name. It is all about blood and vengeance.
Directed by Veronica Ngo, who has co-written the script with Nha Uyen Ly Nguyen and Nguyen Truong Nhan, the movie follows a trio of young girls who are mentored by a mysterious woman to take down a criminal gang that thrives on drug trade and sexual trafficking, mostly of minor girls. So, “Furies” takes you on an adrenaline-fueled ride through the crowded streets of Ho Chi Minh, which is rife with turf wars between rival gangs and illegal trade.
Dong Anh Quynh plays the feisty primary protagonist Bi, an orphan and rape survivor who is rescued by Jacqueline (Veronica Ngo). Bi is then introduced to the serious Thanh (Toc Tien) and sassy Hong (Rima Than Vy), who dress like they might be in a retro girls-band but are trained assassins capable of making a gang of goons’ bleed. While their growing sisterhood doesn’t get a lot of space, it was still nice to see the brief bonding between three young women who are united by their traumatic past and strengthened in their will to fight injustice.
“Furies” incorporates many elements of older action films. It can be exaggerated and predictable in some parts, but I enjoyed watching the female protagonists kick and take down druggies and criminals. The actors all did a fantastic job in executing the fight sequences. The characters of Bi and Thanh share similarities, as they are both intense and brooding, while Hong is the fun one. They are like anguished Asian power-puff girls sans the super-powers and privileges of an innocent content childhood. Thuan Nguyen plays the villainous gangster nicknamed “Mad Dog” and is sleazily despicable despite his limited screen-time. He is coked-up, red-eyed and looks every bit an archetypal villain, the sorts who would sell his mom if the need arose.
The cinematography is snazzy, the fight sequences engaging and satisfactory. One extended bike-chase sequence was a little jarring, the special effects made it look like a video game and the creators should’ve shortened the case. Even the climax was a more long drawn than necessary. But those looking for an action flick with a lot of kicking and killing – “Furies” doesn’t disappoint.
It’s a 7 on 10 from me.
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