“Never touch a tigress guarding her cub” is the sage piece of advice that Detective Luong (Phan Thanh Nhiên) receives in the Vietnamese action film Furie. It is a lesson that the audience learns early on when the butt kicking tigress in question, Hai Phuong (Veronica Ngo), sets out to save her abducted daughter Mai (Cát Vy).
Working as a debt collector in a small village, Phuong has garnered her fair share of enemies. The fact that she is a single mother with no clear history further fuels the gossip and taunts she and Mai endure from locals. Aside from those who see the wrong end of her foot when they attempt to stiff her on payment, few understand the true fire that burns within her meek demeanor.
Long before she got pregnant and opted for a quieter life, Phuong was a major player in the Saigon underworld. She fearlessly exerted her power over her foes and rejected family in favour of falling for the bad boy. It was a world she thought she had left behind until the unthinkable happens.
After getting into an argument with Mai one day, the young girl is kidnapped and taken to Saigon. With time being of the essence, and determined to rescue Mai by any means necessary, Phuong embarks on a journey that will take her back into a seedy underworld that now includes ties to an organ harvesting syndicates.
Similar to how Taken loosely incorporated the of topic sex trafficking to justify its action sequences, Furie does not delve too deeply into the child smuggling narrative. Director Lê Văn Kiệt merely uses it to establish numerous fight scenes that showcase Veronica Ngo’s wonderful martial art abilities.
Ngo provides each set piece with an exhilarating energy. Her fight scenes with central villain Thanh Soi (Trần Thanh Hoa), who is a bad ass woman in her own right, are some of the most memorable moments in the film. Most surprising of all is the emotional vulnerability that Ngo displays in key breaks in the action.
While the story could have been fleshed out in greater detail, characters randomly pick fights with Phuong before she even utters a word, one does not go into a film like Furie for plot. One goes for the action and there is plenty of it here. Kiệt shows that messing with the tigress can get one mauled.