‘Furies’ Review: Veronica Ngo’s Violence Fest Misses the Mark

furies review

Action movies are cathartic and satisfying, and they can get us excited as no other genre can. They are also hard to make, so it is interesting when some of them miss the mark in creating something exciting and entertaining. Coming in the same week as the last installment in the John Wick series is also quite bad timing. Because, with that movie fresh in our eyes, Veronica Ngo’s Furies feels like a film of great potential hindered by some weak creative decisions. The film arrives on Netflix this week.

Furies is a film directed by Veronica Ngo and stars Veronica Ngo, Dong Anh Quynh, Toc Tien, and Rima Thanh Vy. The film tells the story of Bi, a young woman who has fallen prey to the dark side of Saigon. There, while surviving as best she can on the street, she finds a new purpose thanks to a woman named Jacqueline, who will take her under her wing and teach her how to fight. A rampage of violence and destruction ensues against the men who use them as toys.

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Furies comes across as a very feminist film. We have a group of beautiful girls kicking ass and taking names, and there is basically nothing the rest of the characters can do to stop them. They are not the best of the best when it comes to being full-fleshed assassins, but they are indeed capable of wreaking a lot of havoc. Veronica Ngo knows exactly what she is doing with this premise, and she is trying to follow the steps of the Indonesian film industry after the brilliant success of the first raid movie.

However, the first Raid movie was such a success because, in the first place, it came out at a moment when there was nothing else like it. Watching the Raid for the first time back in 2011 was like visiting another universe. It was unbelievable that movies could be shot that way and that action sequences could be so well staged and visceral simultaneously. It was really a breakthrough for the entire action genre. Hollywood would follow with John Wick soon enough; the rest is history.


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Action films that don’t follow the same energy, techniques, and brilliance when it comes to choreography as done in those films always feel like they are going back in time. The age of the chaotic cutting fight sequence is gone. No one wants to see confusion when watching a fight scene on the movie screen. No one wants to be on the same boring road movies taken during the 2000s. However, imitation is not enough; you must always do something new and interesting to stand out.

This might be Furies biggest issue. The movie displays choreography, action doubles, stunt work, camera work, and visual effects. However, each of these elements feels like it was borrowed from other movies that have taken the path of the Raid. This is great. If you have to copy something, copy from the best, but there is the issue of execution here. Furies puts a lot of effort into executing its ideas but come up a bit short in the process.

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For example, when it comes to the fight sequences, which are the main dish of the movie, there is a lot of impressive camera work that allows you to see all the fights. They even make use of the robot arm camera that has found its way into so many music videos since Kendrick Lamar. This is fine, but then you see and feel that the choreography feels just like that, a dance these people perform in front of a camera. One of the great things about watching The Raid or John Wick is the intensity behind each movement. Furies fall short in this aspect.

It is just one small thing, but the consequences are quite big, and from the moment you feel that these people are actually fighting then, the entire movie becomes quite boring. If only the movie could have balanced things out by delivering great characters and a story, then this lack of intensity during the fights could have been dismissed, but that is not the case. Furies is filled with paper-thin characters and almost zero stories. Just a premise to make the fight sequences make sense, at least a bit.

Veronica Ngo, seems like quite a talented director, but to stand out, she needs to realize that action for action’s sake doesn’t make a movie. It would help if you had characters and a story to tell. Without these elements, the movie is just a b-roll for your stunt team. It is clear that Veronica Ngo intends to keep these movies going, so it would be amazing if she could step up in these aspects of her filmmaking. You can see that the potential is there, but she just needs a push and a bit more time and money to make it happen.

Ultimately, Furies is an interesting showcase of filmmaking from Vietnam. The stunt work and all the people involved in it are fantastic. The main cast also does a solid job, but they lack when it comes to delivering believable characters we can root for in a fight. With better writers and a bit more focus on the story then, the next couple of films from this team could be something to keep our eyes on. If not, then these movies will only serve the most hardcore fans of the genre. Those who only want to see punches and kicks thrown around without purpose.

SCORE: 6/10