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Film / Furie

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"Never touch a tigress that's guarding her cubs. She will never forget that for the rest of her life."
Nguyen Chanh Truc

Furienote  is a 2019 martial arts film starring Ngô Thanh Vân.

In rural Cần Thơ town, Hai Phuong is a despised debt collector, hated by many of the residents while barely making enough to support her own daughter Mai. One day at the market, thieves steal her daughter and Hai launches into pursuit, unable to stop the thieves but managing to track them to Ho Chi Minh City.

There, Hai learns of an extensive organ selling criminal enterprise, promising a gruesome fate for Mai if she is not found in time. With the police being slow to mobilize, it's up to one lone mother to confront the gangs herself with only her fists and her ruthlessness to save her daughter.

The film was choreographed by action professionals who previously worked on the 2010s James Bond films and the Mission Impossible film series. It is the highest grossing Vietnamese film in history.


A spin-off was announced titled Thanh Sói: Pain Changes People, which will be a prequel centered on the rise of Furie's Big Bad.

Furie contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Whether Mai ends up building her fish farm is not discussed in the closing scenes. Without Hai's pearls, which were crushed by Thanh Sói, the two lack the money to open it, though it's possible that Hai's newfound fame might aid the two financially.
  • Action Mom: Hai is an ex-gangster and the movie follows her kicking all kinds of ass to save her daughter.
  • Animal Motifs: Hai is likened to a mother tiger, while Thanh Sói is called "Thanh Wolf".
  • Apathetic Citizens: While no one helping Hai Phuong fight off waves of attackers might be justified due to people not wanting to get involved in such a dangerous situation (especially for such an unpopular woman), it's still surprising that literally no one comes to her aid in any way. Less justified is that no one in a sleepy waterside village gives a second thought to a screaming child being dragged away by two criminal-looking men. Implied with the other passengers of the bus, given that it seems no one had any concerns about this group over the course of an hours long bus ride.
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  • Big Bad: Thanh Sói leads the gang that runs the southern Vietnamese organ trafficking ring, and is the toughest and most important opponent Hai faces off against in her rampage.
  • Bully Magnet: Mai hates going to school because the other children there bully her, targeting Mai because her mother is viewed as a menace to their own parents.
  • Cassandra Truth: At the market, Mai is accused of stealing a wallet. She insists she found it dropped, but everyone around accuses her of pickpocketing. Hai doesn't believe her, causing Mai to run off in tears, but it turns out she was being truthful, as the wallet been dropped by The Alcoholic.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Thanh Sói is completely unfazed by Hai breaking into her headquarters, giving phone instructions to her lackies in between fighting her.
  • Cigar-Fuse Lighting: In the end credits, a flashback of Hai in her days as a gangster shows her lighting the club fire that made her notorious this way.
  • Color Motif: The most common tint on fight scenes in Furie (and on the poster) is purple. It's the color of bruises, but in Vietnamese culture it can also symbolize tenderness and fragility. Hai Phuong also wears a purple áo bà ba for most of the film, rural garb that stands out in the city on top of the blood stains and tears it accumulates.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The end credits feature bios of the major characters of the film, giving their birth dates, full names, and a bit of extra backstory.
  • Dark Action Girl:
    • Thanh Sói, the head of the organ traffickers, and an absolute beast in battle. According to the end credits bios, she practices MMA.
    • Hai Phuong used to be one in her criminal days. While she's since retired to an otherwise more legal job, she's still feared by the local townspeople as a hard-hearted enforcer.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Hai Phuong used to be part of a gang herself, having run away from home and become an underworld lieutenant, until she left after she became pregnant with Mai. Among her deeds included setting a rival gang's club on fire.
  • Education Mama: Hai Phuong is adamant that Mai focus on her studies, wanting her daughter to do well in school so she can get a better career than being a debt collector. Mai, however, dislikes school because of the bullying there, and wants instead to provide for herself and her mom by opening a fish farm. Given Hai Phuong's Animal Motif, she's absolutely a "Tiger Mom."
  • Establishing Character Moment: Hai's first appearance has her beating the stuffing out of a poor begging man when he can't pay for his debts, immediately establishing her combat ability and mercilessness.
  • Evil Debt Collector: Hai starts the film as this. That said, she's just one enforcer at the mercy of the chief debt collector, barely out of poverty herself, and initially views it as the only way to provide for her daughter while Mai finishes her education.
  • Heel Realization: At her brother's home, Hai confesses all her fears and regrets that she's a terrible person who's just been making everyone's lives worse, and views saving Mai as her only chance for redemption.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: Thanh Sói is brought down by her own knife when Hai manages to take it from her during their fight and stab her a dozen times until she falls.
  • Kick the Dog: During their final fight on the train, Thanh Sói crushes the pouch containing Hai's pearls, losing her only possession of value that she was meaning to sell to help her daughter's dreams.
  • Mama Bear: Absolutely nothing will stand in the way of Hai reaching her daughter. Truc finds this out the hard way, and warns the cops of Hai by comparing her to mother tigers who will tear through all to protect their cubs.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Hai is noticeably slight compared to most of the men she fights, but she tends to get the upper hand with quick thinking, agility, and use of the environment. This is especially noticeable compared to Thanh Sói, who is much more muscular, and for most of the film tosses Hai around with little trouble if not for Hai continuing to get back up.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: Thanh Soi has dominated 99% of her fight time against Hai Phuong. But when Phuong gets her Heroic Second Wind in their final fight, Thanh Soi pulls out a knife... which is promptly used to stab its owner. Repeatedly. And then kicked into her neck.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If Thanh Sói had taken Hai seriously and not kept relaying instructions to her underlings over the phone, Hai wouldn't have overheard what train the gang was on and would have no way to track them down in time.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Hai leaps into view during the final fight, having somehow knocked out a mook who came inside the train but then immediately exited and snuck around to fight all the crooks who come to investigate.
  • The Oner: Hai's last fight is cut together as one long take of her beating up goons.
  • One-Woman Army: An international network of criminals that even the police are afraid to come near... and it meets its match in a single mother from a countryside village single-mindedly fixated on rescuing her daughter.
  • Only a Flesh Wound:
    • During Hai's fight with Truc, she gets stabbed near the shoulder with a screwdriver, but just pulls it out and keeps on fighting like normal for the rest of the film.
    • Downplayed with Hai getting shot in the climax. The bullet doesn't kill her, but she does pass out and only survives thanks to extensive medical aid.
  • Organ Theft: The fate awaiting Mai if she isn't rescued in time. It's even said the trucks transporting children from the gang's train have operating tables so the criminals can start cutting the kids open as fast as possible.
  • Police Are Useless: Hai takes matters into her own hands when it becomes clear to her the police are going to take their time in tracking the gang when Mai only has hours to live. Captain Luong tells her that their efforts have been slow because it's difficult to prove the gangs are trafficking children, and every time they try the criminals move their efforts and start again. Ultimately Hai's rampage tears a devastating hole in the gang's efforts, allowing the police to come in at the climax and pin all of them down at once.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Police Captain Luong. While initially he tries to deter Hai from pursuing the gang out of concern for her safety, he comes around to supporting her when he sees she's making real progress in thwarting their schemes and fights alongside her when boarding the criminals' train.
  • Reformed Criminal:
    • Hai herself, having once carried out hits for her gang and burned down rival establishments.
    • Truc was once a member of the organ trafficking gang but has since retired to his mechanic shop where his elderly mother lives with him. Hai breaks into his home after learning from police documents that he's connected to the gang, and after an extensive fight, gets him to tell her where the children are being held before they're loaded onto the gang's train.
  • Saw It in a Movie Once: When Hai needs to get out of the hospital and past the cops surrounding her room, Nurse Trang offers to help, saying she's got an idea from American movies.
  • Shooting Lessons From Your Parents:
    • Hai was taught how to fight using Vovinam by her parents when she was a child, skills she's been using in her adult life as a debt collector.
    • At the end, Mai asks her mother to teach her how to fight as well.
  • Trojan Prisoner: To escape from the cops, Trang pretends to be a hostage so Hai can hold her between herself and the cops as she makes her escape.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: When Hai fears the police are taking too long to investigate the case of her kidnapped daughter, she fakes a stomach ache so that the receptionist leaves to get her medicine, allowing Hai to search around the office and steal police notes on where the child thieves might be.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's not discussed what happened to the other children that Hai rescued from the gang's train, though presumably after the police arrived they were returned to their families.