Close – review (Netflix)

Brief synopsis: Close protection operative, Sam Carlson (Noomi Rapace) is hired to protect wild child, billionaires daughter, Zoe Tanner (Sophie Nélisse) shortly after her father’s death. Zoe stands to inherit all of his company shares, much to the displeasure of his widow and second wife and Zoe’s estranged stepmother, Rima Hassine (Indira Varma).

With an impending deal on the horizon, Rima sends Zoe to stay in Morocco for safety. Whilst in Morocco a team of mercenaries try to kill her, forcing Sam to do all in her power to protect her from assailants and unsure where her enemies are coming from.

Is it any good?: It is not. It is not terrible, it is just not as good as it promises in the opening sequence. Rapace is a wonderfully watchable actor and really commands the screen with her looks that lean more toward handsome rather than pretty. Unfortunately, director and writer Vicky Jewson has too much going on to fashion a coherent story. Fun fact – her sister, Olivia, is in the opening, promising scene where she plays one of the petrified journalists that Rapace’s Sam protects.

Spoiler territory: Sam is in one of the more volatile African regions of the world travelling with a couple of journalists. The jeep they are in gets attacked and Sam kills all of the assailants that attack and get the journalist to safety.

Elsewhere, a bodyguard tells Zoe that she has to get ready. They are in the vast grounds of her family home where people have gathered for her father’s funereal surface. Sam has returned home and is ignoring various phone messages. She has received a message from a young woman that seems to bother her.

Rima, who had been working on a mining deal before her husband’s death, is dismayed to learn of a press leak regarding there deal. She goes to see Zoe and tells her the lawyers are waiting to read the will. Zoe is awarded all of her father’s shares much to Rima’s dismay. Rima has business to conduct in Morocco regarding the mining deal and insist that Zoe come with her. She is to be assigned a new bodyguard. Someone female so as she cannot sleep with them.

Sam is contacted for the job. She is to protect Zoe until they reach Morocco. After that Rima’s people will take over the protection detail. She is met off the plane by Conall (Eoin Macken). The two have a history together and share an uncomfortable conversation as they travel to meet Zoe.

Sam meets the bratty Zoe and has to accompany her to a nightclub where she is also forced to persuade an amorous admirer of Zoe to leave her alone. The next day, Sam flies with Zoe to a remote complex in Morocco. The home is a fortress and fortified with cameras and panic rooms. Sam insists that Sam stay the night even though she is told she can leave. Sam agrees to stay the night.

As night falls Sam wanders around the complex checking out the security room. Due to the house’s vast technological defences, there are very few security guards in attendance. During the night the cameras are disabled and the security shutters over-ridden, causing them to shut down. The house, which has explosive shells in the wall, disables most of the skeleton security.

Sam, who had noticed to shutters closing, managed to escape her room and goes to get Zoe. Zoe, who is locked in her room, is told to lay on the floor by Sam and wait for the shutters to re-open as she knows the men who are attacking the house are after Zoe. When the shutter opens, Zoe escapes and they both run.

They are picked up by a police officer. He turns out to be corrupt and as Sam tries to free them, Zoe shoots one of the police officers. The two women flee and hide out in Morocco. Zoe calls Rima but she only seems interested in Zoe’s actions effect on the company share price and her impending deal.

Sam goes to arrange for the two of them to get out of Morocco. Rima is trying to rescue her deal and is getting pressure from the mining company. She makes another call and has a cryptic conversation. Back with Sam and Zoe, Sam is disguising Zoe and tending to her wounded feet. Zoe asks her if she has any children. Sam lies telling her she does not.

Sam goes to see the damage done to the safe house. She wants Zoe found. Conall comes to meet Sam. She and Conall argue out of earshot of Zoe but Zoe does find out Sam has a daughter. Conall gets killed and two men come. One snatches Zoe the other wrestles with a handcuffed Sam. Sam manages to fight him off and kill him. Zoe is fighting not to get put in the back of a van much to the amusement of her captor. Sam catches up to them and kills him.

The two women go on the run again, Sam using the last of her money to buy a taxi. There go to see Rima but see one of the men who attack them meeting with her. The women follow him to a dock and Sam tries to gather some evidence. She is attacked by the man and kills him. She finds Rima’s computer password details on him and the two women head back to the safe house.

An increasingly nervous Rima is confronted by her business rival, Watt Li (Kevin Shen) and told to drop her bid. He indicates to her it would be in Zoe’s best interest if she pulled out of the deal. Back at the safe house, Zoe uses Rima’s password to access the computer and operate its defence systems. Rima is alerted to the password breach via her phone.

The women see cars approaching and suspect it is Rima, believing she has sent people after them. Rima takes a helicopter to the safe house and is confronted by one of the mercenaries. Zoe and Sam watch as the mercenary put a beatdown on her. Zoe leaves the room and goes to help her locking Sam in. Sam remembers the password to the room and gets out in time to stop Zoe from getting shot. She kills the attacker and Rima’s people take everyone else. The end.

Close is a slightly disappointing film because of the good elements in it. The acting is good from all concerned, even from the Moroccan/African bit parters who are only required to play up to stereotypes. The action scenes are quite good and not so farfetched as to be unbelievable. Like I said at the beginning, Rapace is always watchable. Even in the godawful Prometheus, she was compelling.

Jewson’s direction is good and, in parts, the script is not bad but the story is just too muddy. One has very little idea what the stakes are or who the real protagonist is. Shen’s Watt Li is in the film for only two scenes so his veiled threat towards Zoe carries very little weight.

At ninety-four minutes long, Close is, for the story, it is trying to fashion, a little too short. With the multiple strands and backstory it had going on there was no sense of an overriding central premise. Yes, everyone is trying to kill Zoe but why? As it turned out not to be Rima, Li wanting her dead made no sense in terms of story.

Close scores a paltry five-point seven on IMDB which is probably about right. Unless you are a massive fan of Rapace, you should probably give this one a miss. disappointing.

6 Underground – review (Netflix)

A tech billionaire (Ryan Reynolds) decides to fake his death and assembles a team, all of whom are believed to be dead, to combat tyrants who are above the law. Using his vast resources, he recruits five people to join him. He insists that they all address one another by numbers to maintain anonymity. He is to be known as One.

When on a mission in Italy Six (Dave Franco) is killed during a car chase. One is forced to recruit another to the group, Seven (Corey Hawkins). He prevents Seven from committing suicide and persuades him to join his cause. After attending his own funeral, Seven meets the other members of the group. Two (Mélanie Laurent) is an ex-CIA operative. Three (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) a former hitman. Four (Ben Hardy) a thief and parkour athlete and Five (Adria Arjona), a doctor.

In One’s former life, he had visited Turgistan on a peace mission. A blasé One moves around the mission barely listening to the missionaries as they tell him about the problems they face, telling his assistant to write a cheque. When the mission gets targeted by military jets dropping gas on the camp. One decides to go after the man who is responsible, dictator Rovach Alimov (Lior Raz).

Four years later, with the crew assembled, One plans to replace Rovach with his estranged brother, Murat (Payman Maadi), who has a more utopian outlook for his country and, in One’s estimation, would be a more benevolent leader.

6 Underground seems to be director, Michael ‘blow it up!’ Bay’s version of the eighties George Peppard/Mister T television classic, The A-Team. Written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, 6 Underground is two-plus hours of noisy hokum, Bay style. All of Bay’s signatures are used: teal and orange – check. Hero shot – check. Ludicrous car chase – check. Loud explosions – check. A bewildering amount of edits – check. It is all there on the screen in a film that is style over the very little substance the film has.

Make no mistake this film is as bad as that other ensemble piece of some years back, 2010’s The Losers, 6 Underground is light on plot or believability. Not that that is a problem necessarily in an action, shoot-em-up flick such as this is but one really does not care about anyone or anything in the film.

Ryan Reynolds channels his best Ryan Reynolds, quipping his way through proceedings and wearing his Chuck Norris beard well. Hawkins’ Seven is introduced to try and give the film some heart and somebody to care about. It partly works but the overall premise of them being ‘ghost’, having faked their deaths to join Reynolds’ One on his mission, is horribly weak.

None of the group seems to have a compelling reason to leave all they know behind and go gung-ho on ‘bad’ people whom One identifies as needing to be taken down a peg. One’s reasoning for deciding to create the band of mercenaries seems to be more of a Batman fantasy rather than a noble venture. He simply had run out of things to spend his billions on.

The acting is fine, such as it is. Not that it is really required, the dialogue, some of which is particularly woeful, is only there to link action scenes. Unfortunately, it does not do so with any of the panache of the John Wick films that similarly prioritise action over talking.

Raz’s Rovach is pure pantomime villain, killing his would-be generals in one scene because they were the ones who stood to gain the most from the removal of his original generals after they had been killed by One and his crew. Maadi’s Murat is probably the best character, bringing some levity and fearfulness to proceedings.

6 Underground is not for the squeamish. It is extremely violent, with blood in abundance, exploding and severed heads and limbs and brutal beatings handed out liberally throughout the film. The frenetic nature of the editing and the slightly over-lit picture does at times make it difficult to understand what is going on or who is chasing whom.

With an estimated budget of one hundred and fifty million dollars and a runtime of some two hours and nine minutes, 6 Underground is an expensive waste of talent. It is at least twenty minutes to a half-hour too long, the story is not at all compelling and it takes too long to get going, the first hour taken up with a very patchy backstory and a twenty-minute chase sequence just to kill off – the luckiest actor in the whole film in Franco – Six.

6 Underground is aimed at people who like Michael Bay films, even the bad ones. If you like the Transformers series you will enjoy 6 Underground. It is not a film that is going to challenge the likes of the aforementioned John Wick films or Netflix’s other big offering for this Christmas season, The Irishman.

6 Underground is a passable two hour plus actioner if you are into that sort of thing. It is a leave the brain in neutral film and let it wash over you. If you expect or want anything cerebral, give it a miss.

Avengement – review (Netflix)

Brief synopsis: Cain Burgess is out for revenge after being set up by his older brother, Lincoln. Imprisoned after getting convicted of manslaughter whilst doing a job for his sibling, Cain finds his stretch in prison is a daily battle for survival after Lincoln puts a bounty on his head. When he gets granted permission to see his dying mother, Cain escapes and goes after those who betrayed him.

Is it any good?: from a film purist point of view, not really. Starring Scott Adkins—the budget, accent-free JCVD—it is good on action and moderate on acting. Having said that, as a bit of a fan of mister Adkins particular brand of teak-like performances and a lover of a good action film, Avengement is ninety minutes of brainless, fun, entertainment.

Spoiler territory: Cain Burgess(Scott Adkins), a resident of HMS Belmarsh prison, is allowed a temporary release to go and see his dying mother (Jane Thorne). A highly dangerous individual, he is accompanied by six police officers, but he is too late to see his mother who dies before he can see her. Cain escapes from his escort.

He heads to a pub, the Horse and Jockey. Quickly overpowering a couple of security guards at the entrance, he goes in and sits at the bar. The barmaid, Bez (Kierston Wareing), serves him a beer. In the bar, a small group of men are talking business. Mo (Leo Gregory) is telling Vern (Beau Fowler) about the precautions that Hyde (Nick Moran), taking instruction from Lincoln (Craig Fairbrass), has implemented.

Mo asks him if he did not hear about the incident where Rook (Daniel Adegboyega) not only got his hand cut off but ended up dead? Vern just wants to keep doing business. Mo calls to Tune (Thomas Turgoose), who witnessed the incident with Rook. Tune begins to recount the story. He tells how Rook went to confront a mysterious figure that was watching them.

He saw that Rook got his hand cut off and went to help him. Tune says he could not catch the guy because he ran off scared. Cain, who had been listening from his perch at the bar, starts laughing. Tune takes offence. What is he laughing at? Cain accuses him of spinning a bit of a yarn. He recounts what actually happened.

He actually killed Rook and Tune ran off, scared witless. The two door security comes bursting in. Cain gives them a bit of a beating and pulls a shotgun from his coat. He tells everyone to back up. Hyde comes down from the upstairs office wanting to know what all the commotion is. He sees the gun-wielding Cain.

I’ll be leaving soon…

One of the security tries to disarm Cain and gets shot in the leg for his troubles. Cain tells the rest of them to put their mobile phones into a pickled egg jar. The security man is still screaming. Cain knocks him unconscious. Mo tells Hyde that Cain says he killed Rook. Hyde recalls Tune claiming to have chased the assailant away. Is Cain lying then? Tune hesitantly claims that he is.

Cain pulls a bag from his pocket and throws it on the table. He tells Tune to open it. The bag has Rook’s severed hand is in it, verifying Cain’s story. Hyde, cool in the face of Cain’s anger, goads him a little, asking him if prison had turned into a killer. Cain hits him with the butt of the gun. He tells him to get his phone out and call Lincoln. Hyde does as he is told.

Cain, his teeth aluminium and face scarred from many a battle in prison, recounts to the group, how he came to be so battle-hardened. A fighter by trade, he displeased not only his brother Lincoln, but also Hyde, Rook and Lincoln’s accountant, Stokes (Terence Maynard).

A fight he was in, lost them all a great deal of money because he refused to throw it. Cain goes to see his brother nonetheless, telling him he wants to buy a gym and asking him to loan him the money.

Lincoln tells him that he does not lend money to family as it is bad for business. Cain insists he can make his venture work. Lincoln says he will let him have the money if he does an easy job for him. Cain agrees. He is to go and see Hyde. Hyde tells him he is to follow a woman, Mabel Lidell (Teresa Mahoney), who Hyde is going to give a bag to. He is to grab the bag off of her.

Cain takes the job. He grabs the bag off of Mabel but she chases after him. In the chase, she gets hit by a car and killed. Cain is sent to HMS Belmarsh prison for manslaughter. From the time he gets there, he finds that he is a target, getting attacked on the first day, stabbed and having his jaw broken and teeth knocked out.

Cain’s mother comes to see him in prison. He asks her to tell Lincoln to come and see him. He continues to get set upon in prison. The prison counsel extends his sentence after each altercation.

Whilst fighting in the prison yard one day, beating the granny out of several prisoners, one of the defeated prisoners tells him that he has a bounty of twenty grand on his head which why everyone is trying to kill him. The bounty had been put up by his brother.

In the prison, they kept coming for him and Cain kept fighting. He got scalded, stabbed, punched and kicked. His sentence was extended again. Cain’s mother comes to visit him again. She tells him she has cancer and is dying. Then he was allowed to go and visit her, he escaped.

Why do you people keep trying to hit me?!

Cain keeps recounting his story. He tells them about how he heard about his brother’s entrapment business through detective O’Hara (Louis Mandylor) and how his brother had ripped off one hundred and fifty families. Cain, at that time, did not know anything about his brother’s business. O’Hara’s partner, Evans (Ross O’Hennessy), has a different approach to getting information.

He beats Cain up. Back in the pub, Lincoln arrives at the pub. Cain confronts him about the bounty. Lincoln tells him that he had to do it because he was talking too much. Cain tells him that he did not say a word, Lincoln tells him that his man on the inside, Evans, told him differently. Cain tells him that Evans was not to be trusted.

Lincoln wants to call Evans. Cain tells him that will be a little difficult. He is dead. He killed him. Lincoln tries to talk Cain around. Hyde, who is on the floor kneeling in front of him, goads him. Cain blows his head off. Cain tells Lincoln that he went to see his accountant and had all his money transferred to the families he ripped off. He told Stokes to leave town.

Cain is at a stand-off. Lincoln tells him he is going to die in the pub. Cain tells him he only wants to kill him. Bez hits Cain with a bottle and the men in the bar attack. Lincoln stays back, sending the rest to take a beat down from the relentless Cain. When only Cain is left standing, Lincoln points the dropped shotgun at him. He pulls the trigger.

The gun is not loaded. Bez gives Lincoln a knife and he tries to stab Cain. Cain overpowers him and kills him. Cain apologises to Bez for messing up the bar and leaves. The end.

Avengement is rip-roaring fun. As is always the case with Adkins’ movies, it is all about the fighting and the fighting is great. The story is engaging enough and makes for a nice vehicle, especially by putting Adkins’ Cain in a situation where he is literally required to fight all of the time.

Written by Jesse V Johnson and Stu Small, with Johnson also on directing duties, Avengement zips through its runtime. Heavily influenced by Guy Ritchie in its styling and even mimicking his writing style, Avengement is a respectful homage, leaning toward flattery rather than awkward replication.

Johnson, who has directed a couple of other films I have reviewed—Triple Threat and The Debt Collectorthat have featured the ever-prolific Adkins, shows a real flair for directing action with the fight scenes looking fast, fluid and brutal, whilst still showing what is actually happening, action-wise.

As I have mentioned before, Adkins is not at his strongest as a thespian. That being said, he is highly watchable and if you give him enough things and people to hit and kick, he is worth your subscription money. He is surrounded by enough talent and is adept enough at film to work with his limitations.

Fairbrass, who back in the nineties made a bit of a name for himself, inhabits the role of the antagonist perfectly, physically imposing enough to create fear and mature enough to scowl convincingly. Moran as the snarky Hyde, adds to the Ritchie vibe, having made his name in Ritchie’s breakout film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

If you like action films and do not want to have to think too much about the plot, Avengement is a ninety-minute blast.

Expo – review (Netflix)

Brief Synopsis:

Richard Evans, an ex-soldier and part-time chauffeur, is accused of kidnapping a client’s, Mr Smith’s daughter. As well as having to look after his sister, Sarah, he must prove his innocence by retrieving Mr Smith’s daughter.

He also wants to take down a local drug ring. A detective, Moro, is determined to pin the kidnapping on Evans. It becomes personal when his sister gets snatched.

Is it any good?

Good god, no! Expo is worst than Alien Warfare. It is badly written, badly directed, badly edited, the acting is atrocious and the action scenes—ha!—are laughable. There is nothing good about this film. I am writing the review as I watch it otherwise I could not finish it. Onto the review proper.

Spoiler Territory:

Ex-soldier Richard Evans (Derek Davenport) makes ends meet as a chauffeur, picking up rich clients and their charges. He is given a job to pick up Mr Smith (Tim Davis).

Evans looks after his younger sister, Sarah (Amelia Haberman), their parents died some years prior. Sarah wakes up late and asks her brother to take her to school. He tells her he does not have the time. She leaves the flat.

Caden (Shepsut Wilson), Evans’ girlfriend and neighbour, meets him as he is leaving. She tells him she took Sarah to school. Evans goes to see his friend, Majeed (Titus Covington), a local drug dealer.

Titus tells him he can make more money working with him. Evans declines the invitation. He gets a call from his employers, Mr Smith wants him to pick up his daughter, Lyla (Hayley Vrana) from violin practice.

He gets a call from his sister. She wants him to pick her up. At first, he refuses, but after she pleads with him for a bit, he agrees to pick her up. Whilst Evans picks up his sister, Lyla gets kidnapped. Evans arrives late to pick Lyla up and finds her violin. She is gone.

Majeed goes to see a friend. The friend tells him he can make more money selling women and it is less dangerous. Majeed declines. Evans goes to the police but the detective, Moro (Michael Alvarez) believes that he is the most likely suspect. Evans leaves.

Caden comes over to see Evans, the two planning to have a pleasant evening in. They argue because Evans wants to go looking for Lyla himself. Caden thinks it is a bad idea. After they have gone to bed, there is a knock on the door. Evans is arrested. Moro is convinced he kidnapped the girl.

Evans’ lawyer, David Peele (Eric Lettman) comes to the station and get him released. Evans returns home. Sarah goes to stay at Caden’s. Evans remembers being taken in by Majeed when he and Sarah were on the streets. He remembers clashing with Majeed over Majeed’s dubious earning choices.

Evans goes to see Majeed. Majeed tells him he is thinking of expanding his business and shows Evans a webcam, telling him that he going to start kidnapping girls. Evans freaks out, hitting him. He leaves Majeed’s place.

Chris (Richard Lippert) is auctioning girls over the web. Evans shows Caden what he is accused of being involved in by showing her the webcam. He goes to see a drug dealer, Javier Diaz (Alfonzo Lopez) and gets beat up when he asks about the dealer’s suppler.

Caden gets a friend to patch Evans up. Evans calls an old friend. A doctor, Dr Ekon (Richard Ryan). He asks for a clandestine drug. He is told he cannot it get unless he is returning to service.

Evans tells the doctor that he needs it to save a girl. He remembers how taking too much of the drug almost killed him. The next day, the doctor brings him the pills. The pills make him stronger and given to violent impulses.

Evans goes to a local store and is buying some milk. As he goes to get the milk, Javier comes in to rob the store. Evans beats him up and gets the name of the drug dealer, Carlos Ricardo (Humberto Roman). He breaks Javier’s arm. Chris, who has Lyla captive, is torturing her psychologically.

Detective Moro sees Evans loading a bulletproof vest into his car. He still believes that Evans is the man he should be pursuing even after seeing the same dark web video that Evans showed Caden. Moro warns Evans.

Evans leaves Caden and Sarah alone as he goes to try and find Lyla. He goes to find Carlos Ricardo. He confronts Carlos in his house, telling him he just wants to talk. Carlos is not interested and has his henchmen beat him up.

Evans, who had taken a pill, goes into a rage and batters the henchmen. He asks Carlos about the girls. Carlos tells him he is not talking. Evans stabs him in the leg with a pencil. Carlos tells him about Chris and gives him an address.

Two masked men break into Evans’ house and snatch Sarah, knocking Caden unconscious. A battered Evans returns home and is patched up again. He wakes up and asks about Sarah. Caden says that one of the men who took her had a broken arm.

Realising it is Javier, Evans goes and beats on him to find out where Sarah is. Javier tells Evans that she is going to get raped repeatedly. He beats him to death. He returns home. Caden comes over, not wanting to be on her own.

Caden rages at him for refusing to get help from the police. He kicks her out. Evans goes to see Majeed. He wants him to help him get the girl back. Chris streams another video. He tells his audience that he is not selling one girl but two, Sarah being the second girl.

Evans and Majeed sneak up on the address Evans got from Javier. Majeed knocks Evans unconscious. When he wakes up he finds himself tied to a chair. Mated tells him he did it for money and is in the trafficking business. Majeed is about to shoot him but Evans breaks his bonds and beats Majeed to death. He passes out again.

He wakes up at home, having been arrested and taken there by Moro. Moro tells him to stay home whilst he and his team go and try to get the girls back. Moro leaves. Caden persuades a despondent Evans to go and save Sarah.

Moro sees Evans as he goes to find Chris and tells him to stay back. Moro and his team sneak into the house. Chris’ henchmen see them coming and tell Chris. He tells them to distract the police as he takes the girls. Moro fights with one of the henchmen and is soundly beaten. As the henchman is about to kill him, Evans rescues him, beating the henchman.

Moro and Evans go looking for the girls. Chris shoots Evans and takes the girls to a van. Evans, who had been wearing a vest, goes after him. Lyla jumps out of the van, forcing Chris to stop and try to get her back.

A disorientated Evans points a gun at Chris. Chris slaps the gun out of his hand and knocks him to the ground. Sarah gets out of the van and beats Chris up. Evans shoots him in the head.

Mr Smith turns up. He has the same face as Chris. Chris was a clone. The whole, elaborate, story had been set up to get Evans back into military service, him getting a full pardon in exchange for his return to duty. The end.

Expo is awful. It is an absolute abomination of a film. Written and directed by Joseph Mbah, one can only hope someone tells him to stop. Stop making films. Jesus Christ! This film is terrible.

No part of the film is good. The acting is, without exception, terrible. The script is so bad that if they had improvised every scene it could not possibly have been worse.

Basics, such as framing, story, visual flow, discernible sound, are all missing. Shot selection is bad, the story makes no sense, the music is horrible, it is badly lit, badly edited and just an all-around mess. It is is not even bad enough to be entertaining.

The actors in this film are so uniformly woeful that I cannot actually single out an individual as particularly terrible. The real star or villain, however, is Mbah. He is listed as a writer, director and cinematographer. Charlatan should be added to that list.

Expo is a travesty of a film and Netflix needs to take a long hard look at themselves if they are going to keep asking people to pay for this sort of tripe. With the impending arrival of Disney plus and Apple TV, Netflix, with a head start on those two services, need to up their quality control.

Do not watch Expo. You’re welcome.

Triple Threat – review (Netflix)

Billionaire’s daughter, Xiao Xian (Celine Jade) is in Maha Jaya promising to use her inherited wealth to help bring down organised crime in China. In the jungle, a band of mercenaries, led by Devereaux (Michael Jai White) are tasked with freeing Collins (Scott Adkins), another mercenary for hire been held in an Indonesian military camp, hidden within a village.

Amongst the band of mercenaries, besides Devereaux’s close associate Joey (Michael Bisping), are Payu (Tony Jaa) and Long Fei (Tiger Hu Chen), two friends and local mercenaries for hire brought along for their knowledge of the region. They believe they are on a humanitarian mission to free fellow countrymen.

When the mercenaries attack the village, Jaka (Iwo Uwais), who lives in the village with his wife (Sile Zhang), is awoken by the gunfire. As bullets riddle every building and hut, she is killed, dying in his arms. Jaka goes out to try and confront the mercenaries but is beaten unconscious by one of them.

Devereaux and his men go to find Collins. Payu asks where the women and children are, Devereaux does not answer. They free Collins and leave. Jaka regains consciousness and finds everyone in his village dead and the homes burned to the ground.

Jaka wants revenge. After burying his wife and the other villagers, he goes to Maha Jaya. He finds Payu and Long Fei at an underground fight club. They are both excellent fighters and so gamble on their ability to earn some money.

Payu beats his opponent, helping Long Fei to win his bet. Jaka pays so he can fight Long Fei. He tells Long Fei who he is and says he wants to kill him. Long Fei beats him. Pays and Long Fei take him to their home and nurse him back to health.

We’re mercenaries! Hence the big guns and stuff…

They tell him that they did not know what the mission was and that they were double-crossed and left to die. Jaka makes his peace with them and encourages them to drink to show solidarity. They wake up the next day and he is gone. Jaka has informed the police of their whereabouts and both the men get arrested.

Collins, now in charge, is waiting, with his crew, for Xian to come out of an interview. Jaka calls him and tells him that Payu and Long Fei are alive and have been arrested. Collins and this crew try to kill Xian as she exits the interview. Xian’s bodyguard, Liang (Jennifer Qi Jun Yang) tells her to get to the police station.

Collins and his crew hit the police station, killing all of the officers as they look for Payu and Long Fei, not realising that Xian is also in the station. When they find out she is in the station, Payu and Long Fei help her to escape. Whilst in the station, Collins loses half of his crew, only Devereaux and Joey are left alive.

They chase Xian, Payu and Long Fei through the streets of Maha Jaya. A policeman stops Collins and Jaka disarms the policeman and knocks him unconscious, allowing himself to get closer to Collins and his crew. He tells Colins that he is after Payu and Long Fei.

Xian, Payu, and Long Fei manage to evade capture and lay low for the night. They come up with a plan. They will use Xian as bait to bring Collins and his crew out. Collins egress to meet with them. He does not plan to honour their agreement, instead, planning to kill them all.

Payu also has a plan. They meet at the appointed place and time. Payu takes out the extra men that Collins’ has hired to ambush them. A gunfight ensues. Jaka shows his true colours and ends up fighting Devereaux. Long Fei fights Joey. Payu and Collins have a running gun battle.

Jaka, who had been holding his own against the far bigger Devereaux, begins to take a beating. Joey and Long Fei keep fighting, Long Fei knocking him unconscious with a breeze block. He goes to help Jaka, who is being choked to death by Devereaux. Devereaux knocks Long Fei unconscious but Jaka kicks him on to a spike, killing him.

Collins and Payu are both out of bullets and begin to fight hand-to-hand. Jaka comes to help Payu. Collins holds his own against both of them. He hands out beatdown on both of them.

Collins goes to kill Xian. Long Fei, regaining consciousness, dives in front of the bullet. Payu comes back and hands Collins a beating. Collins pulls a knife, but Payu stabs him with it, plus his own dagger, killing him.

Joey comes back and grabs a gun, trying to kill all three of them. Xian shoots him dead. The police come, called by Jaka, and collect them. They arrest the person behind it all, Su Feng (Monica Siu-Kei Mok). The end.

Take that! And that!

Triple Threat is brilliant, entertaining, nonsense. With a couple A-list martial arts stars in Iwais and Jaa, and a couple of B-list stars in Jai White and Atkins, plus the semi-retired mixed martial arts star Bisping in the cast, this film was always going to be action first and story second, and so it proves.

With Jai White and Adkins in the roles of villains, roles that suit their limited acting abilities far more than leading man roles, both embrace their parts, along with a quite impressive Bisping, as snarling, mean mercenaries.

The story is so convoluted and silly, with Adkins’ Collins only being imprisoned in the middle of a village so as Jaa’s wife can get killed; a whole village died for a plot point.

Iwais’ Payu and Chen’s Long Fei are not perturbed by their mercenary friends mowing down an entire village to apparently free a few women and children and do not twig that something might be amiss until they find that they are only there for one person.

Not that they do anything about it. They would have been happy to carry on with their lives, lives that the same mercenary crew they had been an unwitting part of tried to end. Had it not been for Jaka, they would have probably just put it down to experience and hope to never accidentally run into them again.

Written by Joey O’Bryan, Fangjin Song and Paul Staheli, Triple Threat, as I have mentioned, is weak on story and cohesion. Directed by Jesse V Johnson however, it is big on action, as one would expect. The fight scenes are kinetic and with the talent on show, brilliantly fluid and inventive.

Adkins, who is always good value for money as long as there is fighting, has great fun spitting out his lines and snarling up the screen, whilst Jai White and Bisping, both big, physical units, bring a certain amount of menace.

For anyone into fighting or who has an appreciation of the martial arts, Iwais, Jaa, and Chen are a joy to watch, all three highly proficient in their chosen styles. At 97 minutes long, Triple Threat zips through its runtime, the action carrying the silly story easily.

If you enjoy a good actioner and can ignore the massive plot holes and silliness—these mercenaries, ex-soldiers, are possibly the worse shots in history, managing to miss their intended target from mere metres—Triple Threat is a blast for an entertaining 90+ minutes.

Point Blank – review (Netflix)

     With the conclusion of the MCU’s Infinity saga with April’s epic Avengers Endgame release and all of the characters – and actors who play them – taking a break, except for Spider-Man: Far From Home having Tom Holland reprising his role as Spider-Man/Peter Parker and Samuel L Jackson returning as Nick Fury. 

    The rest of the main players, with, once again, the exception of the omnipresent Jackson, have been doing other less celebrated projects. Without the juggernaut that is the MCU and because so many of the actors are now wedded to their famous super-powered personas, getting eyeballs on to their other films and projects is challenging. 

    Chris Hemsworth, brilliant as Thor in the MCU and a person whose personality transcends the screen in interviews and public appearances, has struggled to replicate or to even garner a percentage of the traction of his MCU appearances in any of the many films he has been involved in over the same period he has inhabited the role of the god of thunder. 

   Still, acting is the chosen profession of those lycra-clad guys and gals who have brought us so much joy in the MCU for the past decade and a bit, and as such, they probably chose the profession so as they could play various parts, inhabit different roles. No doubt, the success of the MCU has afforded many of them the luxury of being able to pick and choose their roles, perhaps even to experiment a little. 

   Two lesser lights of the MCU, Anthony Mackie, and Frank Grillo, who played Sam Wilson/Falcon and Brock Rumlow/Crossbones respectively in the MCU, come together for a Netflix film, Point Blank. Not to be mistaken for the Lee Marvin 1967 classic of the same name, Point Blank finds Mackie’s Paul, a nurse working in a local hospital, looking after a John Doe (Grillo) who has been admitted to the hospital after being hit by a car and shot. 

    Paul has a heavily pregnant wife, Taryn (Teyonah Parris), who he has left at home as he goes to work his late shift. As Paul goes to check on the John Doe, he gets attacked and the assailant takes his identification. When the police turn up, he finds out that the John Doe is the chief suspect in the murder of a member of the District Attorney’s office. 

   Lieutenant Regina Lewis (Marcia Gay Harden) wants to get the person who did it. The police know that whoever committed the crime took a bullet, but with the John Doe being unconscious they have to wait for him to come around. 

   Paul returns home and tells his wife he got attacked at work. He gets attacked and knocked unconscious. When he comes to, awoken by his mobile ringing, his wife has been taken. On the phone is the John Doe’s brother, Mateo (Christian Cooke). He tells Paul that If he wants to see his wife again he has to get his brother out of the hospital. 

    Paul breaks the brother out of the hospital, reviving him. The John Doe, who Paul finds out is named Abe, takes charge of their situation. He contacts his brother. Mateo is panicking having taken the heavily pregnant Taryn. Abe asks if he has the flash drive. He does. Mateo keeps receiving threatening texts from Big D (Markice Moore). The brothers owe Big D a lot of money. 

   Lewis finds out that Mateo has a flash drive that can end the careers of a lot of corrupt law enforcement. Abe trie to ditch Paul. Paul refuses to leave as he wants to get his wife back. They go to meet Mateo in a mall, but Abe realises it is a trap and they are forced to flee. 

    Mateo escapes with Taryn, Abe and Paul are still together. Paul gives Abe another shot of drugs to keep him going. They are attacked. Abe hands out a beat down on the guy and they steal a car. The woman they stole the car from reports it stolen and Lewis is in pursuit of them. They escape, helped by a homeless man who Paul had befriended. He gets them to Cheetah,  (Daniel R Hill), a pawnshop broker that Abe knows. A desperate Paul calls Lewis.

    Abe is trying to make a deal with Cheetah, Mateo is calling but Paul rejects the call. Outside, Lewis, along with Masterson (Boris McGiver), a colleague who was a former lover and helped to cover for her when the department was being investigated. there is another officer, Jones. They bust into Cheetah’s place, shooting.

    Lewis kills Cheetah and beats on Abe, asking him for the drive. He does not have it. Abe asks her if she is going to make his death look like a murder like she did with the DA. Masterson realises that Lewis is corrupt. She shoots Masterson. They hear over the police radio that more units are coming. Lewis tells Jones to clear up whilst she stalls the police. 

    Paul grabs a gun that was left on the floor during the confusion and kills Jones. The two men escape again. One of Lewis’ dirty cops, Farmer (Adam G Simon) finds Mateo and Taryn. He kills Mateo and takes Taryn. Paul and Abe go to the warehouse and Mateo dies in Abe’s arms. 

   Abe goes to see Big D and tells him he can get his money and a lot more but he needs some help. Big D agrees to help him. Lewis, who has Paul’s wife, tells him to bring her the drive. Big D finds out where the wife is being held and Abe formulates a plan. They cause a commotion and get into the police building. 

     Lewis, realising that it is a ruse, returns to the precinct but is caught by Abe. Farmer attacks Taryn and Paul tries to stop him. Whilst Farmer is beating on him, Paul stabs him in the neck with a syringe. Taryn goes into labour. Abe tells Lewis he not only has the drive but he also has a tape of her killing Masterson in Cheetah’s shop. 

    Abe leaves and gives the tape to a local news crew. Paul delivers his baby. Lewis is found by the police and, seeing no other way out, raise the gun to kill herself and is killed by the officers. A year later and Taryn and Paul are celebrating the baby’s first birthday. Paul gets a message from Abe wishing the baby a happy birthday. Abe is driving along a long road. The end. 

     Point Blank, written by Adam G Simon and directed by Joe Lynch, is a pretty silly film made entertaining by the strength of the performances. The central three of Mackie, Grillo, and Harden, commit to their characters enough to make the film’s flimsy premise work. Making the old flash drive, critical information ruse work in a time of cloud storage and rapid wifi transference is difficult one that they somehow pull off.  

    Lynch’s pacing of the film probably helps in this regard, moving through the eighty-minute runtime at such a pace, one barely has time to ponder the gaping plot holes. Truth be told, there is more a feeling of pace and urgency, rather than scenes of such. With Harden’s Lewis after the drive and Grillo’s Abe trying to keep himself and Paul alive, the pace is somewhat built-in. Though there are a few chase scenes and several fight scenes, they really do not take up much of the runtime. 

    Even with the lack of a cohesive story, Point Blank rumbles along nicely and is entertaining enough to waste eighty minutes on.  



The Debt Collector – review (Netflix)

     French (Scott Adkins) is struggling to keep his traditional martial arts dojo open. He has got very little money coming in and another, more profitable martial arts operator, Roger (David William Ho), is trying to buy him out. French is also behind on his rent and needs to make money fast. He asks a friend, Alex (Michael Paré), to get him some work. Alex tries to dissuade him from that path. French says he is alright with it. 

    Alex sends him to Tommy, a local collector. Tommy takes him on, pairing him with a long-time collector, Sue (Louis Mandylor). They do a few collections together and French proves to be an excellent asset.  Tommy calls them in for a special job.

    They all go and see Barbosa (Tony Todd), a mobster who lives a faux Hugh Hefner/Scarface life. He wants Tommy’s men to find and punish a man called Connor Mulligan (Jack Lowe). He tells Tommy that Connor stole money from him when working for him in at one of his clubs.

Tommy asks how badly does he want him beaten. Full treatment, a good beatdown. Barbosa also has a fiancee, Amanda (Rachel Brann) who has a thing for Connor, though she acts as if she could not care less. 

    Sue and French begin to do the rounds. They go and see various people who know Connor. All of them say the same thing; Connor is a really good guy and Barbosa is setting him up. One of the tips tells them to follow Amanda. She leads them to Connor. They are about to put a beating on him but are interrupted by his young daughter, Laine (Josie M Parker). 

    Connor explains that he fell in love with one of the girls who worked for Barbosa, the mother of Laine. Barbosa did not like it and took it out on the woman, beating her whilst she was pregnant. She died and Laine was born prematurely.

Conscience gets the better of French and he persuades Sue not to beat up Connor. They meet Amanda on the way out of the building and she tells them that Barbosa is setting them up and has sent men to kill Connor.

     French and Sue go back up to Connor’s apartment and save Connor. They take a couple of guns from Barbosa’s henchmen and a gunfight ensues. Sue gets killed during the gunfight. French also takes some shots but escapes the apartment. Tommy comes into the apartment. He tells Barbosa he knows he set them up and kills him. 

   French staggers bleeding to the car and tries to drive away. Connor and Laine, having got away, have dinner in another city. Laine asks if the cows have a good life before they become steaks. Connor tells her they do. The end. 

    The Debt Collectors is an okay actioner starring Scott Adkins. Adkins is not a very good actor. He is a great martial artist, which his sixty-plus film credits more than demonstrates. He is just not an actor. Not that that really matters. The action in The Debt Collector and pairing him with Mandylor ably hides his deficiencies. 

   Written by Jesse V Johnson and Stu Small, with Johnson also directing, there is a strange artistic choice of interspersing the film with scenes of cow rearing and farming and, towards the end, slaughter. It is supposed to, I suspect, mirror the story. Unfortunately, the film and story is simply too weak to accommodate oblique references. 

    The main story of the collectors being double-crossed by Barbosa, whilst good enough for the film, is not introduced until fifty minutes into the film. The film is only ninety-five minutes long. Before that story is introduced, the film is just a collection of fight scenes, the initial story, of French trying to raise money for his dojo and rent, forgotten. 

    The script is perfunctory rather than good or bad, moving the story from one fight scene to the next. There is a little character development, but not much. It really is not that kind of film. This is the kind of film where you just tell the actors ‘you’re a bad guy’ or ‘you’re a good guy’ and they work out the details on the fly. 

   For a director with fifty credits to his name, Johnson made some odd creative decisions. Besides the excessive cow love, he also put in an unnerving amount of fade to black scenes, which really did not go with the story or the character.

Fade to blacks are usually employed either at the end of a film or after a particularly emotional scene. I’ll give you one guess as to which of those two options was not employed in this film. 

    As much as I have pointed out the many flaws in The Debt Collector, it is a watchable and enjoyable film. If you are expecting high concept or story, you will be sorely disappointed. If you approach it with the intention of watching a film where a lot of people take an ass-whooping, you will probably enjoy it. 

     Though it is obviously no John Wick, The Debt Collector is an enjoyably silly romp for ninety-five, brainless, minutes. 

The Bar – review (Netflix)

    Elena (Bianca Suárez) is a beautiful young woman living in Madrid. She goes about her life, chatting on the phone to her friend as she explains what she has worn for a date she is on her way to. Sergio (Alejandro Awada) is enthusiastically telling someone about a great deal he has on some merchandise.

    A couple of police officer moves on a rogue sleeping, bible quoting, beggar, Israel (Jaime Ordóñez). He gives them an earful for their troubles. Trini (Carmen Michi) wants to purchases some fruit but only has a twenty euro note. She tells the fruit vendor to put it on her tab.  

    Elena keeps chatting but is cut off as her phone battery dies. She is in front of a small cafe/bar and goes in to try and see if she can get her phone charged. As she enters the bar all of the patrons turn to look at her. She is that kind of attractive. Elena goes and orders a coffee. A mesmerised Sátur (Secun de la Rosa), asks if she would like sugar. No saccharine.  

    Amparo (Terele Pávez) owns the bar and is not afraid to voice her displeasure as a fat man (Daniel Arribas) comes into the bar coughing loudly and pointing towards the toilet. Already in the bar, Andrés (Joaquin Climent), an ex-policeman, a tech and advertising worker, Nacho (Mario Casas), and an office worker (Diego Braguinsky). 

    As Sátur fusses over Elena at the bar, a street sweeper (Jordi Aguilar) comes in. Israel comes in and screams expletives. Shocking to those who do not know him, Amparo is unfazed and tells him to pipe down. Trini comes into the bar and goes straight to the slot machine. She stops to get some change from Amparo and then returns to the machine.

    Israel bothers Elena as Andrés tells Amparo that he should be in a shelter. The officer worker pays for his coffee. Sergio enters the bar and immediately orders a coffee. The office worker who has just exited is shot in the head. Everyone in the bar is shocked with the exception of Nacho, who is wearing headphones and does not notice the commotion.

    As they look out at the office worker dead on the ground, they notice that the streets are deserted. Sátur tries to call the police but cannot get a signal. Elena notices the office worker moving. He is alive. Everyone is too afraid to go out. The street sweeper decides to go out. He gets killed. 

   Everybody in the bar freaks out, convinced that a gunman is targeting the bar. They all hit the floor. There is silence outside, no movement or people at all. They turn on the television to see if there are any reports. Nothing. Trini notices that the bodies have gone. The seven captives start to get anxious. Andrés’ getting snappy, Israel’s bible quoting grating on him. 

   Sâtur puts forward a theory that they are all in a dream or the government is stress testing them. Amparo slaps the notion out of him. Literally. Sergio picks up the notion of a government conspiracy but says that maybe the police are after a terrorist, who is in the bar. It is better to kill eight people rather than risk thousands, he reasons.

    Nacho goes and tries to hide his bag. Sergio notices and he and Andrés grab him. they want to know what is in the bag. He refuses to say. They open the bag. It has his hard drive in it, with his campaign work. Elena smashes it. Nacho points out that Sergio has a briefcase. He too refuses to let anyone see the contents. Amparo grabs the case, Sergio moves toward her and Sátur grabs him. Sergio strikes Sátur. Andrés pulls out a gun. 

   Israel grabs the case and runs to the front door. He opens the case. It is full of women’s underwear.  A noise comes from the toilet, Amparo remembers the fat man is still in there. Andrés shoots the lock. The fat man is over the toilet bowl, shuddering. They think he is on drugs. 

   Trini sees a truck. Men in hazard suits and mask get out of the truck and pile tyres outside of the bar and set them on fire. On the news, broadcast says downtown Madrid have been evacuated due to fire. Sergio suspects that it is to cover up the murders. The fat man staggers out of the toilet. He looks awful, eyes bulging and pus oozing from scabs. He collapses to the floor. 

   As Elena goes to help him, he warns her not to touch him. He dies. Sátur checks his pulse, he’s dead. The fat man had a mobile phone. A photo of himself on the screen shows he was in the military. His phone has a signal. Nacho calls a girl at his office to try and get their situation on the news. Sátur screams down the phone in a panic and the girl hangs up. 

    Andrés says he knows who to call, but Amparo tells him not to touch the phone. It been infected by the dead man and possibly, so have Nacho, Sátur, Elena, Trini and Israel, all having come into contact with him. Andrés pulls his gun again. He, Sergio and Amparo separate from the others. Amparo tells them to go into the basement. They take the fat man’s corpse with them. 

   Trini begins to panic in the basement storeroom and wants to get out. As she acts out, she knocks over some drinks bottles. The liquid disappears quickly. Sátur tells them it has gone down the drain, the drain leads into the sewers. They uncover the drain and Israel tries to squeeze into the sewers. Whilst he is stuck in the drain, they hear shots from the bar. Then the hatch to the bar begins to smoke. The bar has been set on fire.

     As Elena, Nacho and Sátur struggle to get Israel out of the drain, Trini panics again and runs up to the hatch and burns her hands trying to get out. A little later they ascend to the bar. The bar is now a charred wreck. The fat man’s mobile buzzes in the bar. He has a message. They go through his messages. There is a possible cure for whatever ailment killed him. There is a vaccine but only four doses. Nacho has picked up Andrés’ gun.

    Sátur checks the fat man’s body. No syringes. Israel finds them in the toilet. He takes one dose, even as Nacho points the gun at him. Nacho attacks him and is overcome, Israel ending up with the gun. As they fight, the remaining doses fall down into the basement. Trini goes to retrieve them but ends up dropping them into the sewer. 

   Elena is the only one slim enough to fit down the drain. She squeezes into the sewers but refuses to send the syringes back up. She forces them all to come down. Nacho makes the hole bigger and they all squeeze into the sewers. Elena hides the syringes. Trini panics again. In the confusion, Nacho attacks Israel and they fight, disappearing below into the sewerage waters. Shots go off and Nacho reappears. 

    As they go through the tunnels, Trini tries to drown Sátur as there are only three doses. She says she was gambling on everyone thinking it was an accident. She tells Nacho to kill her, but he cannot. Trini takes the gun and shoots herself. They move on, following Elena to the place where she hid the syringes. She retrieves the syringes, one for each of them. 

   Israel is not dead. He kills Sátur. Nacho and Elena run. He pursues them. They find an exit to street level, but Elena drops her syringe. Israel is right behind them. Nacho give her his syringe as Israel grabs him and pulls them both into the sewers. Elena escapes on to the Madrid streets, traumatised by her experience. The end. 

     The Bar or El Bar in Spanish, is a brilliantly directed and edited film from Álex de la Iglesia, who also co-wrote it with Jorge Guerricaechevarría. From the director’s credit at the begin blending straight into Bianca Suárez’s Elena walking into shot to the final shots of her walking around dazed and confused, The Bar hurtles through its one hundred minute runtime. 

    After quickly introducing the main protagonists, in the first seven minutes, the event that launches the film, the first shooting, happens and it is a camera work masterclass in the set up. It happened so fast I actually had to rewind the scene. With the immediately heightened situation, the characters reveal themselves quickly. 

    All the actors on show are great, their performances allowing you to overlook the somewhat farfetched aspects of the premise – everyone knows to immediately disappear after the shooting? How? – that does not detract from the acting however. Though Elena is the easiest character to root for, it is Sátur who is the true moral compass of proceedings. 

   His character honestly wants everybody to be safe and well. The extreme situation they find themselves in, exposes the true character of all present. Even the seemingly crazy Israel, so fantastically portrayed by Jaime Ordóñez, wants to live and understands the gravity of their predicament. 

   The pace of the film is pretty relentless, with very little let up, with either a character acting up out of fear or a piece of information pushing the story into a new direction. The Bar is a highly enjoyable and well made film. If you can ignore the obvious plot holes and suspend disbelief, it is worth one hundred minutes of your time. 





Furie – review (Netflix)

   Hai Phuong (Veronica Ngo) is a single mother bringing up her daughter, Mai (Cat Vy) in a small village in Vietnam. She earns money as a debt collector for a local businesswoman, a variation on the same job she used to do when she lived in Saigon before falling pregnant with Mai. 

   The locals shun Phuong, disdainful of the way she earns money, and the kids at school bully Mai, ribbing her for being a child of a single parent and her mother being a debt collector. Mai tells her mother that she wants to start a fish farm and drop out of school. Phuong wants her daughter to get a good education. 

   A couple of old pearl earrings are the only thing Phuong has from her late father that is of any value. She and Mai go to Can Tho city and Phuong tries to sell the earrings whilst Mai hangs out in the market. Mai gets accused of trying to steal a purse. Phuong asks her if she stole the purse. Mai tells her mother she picked it up off of the ground. 

   The crowd insist she stole the purse and accuse Phuong of being a bad mother. They say Mai has probably stolen more items and that she should empty her pockets. Phuong, feeling pressured by the mob, tells Mai to empty her pockets. Mai refuses and runs off, going and sitting by the river. 

   Phuong decides not to sell the earrings. She goes looking for Mai and hears her shouting. She has been snatched by some men at the river. Phuong chases after the men who grabbed her, fighting her way through the market. As the boat with Mai goes down the river, Phuong follows the river and the boat on a stolen moped. 

    She finds the boat moored a few miles downriver and sees the men with Mai on a bus departing for Saigon. Phuong jumps in the back of cargo truck going to Saigon. She goes to the old club she used to work at and finds everything has changed in the decade since she left. Thanh Soi (Hoa Tran) is the big name in town and who Phuong needs to find.

   Phuong goes to the police but sees that they are not making much headway in finding the many missing children they have on their books, even though they are mounting a large operation headed up by Luong (Thanh Nhien Phan), a highly decorated and successful detective. 

    She gets the addresses of some of the people connected to the operation and goes snooping herself. She finds Truc (Pham Anh Khoa) and beats the location of Soi out of him. She goes to Soi’s hideout and fights her way to the boss woman. Soi easily best her, even making a phone call whilst doing so, knocking her unconscious and having her chained up and thrown into the river. 

    Luong finds her and takes her to the hospital. She says she has to leave, as she needs to save her daughter. Luong refuses and tells her she has to stay in the hospital. The nurse helps her to escape by pretending to be a hostage. Luong lets her go. Phuong goes to see her brother, he is not happy to see her and kicks her out. 

    Luong, who had followed her, asks her to find the railway carriage that the children are in, as she knows the carriage number having heard it whilst taking a beating from Soi. Phuong finds the train and jumps on it against Luong’s advise. She fights her way down to the carriage in which the children are being held. She fights Soi again and kills her but not before Soi had managed to have the train separate, the children holding carriage of the train going off on a different track. 

   Luong, who had jumped on the train behind Phuong, is on the section of the train without the children and sees the train separate. He calls for backup. Phuong finds Mai. Mai tells her that there are loads of others on the train. Waiting for the train are Soi’s henchmen. When the carriage stops, Phuong sneaks off of the train and beats up the henchmen. She is shot by one of them. As he is about to kill her, Luong turns up and shoots him. 

    The kidnap ring is broken and Phuong is proclaimed a hero in the press. The end. 

    Directed by Le-Van Kiet, Netflix’s Furie is an, above average, actioner by numbers. Veronica Ngo is compelling as the determined and fearless Phuong, fighting her way across Vietnam. With the great fight choreography and competent performances, Furie, for the most part, blazes through its near one hundred minute runtime. 

    The parent trying to recover their child has become quite a popular idea in film. Done many times, it probably found its peak in Liam Neeson’s Taken. Whereas before, a parent would get armed to the teeth and hunt down the kidnappers. Taken, though it had gunplay, had a whole lot of hand to hand combat. 

    Furie, going more old school, has very little gunplay. The martial arts are fluid and awe-inspiring the way good fight scenes are when done by high-level stunt people and lensed so as to see the action. The contrast between the village and city really works well, as does the chase scenes, giving a real sense of urgency when Phuong is chasing after her daughter. 

    This film is Ngo’s film. She drives the story and brings the emotion. Believable as the battling Phuong, she keeps your attention right up to the final frame. Furie is a nice actioner and worth a watch on a lazy afternoon.