Hulu’s new subversive princess movie, the R-rated action movie The Princess, dropped on Hulu this past Friday. Quickly (and accurately) described as “Rapunzel meets The Raid,” it’s a very different, physically demanding role for its star Joey King, who shared with Polygon that she performed about “85 to 90%” of what you see in the movie.
The Princess is directed by Le-Van Kiet and co-stars Veronica Ngô, who plays the mentor to Joey’s princess character, training her in the art of swordfighting. But back in 2019, Kiet and Ngô teamed up for one of the best martial arts movies in recent memory: the smash-hit Vietnamese revenge thriller Furie. If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s no better time than the present.
Furie is a clever inversion of the well-worn “dangerous person gets their child kidnapped and has to resort to their old ways” revenge story. But instead of it being a dad who used to be in some special forces unit (think all the post-Taken Liam Neeson projects), Furie is about a mother (Ngô), named Hai Phuong, who is a former gangster. Now living a quiet life in a small rural area, Hai Phuong has to use her old skills and connections to rescue her daughter after she is suddenly kidnapped.
Furie is absolutely chock-full of terrific fight scenes, like the opening scene above in an outdoor food market. Kiet effectively uses the settings to amplify the choreography, and the movie oozes with color in both interior and exterior settings (there is another thrilling fight scene later on in a neon-soaked house).
But as capable and engaging as Kiet’s direction is, it is Ngô who steals the show and makes the movie what it is. A terrific screenfighter who is able to communicate her desperation, rage, and skills both through her fighting and in the quieter scenes, it’s the kind of star-making role that should precede a long career as an action lead. And as Kiet will tell you, Ngô comes by that fighting skill honestly.
“You don’t want to get into a bar brawl with Veronica,” he said to Polygon. “I’ve seen her in action. [She’ll be] in the middle of a take where her knuckles have busted and be like Nah, that’s nothing.”
Furie was a huge hit in Vietnam, breaking the record for the highest-grossing Vietnamese film ever. When it dropped on Netflix a few months after its domestic release, that audience exploded into a vibrant international group of action fans, Kiet told Polygon.
“It just speaks to the power of streaming these days,” he said. “People are willing to watch something that has subtitles, and it still resonates with them.”
If you haven’t watched Furie yet, what are you waiting for?
Furie is available to stream on FuboTV and Hi-Yah!. It is also available for digital rental and purchase on VOD vendors like Apple, Vudu, and Google Play, or for free with ads (but without subtitles) on Plex.