DVD Review: ‘Furious’

Review by Tom Swift

Furious cost about one second’s worth of an X Men movie. See it and breathe free of all the bombast.
In the shadow of Comic Con, newly released, cult movie Furious from 1983 reminds us the meteoric ascent of the Kung-Fu genre of body blow storytelling.

In dramatic terms these days, action taking precedence over dialogue has replaced words over action. You used to build to an action sequence; now we maniacally build to moments of verbal self-belittlement.

Tune into a Turner Movie Classics sci-fi celebration, and you’ll find yourself asking: why are all those people talking and didn’t the producers realize that the sets and the action sequences were so cheesy? Twenty-first century movies have become CGI slug fests with apocalyptic breathers between the never ending, apocalyptic epic battles.

And these superhero movies have the audacity to seem more “real” than any moment of Furious. And that’s a good thing somehow.

Because let’s be honest: when Tony Stark goes into another self-aggrandinzing lament, don’t your eyes just begin to glaze over? You feel that the filmmakers have just checked off a moment from the list of drum beats. Somehow, the over-privileged angst is meant to compensate for the film’s carnage of lives and real estate.

Here, the characters more grunt than speak. And somehow that’s a relief. They’re not even pretending they have much to say. And the Kung F-like battles look like something staged for a high school parody of Kill Bill. That’s OK though too – because it lets you fill in all the blanks yourself from the over thirty years of action movies you’ve seen.

Here, a young master of a martial arts school loses his sister to some universe threatening plot, rebels against his father figure/ corporate puppet master and liberates humanity.

Simon, our young hero, lives on top of a hill with eager students anxiously awaiting his guidance. His sister has an animal horn from some beast that directs her to a hidden cave — with pieces of yet another talisman that has been broken apart a la Lord of the Rings.

Our father figure is holed up in a black glass, modern equivalent of a dark castle with henchmen all about. He must in the end fight Simon mano e mano.

Well, you can provide your own spoilers without seeing the film. Every production value and actor moment pretty much sucks by modern standards. But Furious works somehow. Not so much in “the it’s so bad it’s good” category, but because of the fact that you feel like you’re present at the creation of a film genre that in one way or another dominates modern movies.

Comic Con beware. Film attendance is down 10% this year. Blowing up the world might be overrated, and simple human dynamics of thought translated into action might just make a comeback.

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