Publicity Stills of "House Of Fury"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Genre: Comedy/Action
Director: Stephen Fung
Starring: Stephen Fung, Anthony Wong, Gillian Chung, Charlene Choi, Daniel Wu, Wu Ma
RunTime: -
Released By: Shaw
Official Website: http://houseoffury.jce.com.hk

Rating: PG

Released Date: 31 March 2005


On the surface, Teddy Yu (Anthony Wong) is a Chinese chiropractor and a widowed father. His son Nicky (Stephen Fung), a dolphin trainer at Ocean Park and daughter Natalie (Gillian Chung), a high school student, learn the art of kung fu from him, but are unconvinced and sceptical of their father's claim to having a hidden life as a heroic bodyguard for retired secret agents. It is obvious that the family will not stay harmonious for long as the children become increasingly tired of their father’s bragging.

Then one day, Rocco (Michael Wong) arrives in his wheelchair, asking Teddy for information on an ex-agent code-named Dragon. Knowing that Dragon foiled Rocco's mission 12 years ago, an incident that left Rocco wheelchair-bound for life, Teddy's lips are sealed. Rocco leaves in silence but soon returns with his four henchmen. Teddy puts up a valiant fight but, outnumbered, he is finally captured and taken away. Tortured and drugged, Teddy reveals that data on the retired agents is hidden in his kids' lucky charms.

Rocco's men are immediately dispatched to Natalie's school but they are no match for the team of battling siblings. Unable to get what he wants by force, Rocco reverts to Plan B and threatens to kill Teddy unless the kids can find Dragon for him.

With the help of boy friend Jason (Daniel Wu) and goofy schoolmate Ella (Charlene Choi), Natalie finally finds the clue to her father’s disappearance and unearths the secret data files hidden in the lucky charms. It is then that she and Nicky realise Dragon is none other than their father's long-time friend Tide (Wu Ma). The people in those thrilling spy stories they grew up hearing from their father finally have recognizable faces. Their father is telling the truth after all! Just when they are planning to pay Tide a visit to enlist his help, Jason locks them up and confronts Tide on his own. Jason's motive becomes the new mystery that Nicky and Natalie have to solve before they can save their father. But time is rapidly running out!

Movie Review:

The job of the spy protector is nowhere easier than great spies like James Bond or Jason Bourne. Though they also have the assistance of cutting edge technology, these spy protectors usually rely on merely their wits, fists and kicks to execute their mission. To add on to their job hazards,
those retired spies that they were tasked to protect, were also formidable kung fu master, who was capable of shattering their opponent’s vertebrae with bare hand!

After the warp comedy “Enter the Phoenix”, Stephen Fung continue his strive as a multi-faceted filmmaker with this “House of Fury”, penning the story, directing the set and acted in the movie. There’s nothing to shout about his acting but his creativity have greatly improved as compared to his last works. The story of special agents with great martial arts skills protecting retired spies was original and refreshing. However, like “Enter the Phoenix”, the format of “House of Fury” was predictable. Think of those 80s Hong Kong’s cop movies like "Aces go Places” and “Yes! Madam!” series, where the story would opens with a spectacular display of the Good fighting the villains, follows by a brief appearance of all the main characters, then came some directionless romance bits before touching on the main theme. The finale expectedly would be a very, very lengthy sparring scene, neglecting all the plot holes throughout.

Spoilers ahead: What benefits those formidable fighters would gain from assisting their quadriplegic, ex-government assassin leader, Rocco (Michael Wong), who should be quite broke after 12-years of imprisonment, to carry out his vicious revenge? And how could ex-secret service agent, Teddy Yu (Anthony Wong), went around boasting his glory as a spy protector
without the slightest worry that he may compromise the secluded life of those retired spies he is protecting?

It does not help with renowned master Yuen Wo Ping, the man who had contributed to the successful “Matrix” trilogy and “Kill Bill” as the movie martial arts adviser. Good points is that we do not see those overly used Matrix’s “pause in mid-air” crane style fist or censorship
board unfriendly Kill Bill’s blood spattering, head chopping brutality although there were some gravity defying stuns, which reminds you of the Matrix “jump program” (And Yes! It is far-stretched to see “flying man”). But the movie, being very 80s, features forced, primitive wire works and many “glass smashing” fighting sequences. Like the good old days, do not
be surprise if there were no cuts after the character crashes head on into the glasses or not having a swollen faces after they sustained many seemingly deadly blow from their opponents.

Fortunately, what’s save the day was the commendable performance of its casts. Anthony Wong, after his convincing performance as the Police Inspector for undercover cop in the Infernal Affairs Trilogy, returns with almost similar role to be the spy protector. It a pity that the role does not require much of his superb acting skills but his presence is enough to send laughter throughout. It may also be physically challenging to him to execute some demanding moves and the need to helplessly crashes into furniture (the making of the movie shows that he did all the stunts himself!), something which we seldom see him doing in his past movies.

The Twins, Gillian Chung and Charlene Choi were the eye-candy and offer a feminine balance to what could have been a totally masculine genre. Like Anthony Wong, Gillian Chung had to pull off many complicated sequences and most was physically demanding. Charlene, on the other hand settle for an easier role to offer many bone tickling moments with her comedic expressions. To fans of the Twins, watch out for one seductive kitchen scene of Charlene puffing a cigar, raising the temperature of Stephen Fung!

Making a movie debut is Jake Strickland, a young martial artist discovered by Jackie Chan. This 12 years old, 7th grader from Columbus Georgia is definitely an upcoming kung fu star! Jake have been completing with the best fighters of his age around the World and his achievement to-date includes 1st Place in 12-13 boys black belt traditional forms, 2nd in 12-13 boys black belt traditional weapons, 3rd in 12-13 year old black belt musicals, and 3rd in 12-13 boys black belt open. Watch out for his jaws dropping, lightning-fast poles sparring scene with Anthony Wong and Stephen Fung.

The most well remembered character in the movie would be Flying Tiger (“Fei-Fu”), Michael Wong. His make up as the skin headed, quadriplegic villain Rocco was way too cool! Probably there would be a spin off on his story soon? Watch out Patrick Stewart! Here’s another strong contender for the role of Professor Xavier now.

Conclusion: Bear in mind that this is Stephen Fung’s second effort and you will find this movie a worthy family entertainment.

Movie Rating:

Review by Leosen Teo

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