• Certain Fury



    Released By: Kino Lorber
    Released On: March 4, 2017.
    Director: Stephen Gyllenhaal
    Cast: Tatum O'Neal, Irene Cara, Peter Fonda, Moses Gunn, Nicholas Campbell
    Year: 1985
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    The Movie:

    Everyone in the know is aware that the 80's were a pretty bitchen time for awesome films, and those further educated in such things knew that there was usually something special heading their way when the New World Video logo popped up onscreen after hitting PLAY on the VCR remote. C.H.U.D., Angel, Fraternity Vacation, Tuff Turf, No Retreat, No Surrender...awesome enough was the fact that New World started out as Roger Corman's baby, and in the 80's, they continued that awesomeness under new management by putting out a wack o' great stuff. For whatever reason, Certain Fury, starring Tatum O'Neal and Irene Cara, slipped by me back in those days, so I was anxious to check out the blu-ray from Kino Lorber.

    The film begins with an intense courtroom scene, where we witness (snicker) habitual lawbreaker Scarlet McGinnis (Tatum O'Neal) standing tall before The Man for crimes related to trick-turning gone wrong. On the flipside, we also have the scared and skittish Tracy Freeman (Irene Cara), daughter of the influential Dr. Lewis Freeman (Moses Gunn), up on petty charges...her first offence. As Scarlet tries to fast-talk her way out of some serious jail time, and Tracy has her heart broken by the fact that her lawyer is a public defender, and not a high-priced attorney sent by her father, shit goes sideways when one of the arraigned prostitutes opens fire in the courtroom, spraying the judge, cops, lawyers, and civilians with lead. Blood and brains fly hither, thither, and thon as the gun-toting renegade is joined by an armed cohort, ensuring that no order will be found in the courtroom that day. In the ensuing chaos, both Tracy and Scarlet make their escape from the carnage, fleeing to a nearby sewer to battle rats, tidal waves, and other threats to their safety, while desperately trying to avoid capture.

    After the dust settles, the dilemma presents itself; Tracy, sure that her role as a prominent citizen will allow her to turn herself in and avoid further implication, begs Scarlet to come with her. But Scarlet, all too familiar with the prejudices of the law, knows that the only way out is to keep running, especially now that the law thinks that the two girls are somehow connected with the slaying of their brothers in blue. The tables are turned then as Scarlet becomes desperate to ditch Tracy, leading her to her boyfriend Sniffer, a drug dealer and amateur porn director with some very unsavoury connections and a problem with being extremely rapey in the presence of strangers. With Tracy occupied in the shower with Sniffer, Scarlet flees to her past lover Rodney (Peter Fonda) the extremely wealthy head of a local organized crime ring. But the spurned Rodney responds to Scarlet's pleas for help with a blade down the side of her face, sending her fleeing back to the welcome companionship of Tracy, who has decided that sexual assault is not her thing, beating Sniffer within an inch of his life.

    Together again, the two girls decide that their only way out is to steal Sniffer's sizeable stash of substances and hit the road. But Sniffer has other ideas when he wakes to the realization of the double cross...and to make matters worse, the cops have decided that they want the alleged courtroom murderers badly enough to offer Rodney a deal, giving him back his recently incarcerated crew in exchange for Tracy and Scarlet on a platter. Everything will go down in a flaming heroin shooting gallery, and these two ladies from opposite sides of the tracks will need to learn to trust each other to make it out alive.

    Written by Michael Jacobs (3:15/Class 89) and directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal (Father of Jake and Maggie, who would go on to pretty much television only after this film), Certain Fury doesn't mess around, getting straight into that glorious, 80's-style exploitative violence in the first few minutes with the court shootout. Murder, murder, murder, gore, more murder, the film makes its intentions known immediately. Racial tensions, and yes, there is some kind of social commentary going on here...and it's not subtle...abounds as the two girls try to both infuriate and work with one another, and the sleaze amps up to 10 during Cara's shower scene, with Sniffer creeping unhealthily around the full-frontal lead. Profane language, slurs, drugs, sex, and violence, all smashed headlong into the dichotomy of rich alongside poor, nobody really knows what the hell is going on, but we know that it's probably worth taking note of.

    Mostly, however, Certain Fury relies on the success of that tried-and-true 80's formula...badass characters doing badass things in badass situations. Do O'Neal and Cara have ANY onscreen chemistry? Hell, no, they don't. Are they believable as friends...as enemies...as former friends turned enemies turned friends again? Nope. Are we really expected to believe that the head of the local organized crime gang is named RODNEY and that such a man would look like a Peter Fonda? I sure hope not, because brother, that would be an insult to my intelligence. But no, other than a severe braking of the pacing when the two girls decide that they're going to negotiate with a local dealer to sell Sniffer's stash, Certain Fury is ridiculous entertainment. Social commentary as subtle as a bat to the face, unlikable characters we should relate to, and unrealistic situations? Certain Fury is just what it should be; cheap filmmaking with pure entertainment value.

    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Kino brings Certain Fury to Blu-ray in an a 1.85:1 AVC-encoded transfer that looks pretty good considering the lack of status that the film has, and the age. Grain is present, but let's be honest, this one isn't going to wow anyone with eye-popping detail or beautiful cinematography made for the high-definition format. Still, blacks are solid, colours are decent, and you're not going to be drawn to any compression artifacts or dirt and debris.

    Audio comes courtesy of an English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track that does the material justice, with the spoken word coming across clearly, balanced nicely with effects and a score that some will definitely love more than others. No hisses, pops, crackles, or subtitles or any nature showed up that I noticed.

    The first extra on this disc is a commentary with Mondo Digital's Nathaniel Thompson and "Film Historian" Tim Greer. The two are pretty enthusiastic about the film, and although there are occasional gaps and some speculation of what the motivations are of those on screen, this is an enthusiastic commentary that takes us through the shooting locations (Vancouver), the history of New World, their awe over the courtroom sceen, the score, and O'Neal's attempt to shake the child roles that she was previously known for.

    Rounding out the extras are Trailers for Certain Fury, Heart of Midnight, They're Playing With Fire, Rush, and Malice.

    The Final Word:

    In this world of uncertainties, I will certainly take the option to own more 80's action flicks on blu-ray. KL's Certain Fury disc offers up some pretty entertaining goods, with a decent commentary.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!
































    Comments 13 Comments
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      Laugh out loud review. Thanks Mark

      I picked this up a while back and it's been high on my watch pile. I was expecting it to suck. I'm pleased to read its actually worthwhile.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Well...worthwhile is definitely subjective haha.
    1. Darcy Parker's Avatar
      Darcy Parker -
      Fun bit of trivia: New Line bought Marvel Comics in the mid-80s, and later sold them off in an unsuccessful bid to avoid bankruptcy.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Smooth business move
    1. Matt H.'s Avatar
      Matt H. -
      This movie is gold.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Well, there ya go.
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      Rather lose a toe than watch this garbage.
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      ^^What? This just went to the very top of my watch list. I'm not going to sleep until I've seen CERTAIN FURY.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bernhard View Post
      Rather lose a toe than watch this garbage.

      And, there ya go again hahaha
    1. VinceP's Avatar
      VinceP -
      I love my sleaze and this delivered. I was excited when it finally got a release. Makes me happy seeing Cara doing something this dirty.
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      20 minutes in I was loving it but was ready to shut it off before the credits rolled. The OTT violence and sleaze made it worth seeing once, but the lead characters are so unlikable. I would have been happier if they were both killed with 30 minutes to spare and finale spent with someone else. What an odd film that I'm happy exists.

      I found some humor with the inappropriately sappy music would play after the action slowed. It's the Danny Tanner "let's learn the moral of our story" music playing while a prostitute covered in feces is walking to her pimp's house so she can steal his dope. Gotta love the 80's.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jason C View Post
      20 minutes in I was loving it but was ready to shut it off before the credits rolled. The OTT violence and sleaze made it worth seeing once, but the lead characters are so unlikable. I would have been happier if they were both killed with 30 minutes to spare and finale spent with someone else. What an odd film that I'm happy exists.

      I found some humor with the inappropriately sappy music would play after the action slowed. It's the Danny Tanner "let's learn the moral of our story" music playing while a prostitute covered in feces is walking to her pimp's house so she can steal his dope. Gotta love the 80's.
      No chemistry between those two girls, whatsoever. NONE.

      And then Peter Fonda, wtf? I would've bought him as the rich guy who indulges a little paid companionship once in awhile, but as the head of an organized crime gang? No damn way. Rodney.
    1. WestgateGallery's Avatar
      WestgateGallery -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jason C View Post
      20 minutes in I was loving it but was ready to shut it off before the credits rolled. The OTT violence and sleaze made it worth seeing once, but the lead characters are so unlikable. I would have been happier if they were both killed with 30 minutes to spare and finale spent with someone else. What an odd film that I'm happy exists.

      I found some humor with the inappropriately sappy music would play after the action slowed. It's the Danny Tanner "let's learn the moral of our story" music playing while a prostitute covered in feces is walking to her pimp's house so she can steal his dope. Gotta love the 80's.
      Jason, you are DEAD-ON! Enjoying the TV-MA After School Special vibe is even easier if one has any familiarity with screenwriter Michael Jacobs, a pompous titan of Tot TV recently enthroned at the Disney Channel taking himself very seriously as creator/showrunner of the now-defunct GIRL MEETS WORLD, the excruciating spin-off/sequel to yes BOY MEETS WORLD, an intractable rock of fabled 90's TGIF network programming....

      (anchored by Danny Tanner's raison d'etre, the moppets & mullets mainstay FULL HOUSE, which needed 2 entire twin "actresses" to play the role of one illiterate orangutan baby named Michelle. Also featured: ex-celebrity Fundamentalist Kirk Cameron's sister Candace; truly talented Jodie Sweetin, who plunged into a meth-fueled nightmare & downtown L.A. donut shop cashiering; STERN SHOW regulars Saget & Stamos; and the male muse upon which Alanis Morisette performed fellatio alla Cineplex between FH table-reads & tapings mobbed with busloads from seat-filler suppliers Camp Pendleton Marine Base & schools for the mentally retarded alike)

      which is so sanitized it makes the original Ben Savage snoozefest seem like CALIFORNICATION. Sources close to GIRL MEETS... confirm that this Blu Ray release was so hotly anticipated by underlings from the cast, crew & network, a plan was in place to order 200 copies and hand them out to an exiting taping audience one night but cooler, less terrified heads prevailed. We hereby offer a $200 gift certificate to our webstore for the sharpest, feces-smeared hookerest, funniest, most fucked-up 3 minute or less montage -- juxtaposing clips from CERTAIN FURY with GMW-- that an enterprising RockShockPopper might come up with!