October 29, 2021 (New York City)– Hell Hath No Fury (2021) is a Triumph of modern filmmaking. Making a low budget, World War II action film, which places its central character at the intersection of the paths of the Nazi SS, the French Resistance, and some rogue American soldiers is, potentionally, wrought with problems. If inartfully done it could have run the gamut from boring to confusing. Luckily, this film has none of those deficiencies.
Jesse V. Johnson’s unusual foray into this historical war biography is nothing short of brilliant. It is fast paced. It is cogent. It is interesting, exciting, and visually engaging. This is masterful filmmaking, demonstrating that you don’t need a monstrous budget and CGI to make a good film. A good story, told through good acting and fine direction, are elements that can still not be replaced by special effects.
The story unfolds in Occupied France, 1941, around French Resistance fighter turned Nazi paramour, Marie DuJardin. How much of this story of love, betrayal, and war is true I do not know. Actually, I found myself not really caring because the story is so well scripted and engaging.
Nina Bergman stars in the lead role. Her performance is stellar. Her ability to balance strength and grit with sensuality and vulnerability is unparalleled in any performance I have seen in recent films. Is she the victim, hero, or is she a master manipulator? She walks the tightrope between both roles throughout and, just when you think you have it figured out, the film takes a left turn. Bergman’s ability to convey sarcasm, indignation, and fear without uttering a word is masterful. This film was made for her and she for it- she is someone to watch.
The film’s modest cast features two Johnson regulars, Louis Mandylor (The Debt Collector), as the American Army Major looking to turn around his fortune, and Dominiquie Vanderberg (The Mercenary), as the smitten resistance fighter. They are both terrific in their respective roles, which rely more heavily on their acting ability than their action prowess.
Grandmaster Hee Il Cho trained Taekwondo practitioner Daniel Bernhardt’s complex and multi-layered portrayal of Colonel Von Bruckner, the Nazi SS Commander, is the best of his career, for certain. This is a character unlike the villains of most war films. There are no two-dimensional characters in this nail biter. Everyone is more than they appear to be, or that their roles would immediately suggest. Good and bad is not a simple construct in the world this film inhabits. This is part of the film’s strength.
Jesse V. Johnson is known primarily for his adept Direction of action and martial arts films he has had a hand in co-writing and producing, such as his Scott Adkins collaborations in The Accident Man, The Debt Collector Films, Savage Dog , and the Triple Threat. He is clearly a gifted Director that has the ability to tell others’ stories, at least as well as his own. Maybe even better. This may be his finest film. In 2019 Jesse spoke to Taekwondo Life Magazine about the importance of the elevation of story and dialogue in actions films- this film is the embodiment of that concept.
Hell Hath No Fury is a film whose finished product is much greater than the sum of its parts. The Direction, the cinematography, the story, the action, and the acting all line up to make this one of the best films of the year, by far. This film is extremely well paced, but not frenetic.
The musical score is chilling and serves to, almost, act as an additional character in the film.
Hell Hath No Fury is distributed by Well Go USA, the company responsible for the Hi-YAH Martial Arts channel, and the Distributor of such films as Donnie Yen’s Raging Fire and Hydra, earlier this year.
-Review by Marc Zirogiannis
HELL HATH NO FURY is the story of one woman who single-handedly takes on the might of the German war machine, the French resistance, and a band of US infantrymen. Branded a traitor by her countrymen, French national Marie DuJardin (Nina Bergman) is rescued by American soldiers on one condition: to survive, she must lead them to a cache of gold—before the Nazis return to claim it for themselves.
HELL HATH NO FURY was directed by Jesse V. Johnson and features a powerhouse cast that includes Nina Bergman, Daniel Bernhardt(The Matrix Reloaded, John Wick, Atomic Blonde), Louis Mandylor (The Debt Collector, My Big Fat Greek Wedding I and II), Timothy V. Murphy (Snowpiercer, Sons of Anarchy), former French Foreign Legion Special Forces soldier and knife-fighting technician Dominiquie Vandenberg (Triple Threat, The Mercenary, Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York) and Josef Cannon (Helsing University).
Runtime: 109 min
Rated R – for strong / bloody violence, language throughout, and some sexual content.
The film is in English, German, and French with some subtitles