January 1st, 2021
MOVIE: HELL HATH NO FURY
STARRING: NINA BERGMAN, DANIEL BERNHARDT, TIMOTHY V. MURPHY, LOUIS MANDYLOR
DIRECTED BY: JESSE V. JOHNSON
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
There is still a place for a movie like Hell Hath No Fury. You have to dig a little, have an affection for intense action, and be willing to give movies like this a chance. Jesse V. Johnson is a director that is carving his own path in the action genre, working with stars such as Dolph Lundgren or Tony Jaa, but churning out big hits with the new king of kick-ass movies- Scott Adkins. With Hell Hath No Fury, however, Johnson is proving he’s not just good at entertainment with guns, punches, and explosions- there is some of that here- but he’s telling a thrilling story, a WWII drama, about a women that became involved with a revolting Nazi general, a pair of American soldiers, simple French countrymen, and a hidden gold treasure for everyone to fight over. War is hell, no matter what side you’re on, and there’s a strong greed waiting to be dug up.
The opening scene involves Marie (Nina Bergman) and German officer Von Bruckner (Daniel Bernhardt), riding in their motorcade through the countryside, and stopping at a checkpoint. The two of them are in love and escaping the war with a bundle of gold bricks. In an instant the car is ambushed by French resistance fighters, but not before Von Bruckner retaliates with a hidden machine gun. In their escape from the attack, they arrive at a small French farm, which is where Marie reveals herself to be a spy of the French resistance, shooting Von Bruckner and leaving him for dead. Years pass, with Marie treated as a traitor to her country, keeping her secret safe, while also being escorted by American soldiers after the war has ended. What Major Maitland (Louis Mandylor) and his team have planned is to hold Marie’s freedom above her, forcing her to reveal the hidden gold in return for release. What’s not planned is that all three sides will converge at this moment, Marie tied to a post, the American soldiers digging, and Von Bruckner not far behind, his face mangled by a gunshot, but alive to reclaim what was his.
From the artwork and trailers, Hell Hath No Fury looks like it would be a movie about a women being tortured, but that’s an egregious assumption. Although the character of Marie is vulnerable and berated by the men involved, it’s more similar to a documentary about snakes lying in the grass. All three sides are brought into the ring, a cemetery behind the farm where the gold is buried, and it becomes a fire fight. The question becomes who will be left standing. The screenplay, written by Katharine Lee McEwan and Romain Serir, is about building tension, as the American men have a certain amount of time before Von Bruckner and his soldiers arrive. There’s a perfect mix within the dialogue about regret, the pain of war, the greed that comes from expecting something in return for sacrifice, and how it will be the downfall of us all, no matter what side you are on.
The other two factors that I loved about Hell Hath No Fury is first, the lead performance from Nina Bergman is a revelation, shaving her head, portraying the character with the mixture of ferocity, fear, and mystery. It’s the type of performance that leaves you eager to see what she will do next. The second factor is that director Jesse V. Johnson understands his assignments in front of him, casting a collection of actors that have the miles on their faces to look perfect in these roles. Character actors such as Timothy V. Murphy, Charles Fathy, and Josef Cannon look plucked out of The Dirty Dozen or a John Sturges war epic. On top of that crew, there is Bernhardt’s Von Bruckner who is as fierce of a villain as it goes, his face scarred like a Bond goon, but his cold stare enough to give us chills.
It’s best not to harp on how they don’t make enough movies like Hell Hath No Fury, but I greatly appreciate that it’s around; If anything, the career of Jesse V. Johnson needs to be followed more closely than before. Hell Hath No Fury is genuinely thrilling, placing a myriad of characters into a boiling pot, riches of gold buried in the ground, and the sting of war surrounding all of them. It’s by far one of the hidden gems of 2021 and I hope more people are able to discover it in 2022. Hell Hath No Fury deserves high praise, not scorn, now go dig it up.
HELL HATH NO FURY IS NOW AVAILABLE ON DEMAND AND ON BLU-RAY-DVD FROM WELL GO USA ENTERTAINMENT
Written by: Leo Brady