Michael Walker has turned his back on his Special Ops past and is about to start a family with his beautiful wife Claudia. However, a chance encounter with crime syndicate footsoldiers wipes out his future in spectacularly brutal fashion. Hell-bent on ultimate revenge, Walker reawakens the savagery that earned him the moniker “Angel of Death”, and unleashes an unrelenting wave of momentous violence.
Following in the gory wake of Sudden Fury and the excellent A Day of Violence, Beyond Fury is the final part of director/writer Darren Ward’s infamous crime trilogy, and his most ambitious outing yet. Ingrained with the Grindhouse grit of Italian 70’s Euro Crime pictures, the movie is also heavily influenced by the work of exploitation overlords Sergio Leone, Dario Argento and Umberto Lenzi.
Make no mistake, Beyond Fury knows exactly what its remits are and the most barbaric methods to consolidate them. Barreling along from one savage scene to the next with no qualms at all, embracing infanticide, necrophilic rape and gratuitous mutilation along the way. It is exactly the kind of flick that would have been demonised during the ” Video Nasty ” era, like much of the work of those it pays homage to.
Production-wise, this gloriously mean-tempered film is a minor miracle. Thankfully, Ward resists the common tendency to scratch up proceedings with fake print faults and the cinematography remains crisp and surprisingly expansive. The locations are diverse, and more importantly, believable, providing a smooth canvass for our pissed off and tooled up anti-hero to paint his landscape of pain.
The score, from Dave Andrews, is a real heart pounder that is never overused, a fatal pitfall of many a low budget movie. Instead, it bolsters the kinetic power of the more grandiose action scenes that can become hobbled by financial shackles.
The gore is as well rendered, as it is plentiful, bringing a six-pack of strong practical realism to the party, rather than the watered-down rosé of post-production CGI. The hematic bullet hits, gaping wounds, chainsaw maulings and obliterated toes look wince inducingly magnificent.
A film like this lives or dies by its commitment to effects work and the delivery of promised carnage. As long as it puts out on this front, other production shortfalls are forsaken for genre goodwill. The much raved about Terrifier is the perfect example of this, a shoddy mess with a mere fraction of the style and charisma of Ward’s film.
Of course, there will be imperfections in a film this intimately constructed. The police procedural strand is far too clunky to ever succeed, either as comedic relief or story advancement. But you won’t pay it much mind as it becomes increasingly apparent that Beyond Fury is far more intent in blowing holes in its characters than sealing up the ones in its plot.
The sound is also sometimes a tad rustic but after the salty mumblings of The Lighthouse, even that is positively in vogue at present. When it really matters though, everything can be heard in bone mashing clarity.
The acting is periodically uneven, but that is not a terminal issue either. The initial casting was so on point that half the battle was won right there, with all the actors committing fully to their roles in a concerted bid to win the other half too. Giovanni Lombardo Radice is in particularly excentric form as he extricates full value from his role as the principal villain.
In the early eighties, he was in virtually every Italian film of that time that was prefaced with the word cannibal. Later he worked with Michele Soavi, Ruggero Deodato and Lamberto Bava, a Curriculum Vitae that sums up the artistic ethos of Beyond Fury in a nutshell.
Ward’s film has the dubious honour of rocking up in the company of Seed, The Raid 2 and Kill List in the echelons of cinematic hammer violence, and that’s exactly where it needs to be. A malignant Midnight Movie that welcomes any derivative guffawing during group viewings, before it kicks your snickering teeth straight down your throat.
Low budget flicks should not be endured nor mollycoddled. Nor should they be judged purely from the standpoint of their hermetically sealed budget bubble. Commitment, passion and dedication don’t automatically translate into a good movie. I still have regular trauma therapy sessions after being subjected to Bubba’s Chili Parlor back in 2008.
In the case of Beyond Fury, the care in the craft, and the respect for the course vocabulary of exploitation cinema, results in a delirious triumph of genre greatness. Much more than just a derivative sonnet to the legends of a bygone era, Beyond Fury is a heady celebration of the creative autonomy that only truly independent cinema can conjure.
Crime, Drama, Action | UK, 2020 |115m | Unrated | Seeking Worldwide Distribution | Giallo Films| Dir. Darren Ward| Cast includes. Dani Thompson, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Jeff Stewart, Tina Barnes, Joanna Finata, Dan van HusenPowered by Sidelines