Thursday, November 04, 2021

Hell Hath No Fury, Featuring Mandylor, Vandenberg, and Bernhardt

People forget Germany first occupied France was during WWI—that’s why the front line was in France. Those who collaborated the first time faced reprisals that they repaid with interest during the National Socialist occupation. Many in turn faced similar or worse humiliation after the Allied liberation, like Marie Dujardin, the former mistress of a high-ranking SS officer. Ironically, Dujardin was in fact a resistance mole, but she has nobody left to vouch for her. However, she has knowledge of a secret stash of gold that is definitely worth something in Jesse V. Johnson’s Hell Hath No Fury, which opens this Friday in Los Angeles.

When we meet Dujardin, she is cooing romantically with the ruthless Von Bruckner. Yet, when their car is ambushed by the resistance, she claims to be on their side. He manages to take care of his would-be executioners, but she gets the drop on him. Or so she thought—those darned glancing face shots. She left him for dead, but she really left him facially scarred.

That leads to a nasty reunion when she leads three American GI’s and Major Maitland, their
Kelly’s Heroes-style officer to the cemetery, where she tells them she hid Von Bruckner’s gold. He wants it too—and he is marching their way with all the SS troops still loyal to him.

is not exactly a love letter to the “Greatest Generation.” Technically, Dujardin is not exactly a stereotypical “woman scorned” either. However, Johnson, the prolific action director, stages some nifty battle sequences. Stuff gets blown-up and Germans get killed many satisfactory ways, but Johnson always keeps it all clean and legible on-screen.

He also has the benefit of a gritty, experienced cast, including Louis Mandylor, who certainly knows his way around a Johnson set (including the
Debt Collector movies and maybe half a dozen others). Timothy V. Murphy is a real standout for the grizzled swagger and snarling attitude he brings as the working-class sergeant.

Dominiquie Vandenberg shows off his hard-won action chops as Clement, a slightly batty French resistance fighter, but his character’s daffy hallucinations were a mistake. Daniel Bernhardt once again makes a forcefully intense villain as Von Bruckner, but the star of the
Bloodsport sequel does not get much of a chance to show off his skills. Outside of the straight-to-DVD-action circuit, Nina Bergman’s emotional reserve works rather well for Dujardin and she holds her own during fight scenes (which is 90% of the film).

Hath No Fury
is grungy but it gets the job done. For those who appreciate low budget-high energy action movies, the combo of Mandylor, Vandenberg, and Bernhardt is almost a mini-Expendables. Johnson utilizes them well. Frankly, it is a little too cynical at times—it is hard to countenance a battle-tested officer like Maitland even entertaining a deal with the likes of Von Bruckner, but at least you never have to wait long for another explosion. Recommended for cheap and plentiful action thrills, Hell Hath No Fury opens this tomorrow (11/5) in LA, at the Laemmle NoHo.