FIGHT OF FURY
By Deepak Shimkhada
Fight of Fury begins in a big work-out room where young women are throwing punches on men who are pinned to the floor. Shuny Bee, who plays the role of a martial arts instructor in the film, encourages the women to hit hard. He says, “In a situation like this, you have got two options—do or die. So, use all you got.”
Shuny, in real life, is a martial arts instructor whose mission, in this film, is to expose sex traffickers. His first film Gorkha Protector – shot in 2000 but released in 2013 – also dealt with the subject of sex trafficking. Set in Nepal, it highlighted the issue of human trafficking of young Nepali girls, a real issue that has plagued Nepal for decades. He, as a hero, protected kidnapped girls ready to be shipped to various destinations in the world.
Fight of Fury is shot in Los Angeles with the help of many local Nepali, Indian and American actors. Except for a handful, they were volunteer actors. Two of his family members also play in the movie. It’s obvious that it’s a low-budget film and, unfortunately, it shows in the post-production issues. Without listing what they are, and there are quite a few, let me dwell on the message, instead.
The subject of human trafficking is important to me and I have strong feelings against it. I was not surprised when I watched the Fight of Fury because it resonated with me. Women around the world are oppressed. Earlier in history, they were openly auctioned off as commodities in the bazaars. This is both a crime against society and violence against women around the globe who have suffered throughout history.
There were ruthless rulers like Kublai Khan of China and the Ottoman Sultans of Turkey who maintained harems of slave women of different nationalities.
Back to Shuny’s Fight of Fury, he rescues a young girl when she flees from a band of abductors who were planning to use her as one of many sex workers in Los Angeles. When she is accosted by the abductors, she knocks at the nearest door; the door opens and there is Shuny Bee displaying his well-toned muscle of a bodybuilder and a martial artist. He grabs the girl and the fight begins. He subdues all six men single-handedly.
When these badly bruised men return to the kingpin, the real story begins. They come after Shuny’s daughter whom they abduct and hold hostage.
According to the story, there is a reason behind Shuny’s personal mission. His wife, in Nepal, was raped and murdered by sex traffickers while he was serving in the Gurkha Army fighting terrorists in Afghanistan. When he couldn’t get justice from the government of Nepal to prosecute the traffickers who killed his wife, he left Nepal with his daughter for the U.S. As a martial arts trainer, he opened a martial arts studio in Pasadena, California, to make a living. But he also opened his studio to offer free training to any young women who needed the skill of self-defense. He did it because the world, no matter where one lives, is full of bad people, trying to exploit young and vulnerable women as sex slaves.
Go ahead and call me a martial arts movie junkie. I have seen them all—from the old Bruce Lee films made in Hong Kong to the new Chinese, Korean, Thai and Japanese versions, on to the Hollywood types with computer-generated images (CGI), and not to forget the Jackie Chan stories. No wonder I was attracted to Shuny Bee’s latest foray. Shuny is a fan of Bruce Lee and he emulates his moves and sounds while throwing kicks and punches. In fact, the movie is dedicated to him. He even takes the audience to the cemetery to show the tombstone of Bruce Lee.
The movie is written, produced and directed by Shuny Bee himself. He told me that it was pretty much a one-man production because some days he even held the camera when his cameraman didn’t show up. To save on cost, he flew to Mumbai (India) for the post-production editing work. Producing the film is itself a tale of a struggling filmmaker with limited budget and resources. But it was his passion and commitment that enabled him to bring the movie out. I am not going to compare it to Hollywood’s action-packed movies like Taken and Equalizer which deal with the same subject matter—abduction of young women as sex slaves.
Because Shuny is a real martial arts trainer, it was natural for him to use those professional moves during the movie’s fight scenes — unlike some movies where non-martial arts actors have to be used. When they are given the roles, they look rather clumsy and artificial. To make them look like superheroes, many special effects are used to get the maximum visual impact. For example, for a flying scene, a crane is used to suspend the actor. But for a low-budget movie, like this, it’s costly to rent. I know Fight of Fury lacks special effects. However, it doesn’t lack action. What it lacks are close-up camera techniques, dark and moody camera shots which could have compensated for the lack of other special effects. But all in all, it’s a raw home-grown martial arts movie and any audience with Bruce Lee fans will enjoy watching it because it is bound to take them down Memory Lane of the 1970s with the signature Bruce Lee yelling we all remember. As a tribute to Lee, Shuny Bee uses the same yelling technique while throwing kicks and punches against his opponents. Just as Lee always defeated his opponents, Shuny defeats his enemies in this movie. He fights for justice!