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Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Year : 2024
Country : United-States

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DokBrowne  [ 8.5 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

Not as historic as "Fury Road", not as mediocre as...most movies tend to be, "Furiosa" definitely makes it epic. The common warning from early reviews that it wouldn't be as action-heavy as last time was a bit worrisome to me but needlessly so: this movie is so intensely kinetic at all times that you won't spend even a second comparing the amount of car chases between both films or anything like that. Even though there's much more story this time (it's kinda sorta the spread-out "Thunderdome" to "Fury Road"'s relentlessly focused "Road Warrior"), George Miller knows that what worked last time was the full-throttle spectacle set at a heavy metal pitch mixed with inimitable show-don't-tell world-building dexterity and a wicked cast committed to the bit on an otherworldly level. If at times this feels less like essential inspiration and more like Miller and Co. just wanting to re-live the glory of "FR" (like how Peter Jackson couldn't help himself from taking another trip to Middle Earth a decade later), then at least the purity of his vision remains intact (unlike in the "Hobbit" trilogy where some unfortunate choices were made, though it was still pretty good I'd say, let's not get started).

As entertainment it's masterful, just that there's some kernels of prequel-itis to pick out of your teeth, like getting the unnecessary explicit back stories for some matters that were sufficiently, even preferably, implied during "Fury Road", and re-playing the hits like some of those car chases that do come up with new material yes, but also sometimes when it's motorcycle gangs vs. war boys tossing explosive spears at each other's vehicles, it's like "which movie am I watching again?" I'm all for having more Immortan Joe on screen, but as a minor nitpick, this new actor doesn't have quite the same imposing voice (even though in both movies it's modulated so c'mon, dial it up) or, uh, girth of Hugh Keays-Byrne. He's terrifyingly awesome in "Fury Road", whereas in "Furiosa" he's more "pretty cool". Maybe the white mane doesn't blow in the wind as theatrically, I dunno. In addition, not sure we needed brief inserts of Max or the Doof Warrior. Let it be. Immortan Joe's council of scoundrels, yes (Organic Mechanic, The People Eater, Rictus), welcome back you guys, but those other 2 appear as though an editor accidentally spliced in random shots of them.

Going back to the checklist of greatness, diminutive Anya Taylor-Joy carries an immensity of broiling stoicism as the next (younger) iteration of Furiosa, proving yet again how indispensable she's become to the movie industry. I keep thinking she'll realize she can just coast on her good looks and start taking easier paychecks but she never does, lucky us. We all know by now that her eyes are the secret weapon but it bears repeating: in a largely silent performance in a fiercely-toned movie composed almost wholly out of iconic imagery, her giant-eyed stares are a crucial motif. (credit also to Alyla Browne playing even younger Furiosa; between this and "Sting", Browne's making a confident splash this year).

And then Chris Hemsworth - he's done playful over-the-top villains before but never with this much space to create a weird, despicable yet understandable three-dimensional character. I would've been devoted to this performance regardless though, because I'm a sucker for watching how actors work around prosthetic facial features. But it all works fantastically! The nose, the beard, the makeshift cape, the teddy bear!

Again this is exhilaratingly realized post-apocalypse desert survivalism mythos, not taking the franchise 10 steps forward like "Fury Road" did, but enriching it and delighting us again with some new rolls of the dice across the same sensational game board. An early scene when Furiosa's mother meets her fate is so drenched in an inescapable murk of red dusklight and dusty haze that it's like a classical painting of hell itself. I think this one will stand the test of time just as well as its predecessor has.

*accounting tangent: so that's 2 desert action epic sequels Anya Taylor-Joy has joined. And we're only 5 months into the year, who knows how many more are to come! (maybe a "Mummy" legacyquel by Thanksgiving?)

Weighted Rating : 7.0
No. Ratings : 1
No. Reviews : 1

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