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Never dull yet never exhilarating either Furiosa ranks in the middle of the Mad Max pack: what it adds in character development and world building, it lacks in tangible, high-octane thrills.

It would have been nothing short of a miracle had Furiosa been able to replicate, let alone supersede, the once-in-a-lifetime adrenaline shot that Mad Max: Fury Road provided. Thus I won’t hold that relative disappointment against the film. That doesn’t mean I don’t have serious qualms with the picture though.

The first of those is a lack of urgency to the storytelling. If Fury Road was one big, unrelenting chase, then Furiosa feels more like an elaborate backstory with some random – if admittedly: often impressive – action scenes thrown in. The stop-start nature of the overlong tale doesn’t do Furiosa any favours.

Neither does the acting. While Anya Taylor-Joy does a commendable job bringing her own sensibilities to the titular heroine, she pales next to Charlize Theron’s interpretation in Fury Road. Meanwhile Chris Hemsworth hams it up so badly as the main villain – not helped by a ludicrous prosthetic nose – it’s hard to take the threat he’s supposed to pose seriously.

On the flip side, writer-director George Miller still manages to keep you entertained throughout with a flair and ebullience that sweeps you along easily, while Tom Hulkenborg’s musical score finds the perfect mix between thumping beats and Aboriginal-inspired motifs.

Yet the one thing that lingers after watching Furiosa is the unmistakable digital sheen that permeates every single frame of the film. It hits you square in the face during the end credits, which feature clips of the much more old-school cinematic Fury Road, and the comparison – to put it mildly – does not favour Furiosa in the least.

release: 2024

director: George Miller

starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Alyla Browne, Tom Burke


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