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Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)

Fans will rejoice that not only does George Miller match the high bar that (many think) he set with Fury Road, but he may have surpassed it.
Our Rating

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Sci-fi

Director: George Miller

Actors: Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke, Alyla Browne, Charlee Fraser, Lachy Hulme, Goran D. Kleut

Year: 2024

MPAA Rating: R

Country: Australia / USA

I was not a fan of Mad Max: Fury Road. I remember leaving the screening with a bit of a 3D headache, partly due to the skip-a-frame herky-jerky cinematography, and partly due to the fact that it was essentially a two-hour action sequence with explosions, car crashes, bodies being flung, and guitar solo of fire. For me, well, I kind of like some plot. I like breathing room. And I don’t even mind some character-building, even if thinly drawn.

Thankfully, George Miller apparently took all of my mental suggestions on how to improve upon a film that honestly every male reviewer adored a whole lot more than me. Count me surprised!

Furiosa is a wildly entertaining and visually amazing prequel to Fury Road, and we get to learn how Furiosa got so… furious. We meet her as a child in what looks like a hippie Garden of Eden utopia, with lush foliage, plentiful water and food, and lovely women living in harmony. We learn quickly that this utopia is somehow hidden in the otherwise red desert Wasteland… a dystopian, very male world of thundering cars, fights for precious resources, and power grabs to control over what is left of the (un)civilized world.

Young Furiosa (Alyla Browne) is kidnapped by Wasteland scouts and brought to Dementus (Chris Hemsworth, having a field day)—after all, a healthy girl is a priceless wonder, as the marauders know she must be able to point to the land of plenty. But it’s obvious that this knowledge must be protected at all costs, so even though the messengers are killed before forcing any secrets, Furiosa’s badass mom is brutally killed and the young girl is pulled into Dementus’ world.

It is a strange sort of relief that despite, oh I don’t know, killing Furiosa’s mom that Dementus is protective of the girl (he always wears a teddy bear on his belt, apparently a memory of his own children that he lost). However, Dementus only flinches slightly when given a good deal to trade the kid to another warlord, the creepy, translucently white, masked dude Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme), whom viewers will remember lording over the cinematically spectacular Citadel. Though Furiosa was intended to be part of Immortan Joe’s harem, the sharp kid manages to wriggle out of the confines to hide among the machinists and disposable warriors… which is where she lives until she grows up to be fiercely furious Anya-Taylor Joy. Furiosa, this whole time, only wants one thing: to go home.

Without bothering to explain the power struggles and politics, let’s just say that even though Furiosa has no true loyalty to the tyrant Immortan Joe, she certainly has it out for Dementus for killing her mother. And boy, Chris Hemsworth is having a field day, hiding his beautiful face behind a prosthetic nose, long grizzly beard, shaggy hair, while proudly puffing out his bare (yes beautiful) chest. He hilariously rides a chariot pulled by three motorcycles, like a demented Thor, and is easily the comic scene-stealer of the movie.

Tom Burke shows up for a time as a motor courier of few words (I didn’t even know he had a name until later he’s referred to as Praetorian Jack), whom Furiosa teams up with. With his greasepaint black forehead highlighting his blue eyes, he gets to be the hottie of the Wasteland, providing an intense, equal partnership with Furiosa. There is a particular sequence of the two of them driving a tanker truck across the desert chased by Immortan Joe’s white painted hooligans that is sheer, breathtaking action.

Fans of George Miller’s original trio of Mad Max films (1979 through the mid-80s) were surprised and delighted to even receive a gift like Mad Max: Fury Road some 30 years later. And to everyone’s amazement, Fury Road was good (I mean if you liked it… haha). With that high of a bar, fans will rejoice that Miller has delivered yet another stellar action film saturated in the gritty red dust of the vast Australian desert. There will even be folks like me who think this film is actually better than Fury Road. Heck, I enjoyed Furiosa so much that I might just give Fury Road another try. With a prequel as enjoyable as this (and the opportunity to actually get to know the woman who becomes relentless Charlize Theron), I have an inkling that I might find more to like in that film the second time around.

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