Home » ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ is Enormously Entertaining [Review]

‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ is Enormously Entertaining [Review]

Try to name another blockbuster action franchise where there would be characters with names like Scrotus, Erectus, and Dementus. You can’t. Neither can I. That’s because no other franchise would spend $200 some odd million to make an R-rated action movie where there are characters with names like that.

George Miller’s Mad Max franchise began in 1979 in the Australian outback, with Mel Gibson starring in the original trilogy, Mad Max, Mad Max: The Road Warrior, and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The original Mad Max trilogy is dystopian action at its finest, with each of the three movies in the trilogy being lauded as cult classics and frequently recognized as some of the best post-apocalyptic action movies of their time.

After a thirty-year hiatus from the franchise, and a slew of wide-ranging movies of all genres in between, Miller returned to the Max franchise with the release of Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, among others. Fury Road was a smash success both critically and financially. With the advancements in technology after the thirty-year gap between Mad Max movies, Miller and his team were able to reach new heights with the franchise that technology just wouldn’t allow back in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Funny enough, the whole cast and crew thought they were participating in a disastrous turkey of a movie, but then after the tumultuous shoot, Miller and his team went into hiding for a few years, completed the movie, and came out of that hole with a masterpiece in the can. Fury Road was an astonishing feat in action filmmaking, as well as action choreography. It was only a matter of time before Miller returned to the franchise once more for a prequel to Fury Road, that being Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

To start, it’s worth touching on the career of George Miller. The most notable director to come out of the Australian New Wave movement of the 1970s, and one of the first to break out with mainstream global success. George Miller has far and away the most diverse filmography of any filmmaker. There’s crossing genres, and then there’s George Miller going from the Mad Max trilogy to The Witches of Eastwick, to Lorenzo’s Oil, to Babe. Not just Babe, but also Babe: Pig in the City, which I low-key prefer to the original. After Babe: Pig in the City was released in 1998, Miller then tried his hand at kids’ animation, with Happy Feet, and the follow-up Happy Feet Two. All of this before returning to the post-apocalyptic wasteland with Mad Max: Fury Road.

Miller’s range is undeniable, and he frequently works with the most talented collaborators, making his filmography so diverse and so much fun. Miller isn’t just a director-for-hire. Throughout his career, Miller has been the key creative mind behind all of the projects he is involved with, by writing, directing, and producing basically everything he has been involved with. A dominant and legendary creative mind. Miller is worthy of this appreciation, and my bold prediction is that he wins the Oscar for Best Director at next year’s Academy Awards. Deservedly so, but that Oscar won’t just be for Furiosa, it will serve as a lifetime achievement award for his amazing career. Enough of that, let’s get into the movie now…

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road, revolving around the Furiosa character, played by Charlize Theron in Fury Road, now being played by Anya Taylor-Joy and Alyla Browne in Furiosa. While Fury Road takes place over a very short period of time, basically being just one prolonged chase sequence, Furiosa takes a different approach. The movie begins with Furiosa as a little girl and ends with Furiosa as an adult. Everything in between is all of the key moments in Furiosa’s life that turned her into what she was in Fury Road, adding an insane amount of depth to the character, but also an insane amount of context to life in the Wasteland.

Fury Road was so streamlined in its goal to get from the starting line to the finish line that it was nice to dive deeper into the lore of the Wasteland as a whole. Furiosa is taken from her home as a young girl, taken from a Green Place which starkly contrasts to the desolate and depressing Wasteland in this post-apocalyptic world. Furiosa is taken by the seemingly exuberant, but deeply deranged Dementus, played with so much energy by Chris Hemsworth. More on him later. Dementus brutally introduces Furiosa to the savagery of the Wasteland, turning Furiosa from an innocent girl from the beautiful Green Place to a hardened killer, Imperator Furiosa, the angel of death from the Wasteland.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga reintroduces plenty of characters from the previous Mad Max movies, while also introducing new ones. It beautifully weaves in fan service with logical origins for these characters. They aren’t just thrown in for the hell of it. They all appropriately exist in this specific story. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is presented in chapters, each chapter representing pivotal moments and lessons learned in Furiosa’s action-packed but devastating life journey. The Wasteland isn’t kind to people, and the people of the Wasteland aren’t kind to people. Furiosa, as well as the audience, learn this all too well…

The best action of the movie comes when we are introduced to Praetorian Jack, played by Tom Burke. Praetorian Jack is a road warrior, brought into the fold by the main villain of Fury Road, Immortan Joe, now played by Lachy Hulme, to do oil deliveries on the dangerous Fury Road. The powers that be of the Wasteland, Immortan Joe and now Dementus are in a sort of political standoff for control of the Wasteland. In particular, control of Gastown, the Bullet Farm and of course, the capital, The Citadel. These three locations are the main pillars of the Wasteland, containing bulk of the useful resources, and under the control of Immortan Joe. Dementus wants to be in control. And to keep it very simple and spoiler-free, that is the crux of the story.

For those who know Fury Road, it was odd to see Immortan Joe as an ally in a way to Furiosa. Which I thought was a really great decision. There are moments with Joe where you can see his evil, and the whole power structure of the Wasteland under the control of Joe as a whole is inherently evil, but in a world of monsters, I guess the lesser monsters don’t seem as bad as the big ones, so to speak. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is built around Dementus as the big bad. Most of the characters are bad because they are desperate, but Dementus is just flat out bad…

Did You Know? Wicked Horror TV Has Classic and Independent Horror Films Available to Stream for Free!

Regarding the performances, it goes without saying that everyone is great in this movie. What I love about the Mad Max universe is that it really feels like a love-letter to Australia, in some demented way. Not as much in the story, well, you can read into that a little more deeply if you want to see it that way, but mostly just the performers. Most of the performers in this franchise are Australian by birth. There are a few that aren’t, especially in the leads, but everyone on the secondary or tertiary levels of the cast are authentically Australian. The impact this franchise has had on Australian film culture is gigantic, so to see these movies consistently made in Australia, with Australians, is charming in a way…

Even though I’m a huge fan of her work, I wasn’t initially sold on Anya Taylor-Joy playing a younger version of Charlize Theron, they just seem like totally different performers to me, but I thought Taylor-Joy added so much soul to the character by way of those enormous eyes and expressive face. By the way she reacted to the shoot, just like Theron, that makes me think that mindset while portraying a role like this is actually so crucial to the success of the performance. Just like Furiosa the character, Taylor-Joy seemed to be desperate to escape the Wasteland. I want to see what other people think, but I swear that had to be Charlize doing the voiceover ADR (automated dialogue replacement) for the Furiosa character in this movie. If not, then my god, she sounded just like her. So much so that it was distracting. Taylor-Joy is clearly a top-notch talent, and I’d safely assume that she will be one of the big movie stars sometime in the near future, if not already… 

Chris Hemsworth was built for this type of role. We all know Hemsworth as Thor from Thor, but outside the Marvel universe, he’s had some really fun performances in genre movies. I’m sure his bank account would beg to differ, but as a movie fan I feel as though it is unfortunate that Hemsworth spent so much of the prime of his career tied up in tights while wielding a hammer in front of a green screen. Thor is great, but Hemsworth as the heavy in a movie felt at the same time, out of character, but also perfectly fitting. For a big, handsome, Greek god looking Australian man, Hemsworth can be very unique and unpredictable in genre movies as lead, but more so as a supporting character. Hemsworth looks like a lead, can be a lead, but in my opinion, thrives most as a supporting performer letting it fly. Dementus working as a character was absolutely critical to the success of Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, and Hemsworth nails it…

Did You Know? Wicked Horror TV Has Classic and Independent Horror Films Available to Stream for Free!

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is an important movie. Mad Max: Fury Road was as well. I’ll explain why. Making an outlandish action movie on this scale is a delicate needle to thread. 95% of the time, excessive special effects in action movies can feel so detached and senseless. I don’t want to say detached from reality, because the audience is able to suspend disbelief when at a movie, it’s what we sign up for. But the excessive special effects are detached in a sense that it feels like you are watching something so far from being grounded in reality that you lose interest in what is happening. By losing this engagement, the movie loses most of its audience, because action movies are fully dependent on the watchability of the action sequences, and the plot is usually reliant on, or building up to, these sequences. If they don’t work, the movie is toast. 

A guy at the bar grabbing a drink next to me in the middle of the movie said it best, Furiosa is so unbelievably engaging, even more so than its predecessor. These movies very clearly work, and the filmmaking team deserves their flowers for making something so crazy and outlandish, but also gritty and engaging. The action is paralyzing in a good way, completely blowing your mind and never feeling senseless or excessive. When the explosive action on screen is contributing to character development, that keeps the audience fully immersed in the story, the world and the characters.

I deeply enjoyed the unpredictability of Furiosa, which is very impressive considering that Furiosa is a direct prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road. Anyone familiar with Fury Road knows what happens, but there are so many misleading moments and reveals that improve upon the lore of this post-apocalyptic wasteland, and the characters in it. I’ve seen a lot of action movies where I swear in the script it must say *insert obligatory action sequence here*. Furiosa is the opposite of that. Every single frame is so well-conceived and purposeful. It’s no wonder that pretty much all of the leading actors involved in these movies have an awful time making them, as I’m sure many others involved in making of the movie are probably not exactly having the best time out there. The meticulousness must be brutal in the filmmaking process. I can’t imagine how much of a grind it is, but man does it come out like a diamond on screen…

Overall, I found Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga to be enormously entertaining. It is a story of helplessness, vengeance and cruelty in a world where there is no happiness to be found. The Green Place was the light at the end of the tunnel that never manifests in Fury Road, but we actually get to see it in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, and it was glorious.

To conclude, I want to revisit the quote from the dude at the bar that I met when I needed a drink halfway through the movie (it’s a two-and-a-half-hour movie, give me a break) Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is so godda** engaging. Run and don’t walk to your nearest premium theater, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga will not disappoint…

Wicked Horror Rating: 9/10

From Warner Bros., Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is playing exclusively in theaters as of May 24, 2024.

Follow us on: Twitter and Facebook.

Liked it? Take a second to support Alex Kane on Patreon!
Share This Post
Have your say!