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‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ review: Huge and kinetic action

Nine years have passed since Mad Max: Fury Road, so can George Miller deliver another post-apocalyptic masterpiece?

“Do you have it in you to make it epic?” 

Although Chris Hemsworth’s Dementus asked this question to Anya Taylor-Joy’s titular Furiosa, that question could also refer to George Miller, the Australian director who is approaching his eighties and yet is not backing down from delivering the epic. Nine years have passed since Miller’s return to the Wasteland with Mad Max: Fury Road, a masterful action movie which was one long chase sequence that helped inform the story, the characters and the world-building. Fury Road may have been the latest instalment in the Mad Max series, you could argue that Charlize Theron was the standout lead as Furiosa, a character that Miller couldn’t let go of and wished to explore more of. 

On paper, a prequel focused on Furiosa did not seem like an appealing idea, given each of the Mad Max films have always tried to show something different within this enormously influential post-apocalyptic world and a revisit to Immortan Joe’s Citadel felt like re-treading water. Before she was an imperator for the aforementioned warlord, Furiosa was born and raised in the “Green Place”, one of the few locations in the wasteland where plants still grow. However, when she is taken from her family by the Warlord Dementus and his Biker Horde, she will devote the rest of her life to finding her way home. 

Considering that the character achieved her happy ending in Fury Road – as we are reminded in the end credits of Furiosa that plays clips from said film – Miller and co-writer Nico Lathouris tell a compelling, if different narrative that fits nicely into some of the themes from this Australian exploitation franchise. As previously stated, Fury Road’s storytelling was defined by its crazy visuals and action over the course of one big chase sequence, whereas the prequel is an odyssey that spans across years, showing how Furiosa went from the young innocent girl from the Green Place (played by Alyla Browne) to the vengeful angel (Taylor-Joy) who has to adapt to survive. 

With Fury Road and Furiosa, both of which cement themselves as feminist action movies as they center on a female protagonist who has to endure such horrific ordeals, orchestrated by the dominant male forces like Immortan Joe and Dementus, the latter of which played with such intense villainy by Hemsworth. Following a brief but badass turn from Charlee Fraser as Furiosa’s mother, our eponymous hero is driven by the promise she made to her mother that she will return to her home, even if she is driven by another desire.  

Evoking the central theme of revenge from the original Mad Max instalment, Furiosa plays into a recurring theme with a lot of post-apocalyptic media, which is how to maintain their humanity in a world that is becoming more and more inhumane. Going through quite the physical and psychological journey, the dual performances from Alyla Browne and Anya Taylor-Joy make the role of Furiosa her own, which is no easy task following Charlize Theron’s incredible turn. 

Expanding upon aspects of Fury Road’s world-building where we actually see the fortresses of Gastown and the Bullet Farm, Miller shows how this side of the Wasteland functions, proving that the insanely designed characters of this desolate world are fighting each other over whatever resources there are left. The action is huge and impressive, particularly a chase involving a War Rig, and yet no matter how stylized this whole world looks (thanks to Simon Duggan’s stunning digital cinematography), there are moments where the CGI looks rubbery. As a deliberate change of pace to the tight pacing of Fury Road, Furiosa’s two-and-a-half-hour running time can be too much. 

‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ review: Huge and kinetic action
Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
This may not reach the masterful chase of Fury Road, but Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga justifies its role as a prequel that expands on the backstory of its titular character, as well as the world-building where George Miller continues to play with his kinetic sandbox.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Following Charlize Theron's incredible turn in Fury Road, Anya Taylor-Joy and Alyla Browne make the role of Furiosa their own.
After years of playing hero, Chris Hemsworth going full baddie and Australian is a joy to watch.
Expanding upon the world that Fury Road establishes, showing how bonkers Geoge Miller's imagination is.
The action, as you would expect from this franchise, is huge and kinetic, throwing countless vehicles and War Boys into the mix,...
...even if the CGI is obviously rubbery.
With an extended running time, it does lack the tight pacing of its predecessor.

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