Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga – The BRWC Review

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga – The BRWC Review

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga – The BRWC Review. By Daniel Rester.  

George Miller’s Mad Max series has been delivering fresh sci-fi action to audiences since 1979. After a long break from the series, Miller returned to it in 2015 with Mad Max: Fury Road. Many, including myself, listed Fury Road as the best film of 2015, one of the best films of the 2010s, the best Mad Max film, and one of the best action films ever made. Miller now returns again with Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, which plays as a direct prequel to Fury Road. The big question: Was a prequel a good idea, or did Miller simply set the bar too high with Fury Road

Furiosa never comes near the lightning-in-a-bottle greatness of Fury Road. It’s an overlong, episodic, occasionally clunky, and somewhat unnecessary prequel as it tries to connect dots to the 2015 film. Its last few minutes, meant to directly bridge the two films, have some questionable continuity decisions made too. All of that said, Furiosa is still a solid and thrilling entry in Miller’s series that works well enough and is even quite excellent in some scenes. 

The prequel has no Max Rockatansky in it, instead focusing on the past of Imperator Furiosa, the character played fiercely by Charlize Theron in Fury Road. Here she is played by Alyla Brown as a child and Anya Taylor-Joy as a young adult. She is taken from her home, a green “place of abundance,” and forced to live in the desert wasteland with a gang run by Dementus (Chris Hemsworth). 

Eventually Furiosa is caught in a war for resources between Dementus and Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme). She learns to become an effective driver of “war rigs” from Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke). As the years go on, Furiosa seeks revenge against Dementus and hopes to return home. 

Furiosa is slicker and more reliant on CGI than Fury Road, but it still contains some level of grit in its stunt work and wasteland aesthetic. The costume, makeup, set, and vehicle designs are just as cool and creative as ever. Miller ups the use of motorcycles and flying machines this time around, but there is no shortage of wild cars and trucks either; Dementus using a chariot with three motorcycles provides quite a visual. 

The action scenes occasionally feel routine but for the most part they are intense. They work best when they are helping build the relationship between Jack and Furiosa, which mirrors the Max and Furiosa relationship in Fury Road at times. Miller also shows a lot more of Furiosa’s sniping skills this time around, which provides a break away from the usual vehicular mayhem. 

Both Brown and Taylor-Joy do a fine job of following in the path Theron provided for the character. In typical Miller fashion, the main character has little dialogue, so the actresses must express a lot through their eyes. Taylor-Joy and Burke have strong chemistry together and help give the second half of the film some heart. While the Furiosa and Jack relationship is interesting, it does ultimately feel odd that the Furiosa and Immortan Joe relationship isn’t explored more instead; further complexity to that dynamic would have added layers to the core conflict in Fury Road

Hemsworth is the film’s standout, throwing himself into Dementus and making him a delicious villain. He’s an unpredictable and colorful character who fits into Miller’s world perfectly. Miller uses the character as a springboard to be able to show more of Gastown and Bullet Farm as well, as the two were only glimpsed briefly in Fury Road

Furiosa is a well-made prequel despite never fully feeling like its existence is necessary. Miller still provides a world to get lost in, full of meticulous and kooky touches. Perhaps next time he should move forward instead of backward with the storytelling though. 

Rating: 8/10    

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