‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ has become one of those films.

You know, one of those movies that has cemented itself into the cultural zeitgeist as just built different.

Like ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ or ‘Godfather 2’ it’s one of those nerd holy sites of which there will never be another quite like.

Wouldn’t it be quite the feat if lightning struck twice?

An entire nine years after it came out, another movie… wouldn’t that be something?

Mad Max - Furiosa

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a prequel to Fury Road about the life of the extremely popular deuteragonist Imerator Furiosa, played then by Charlize Theron and now by Anya Taylor-Joy and Alyla Browne as young Furiosa.

That word, ‘saga’, gets thrown around a lot by modern Hollywood, but for once this feels like a movie that deserves it.

A meaty two and a half hour runtime told in multiple parts, the movie takes Furiosa from a little girl being kidnapped from her carefully protected slice of paradise to a war rig driving demigod of war with arguably the most badass title in fiction.

On the way there, she finds a nemesis in Chris Hemsworth’s charismatic road warlord Dementus and a partner slash mentor in Tom Burke’s stoic Pretorian Jack.

Mad Max - Furiosa

First thing’s first, the action.

Mad Max: Fury Road had some of the best live action stuntwork, practical effects and co-ordination in any movie, so Furiosa has a hell of a legacy to live up to.

But live up to it does.

You are never more than a minute or two from the next outburst of violence for the entire runtime, leading me to wonder how the hell there are still so many people out in the wasteland when they keep dying at such an impressive rate. Action scenes are masterfully choreographed set pieces with layers of moving parts and razor sharp tension.

Sticking with what works, live action practical effects form the solid core of the movie. This is augmented with amazing stuntwork and an intuitive flow of action that turns the fight into a story. Look away for a moment and you potentially miss a crucial shift of gear in the ever evolving combat.

No shaky cam here. Just nice long takes; signs of a team that is confident the action can stand on what it is instead of needing to introduce the illusion of movement to trick your brain.

Suffice to say director George Millar has forgotten nothing about how to keep his audience firmly hooked.

Mad Max - Furiosa

My plus one to this movie was my father, who, after some deliberation, declared Furiosa superior to its predecessor.

High praise indeed.

He also said you needed to pay attention in this one a great deal more than the last, for unlike Fury Road, Furiosa involves a great deal of grand strategy politics involving the three great fortresses of the wasteland.

The core of the story involves Furiosa trying to hide the location of her verdant and peaceful home from the violent raiders who would be more than happy to ride in and ravage it from top to bottom. But it quickly bleeds into a grand war for the wasteland between Dementus and Immortan Joe, who is here played by Lachy Hulme.

Mad Max - Furiosa

It can be somewhat difficult to asses the character performances of the two actresses playing child and adult Furiosa respectively since for various reasons she doesn’t do much talking throughout the runtime. Most of what we are left with is physical acting, and while the direction makes it clear Furiosa was always a firecracker who shrugs off pain and fear, stoic staring and angry glares aren’t much for an actress to work with.

What I’m saying is, Anya and Alyla do the best they can and do alright.

Demensus on the other hand is going to split audiences, I can already tell.

Chris Hemsworth is finally allowed to use his natural Australian accent, which oddly makes him stand out as the only one speaking as a cultured and modern man when his goon squad is considerably more rough around the edges.

On the other hand, he is the leader. Standing out is good.

And we can see why he is the leader.

Even while the character grows steadily more unhinged as time goes by, Demensus maintains the same effortless charisma that made nations of housewives watch the Avengers movies just to see Thor with his shirt off. It’s clear why these men and women are following him.

The few cracks in Furiosa only truly begin to show near the end and are all to do with pacing.

A major character who forms an important part of Furiosa’s life gets an ignoble off-screen death and is never mentioned again or even during. To the point he could potentially be alive; I’d call it sequel bait if it didn’t read like the movie just clean forgot about him.

Then a major event that is the culmination of the political game the players of the wasteland have been playing is given a montage and a few lines of voiceover from the narrator and leads jarringly into Furiosa’s final confrontation with Dr Dementus with zero lead up.

It feels as though someone realised the movie was too long and the scenes they chose to cut were all near the end.

These are niggling complaints in the otherwise delectable dish that is Furiosa. A worthy character given a worthy story. Lightning does indeed strike twice.

Mad Max - Furiosa
Mad Max: Furiosa (Warner Bros. – 2024) Review
Film details

Year: 2024
Rating: M15+
Running Time: 148 MIN
Genre: Action
Director: George Miller
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke, Alyla Browne
Production Studio: Kennedy Miller Mitchell, Village Roadshow Pictures
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

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