Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024) Movie Review – An adrenaline-pumping prequel that rarely disappoints

An adrenaline-pumping prequel that rarely disappoints

Thank goodness for George Miller. When it comes to action cinema, he is the undisputed master, often favouring practical stunt work over CGI to give us exhilarating thrill rides like no other. This was evident in his very first film, Mad Max, which was a slightly more subdued outing than the later sequels but still capable of packing a visceral punch.

Mad Max 2 upped the ante with its bigger budget and spectacular chase scenes, something that was built upon in 2015’s Fury Road with its breathtaking stunt work. With regards to that latter movie, Miller did use some CGI but this wasn’t allowed to overshadow the practical elements of the screen-bursting action.

Furiosa is a prequel to Fury Road, with Anya Taylor-Joy in the role taken by Charlize Theron in the previous movie. Once again, we are treated to some thrilling chase and battle sequences, although there’s more CGI and green screen in this one than we would have liked. This undermines the film’s action set pieces at times, though there’s still plenty of room for the stunt team to shine during the course of the movie. 

Surprisingly, Furiosa isn’t as relentless a movie as the adrenaline-fuelled Fury Road, which rarely took its foot off the pedal during its extended run-time. This isn’t to say this new movie is as lackadaisically paced as a Terrence Mallick snoozefest but in terms of style, it’s more akin to Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, which, like Furiosa, often slowed down the action to focus on more character-driven moments.

Don’t worry though, there are still plenty of high-velocity bike chases and scenes of vehicle convoys hurtling through the desert in Furiosa. As such, action junkies won’t be disappointed, and neither will anybody wanting to learn more about the post-apocalyptic universe that Miller has created as its expanded on here. 

In terms of story, this new movie is all about Furiosa and the events that led to her becoming the battle-hardened warrior we saw in Fury Road. For the first hour or so, an excellent Ayla Brown stars as the younger version of Furiosa, during which time, she topples a crazed biker, gets abducted by a power-hungry warlord known as Dementus (an unrecognizable Chris Hemsworth), and watches her captor kill her mother. 

Furiosa escapes Dementus’s clutches when she is taken in by Immortan Joe at the Citadel, who wants her to be one of his wives. The movie then fast-forwards into the future when Furiosa is a young woman played by Anya Taylor-Joy. Nobody knows she is a woman, however, as she has cleverly disguised herself as a guy. We are then introduced to another character, Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke), who becomes an unlikely ally of Furiosa’s and journies with her across the wasteland as she seeks revenge on the man who killed her mother. 

Hemsworth gives the standout turn in Furiosa as the demented Dementus, a character that is quite unlike anybody he has played before. At times, this villain is utterly terrifying, with a penchant for violence and maniacal speech-giving. At other times, he’s a bit of a clown figure, using humour as a deflective shield when facing off against his enemies, and behaving in ways that can best be described as cartoonish. 

Anya Taylor-Joy is very good too, especially during her later scenes when she shows the steely determination that Charlize Theron demonstrated in Fury Road. She doesn’t have much to say in the film but that’s not too much of a problem for a character that is a better warrior than she is a talker. 

As with previous films in the series, Furiosa is decidedly oddball at times. This is in terms of the silliness within some of the chase sequences, which occasionally rely on slapstick and pratfalling to provoke a few laughs. The goofiness extends to the characters, some of whom are hard to take seriously with names like Scrotus and Rictus Erectus! Such light relief is a welcome reprieve from the film’s darker moments, which include one particular death scene that some might find upsetting. 

Furiosa isn’t as good a film as Fury Road but it’s still a thrilling watch, thanks to the meticulously choreographed setpieces that drag us into the thick of the action during the bone-crunching and metal-scrunching fight and chase sequences. As I mentioned at the beginning, there is some evidence of CGI within these scenes but there is still plenty of room for some incredible stunt work.

Another movie in the Mad Max saga would be welcome but as George Miller is getting on a bit in age now, there’s a chance he may be forced to slow down. I hope this isn’t the case as we’d be as mad as Max if he didn’t get to make at least one more movie featuring the bad-ass and crazy characters who populate the bleak but bonkers desert world that he has created. 


Read More: Furiosa Story Recap and Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 8/10

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