Film review: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Being snatched from her peaceful ‘Green Place’ at a young age, Furiosa must battle Dementus and his scavenger biker gang within a perilous post-apocalyptic outback, in order to find her way back home.

From visionary director George Miller (who is astonishingly now 79 years of age) and originally meant to be filmed back-to-back after the dystopian action of the groundbreaking masterpiece and multiple Oscar winning ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (2015). ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’, including best picture and best director, hit the dust tracks and went into development hell over pay disputes with Warner Bros. Pictures, causing many painful years of delay before finally being released to a hungry audience.

Created as an origin story, ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ is the fourth film in the series and a prequel to Fury Road. Set between 10 and 20 years beforehand (and 50 years into the future from next Wednesday according to Miller). With a very young Furiosa, played by the talented Alyla Browne (currently starring in horror film ‘Sting’) through to a partially de-aged Anya Taylor Joy, we follow the painful path she must tread to escape the evil clutches of Dementus played by an on form and facially deformed Chris Hemsworth.

Much like the first four outings, George Miller wrote and created this fifth instalment in the style of ‘chaos cinema’ being filmed with a ‘centre eye’ focus. So as chaotic as the ultra-fast visuals may be, the attention is always to the middle of the screen making the overall effect far more understandable within the controlled mayhem. With the current trend quite rightly of also focusing on the brave stuntmen and women of cinema Miller used 278 in his many visceral action sequences which includes the high-octane middle chase scene running for a full on 11 minutes.


Starring Anya Taylor Joy as a young Furiosa, Miller wanted to create a believable younger Charlize Theron without too much post production work. Transitioning from Alyla Browne to Taylor Joy, the visual transition works extremely well with minimal digital work. Using a very expensive wig for the Taylor Joy head shave scene, she was happy to cut her own hair until Miller felt this was too great a sacrifice to make after their first meeting. Also starring Chris Hemsworth as the muscular Dementus, another maniacal ruler within the lawless world, stuck in the middle of the triangular no man’s land, battling warlords trading weapons, gasoline, food and water in a world where analogue is king and digital is dead.

Once again we have a (mostly) great casting lineup with some actors returning including Nathan Jones, Josh Helman and Angus Samson as Rictus Erectus, Scrotus and Organic Mechanic respectively. There are also a few welcome new actors, such as scene stealing Charlee Fraser (Anyone But You) as Mary Jo Bassa, playing Furiosa’s battle hardened mother and Lachy Hulme as an entirely believable Immortan Joe. However, the power of this dog-eat-dog world is with the primary starring actors, and this is where Fury Road’s use of Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron (who do not appear in this) elevated the previous movie into a filmic Valhalla. The acting is solid from just about everyone including Anya Taylor Joy, plus Hemsworth is clearly having a great time chewing the scenery, but it somehow holds less gravity.

Unfortunately, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga does not create the same wow factor as we witnessed in Fury Road. With intense action for the majority of the film, the sequences are indeed once again breathtaking, but I doubt repeat viewings are on the cards for most viewers, including myself. The gritty story which has expanded to include the ‘bullet farm’, which didn’t see in Fury Road the world now makes more sense, however the film does not come close to its predecessor. There is also a notable decrease in action being performed for real, in favour of CGI. There was of course plenty of subtle digital work in Fury Road to hide stunt rigs/wires/crew and to change backgrounds, however here some of the digital compositing is very noticeable, which immediately takes you out of the film.

With talks of ‘Mad Max: The Wasteland’ in the pipeline set one year before Fury Road, this will most likely once again include Tom Hardy but exclude Charlize Theron through differing story timelines, although their lack of friendship whilst filming Fury Road will – I suspect – not be missed this time around within the production company.

The box office and the public however may steer the ship of the desert this time and decide whether ‘Mad Max: The Wasteland’ will happen or not. However, Furiosa is most definitely a big screen watch for both the sheer visual craziness of it and a powerhouse of thunderous sound.

The question is “Do you have it in you to watch an epic?”.





Author: Piers, Maidstone Store

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