Tuesday 25 June 2024

REVIEW: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024 Film) - Stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke and Alyla Browne

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Review by Jon Donnis

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, directed by George Miller and co-written by Miller and Nico Lathouris, is the fifth installment in the Mad Max franchise. This film serves as both a prequel and a spin-off to the acclaimed Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Set 15 to 20 years before the events of Fury Road, Furiosa dives into the backstory of Imperator Furiosa, painting a vivid picture of her transformation from a kidnapped child to a formidable warrior in a post-apocalyptic Australian desert wasteland where warlords clash over the last remaining resources of water, food, weapons, and gasoline.

The plot kicks off in the Green Place of Many Mothers, one of the last remaining havens of fresh water and agriculture. Here, young Furiosa and another child, Valkyrie, are ambushed by raiders while picking peaches. Furiosa is captured and taken to Dementus, the ruthless leader of the biker horde. Despite her attempts to sabotage the raiders, she is unable to escape. Her mother, Mary, mounts a brave rescue attempt, but ultimately, she is captured and crucified by Dementus while Furiosa is forced to watch. This traumatic event sets the stage for Furiosa's enduring vendetta against Dementus and her struggle for survival.

Dementus's horde soon besieges the Citadel, ruled by the tyrannical Immortan Joe. The two warlords engage in a brutal power struggle, with Furiosa caught in the middle. After a failed siege, Dementus turns his attention to Gastown, an oil refinery critical to the Citadel's supply chain. Using a cunning Trojan Horse strategy, Dementus captures Gastown, forcing Immortan Joe to negotiate. In a tense exchange, Joe recognizes Dementus's control over Gastown and agrees to increase its supplies of food and water in exchange for Furiosa, who bears a star chart tattooed on her arm, indicating the route back to the Green Place.

The film's emotional depth is one of its strongest points. Anya Taylor-Joy's portrayal of Furiosa is both compelling and sympathetic, driving the film's narrative with her intense performance. Her character's journey from a traumatized child to a hardened warrior is emotionally resonant, adding a rich layer to the film's epic scope. The action sequences, particularly in the latter half of the film, are fast-paced and thrilling, providing the high-octane excitement fans of the franchise expect.

However, Furiosa is not without its flaws. While visually striking, the film doesn't quite match the innovative visual intensity of Fury Road. The two-and-a-half-hour runtime feels slightly excessive, with some sections dragging and disrupting the pacing. Chris Hemsworth's casting as Dementus is another drawback; his performance, marred by an unconvincing prosthetic nose, often breaks the film's immersion. The narrative also leaves some threads unresolved, likely setting up for future sequels, which may frustrate viewers seeking closure.

Despite these issues, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga stands out as an epic, emotionally involving addition to the Mad Max franchise. Its emotionally driven story and compelling character development make it a thrilling and satisfying experience, even if it doesn't surpass its predecessor in visual innovation. Overall, Furiosa is a solid entry in the series, delivering on its promise of intense action and deep emotional engagement, earning it a score of 8.5 out of 10.

Out now on Digital at https://amzn.to/3zriYd9