Furiosa getting out of a war vehicle armed with a shotgun

‘Furiosa’ is a Delightfully Savage Wasteland Epic

Reviewed by Chris Corey
May 29, 2024

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

★ ★ ★ ★

Furiosa is one of those films that movie theatres were made for. The action is fantastic, the pacing is just right, and the characters are played by actors with over-the-top performances.

The soundtrack itself is essentially a “character” in the film. It’s thunderous and booming. It commands attention just when it needs to.

Furiosa is almost always on par with its predecessor, the highly acclaimed Mad Max: Fury Road, and is a more-than-worthy addition to the Mad Max universe.

furiosa, praetorian jack and dementus after battle

Furiosa, Praetorian Jack and Dementus after battle. © 2024 Warner Bros

We first meet our heroin Furiosa (Alyla Browne) as a child picking fruit from a tree in a hidden paradise, called The Green Place, surrounded by an endless desert wasteland. She and a friend spot a band of raiders dividing up an animal they’ve hunted.

Furiosa doesn’t hesitate to sneak down and sabotage their motorcycles pieced together by rusted, salvaged parts. This seems reckless until we learn that The Green Place must be protected at all costs from outsiders, who are almost all savage barbarians that would quickly destroy and exploit such an oasis.

The hunting party catches Furiosa in the act and abducts her. Furiosa’s friend runs to the small village within The Green Place and alerts Furiosa’s mother, Mary Jabassa (Charlee Fraser), who chases the raiders on horseback armed with a long-range rifle.

Mary catches up to one of the raiders, kills him and takes his motorcycle. The pursuit leads them away from The Green Place and deep into the wasteland.

Armed with a sniper rifle, and proving herself an excellent shot, Mary kills all the raiders except the one carrying Furiosa.

furiosa looks back amidst battle in her vehilce

Furiosa surveys the danger behind. © 2024 Warner Bros

The raider manages to reach the gates of his large camp, guarded by dozens of his people. At this point, it appears impossible for Mary to save Furiosa, and the secret location of The Green Place is now in imminent risk.

The raider starts to tell his people about The Green Place, and with his focus distracted, Furiosa manages to free herself just long enough to severely injure him, compromising his throat in the process, rendering him unable to speak and reveal the location of the oasis. Mary sees Furiosa’s attack through the scope of her rifle and, as Furiosa is dragged away deep into the camp, she whispers, “Good girl.”

dementus and his followers in his encampment

Dementus surrounded by his followers. © 2024 Warner Bros

A little while later, Mary sneaks into the camp to rescue Furiosa in a valiant effort that ends with Mary’s death at the hands of one of the film’s surprisingly effective villains, Dementus (Chris Hemsworth). Even though Dementus knows killing Mary puts Furiosa on a path of revenge, he keeps her alive in hopes of turning her into an asset as he tries to manipulate her to his world view.

There are three fortresses in this film, which is important to know because each are dependent upon the other. The first fortress is The Citadel, the second is Gas Town and the third is The Bullet Farm. All are controlled by Imortan Joe (Lachy Hulme). Wanting to conquer the wasteland, Dementus finds himself challenging Joe, which eventually leads to them striking a deal where Dementus runs Gas Town to increase the productivity of ‘guzzoline,’ which is the name for the wasteland’s valued resource – gas. This deal also lands Furiosa in the care of Joe, who intends to make her one his many wives (who only exist to bear his children).

furiosa takes cover at a gate before fire can engulf her

Furiosa takes cover at the gate. © 2024 Warner Bros

Furiosa is a survivor, a strategist and a calculated opportunist. She sees an opportunity to escape the group of wives and disguise herself as one of The Citadel’s young mechanics. She is able to operate incognito until she becomes a young woman.

At this point, Anya Taylor-Joy takes over the role of Furiosa and does so with commanding force. Taylor-Joy’s performance relies on her ability to act with very little dialogue; Furiosa’s actions make her a compelling action hero.

It isn’t long before we’re thrust into one of the more epic action sequences in the film, involving a newly constructed War Rig, which is a semi-truck that hauls gas tankers, is outfitted to withstand the attacks of wasteland pirates and is partly Furiosa’s creation. During this sequence, we see just how adept Furiosa is in battle.

furiosa, praetorian jack and war boys ride in the war rig

Praetorian Jack, Furiosa and the War Boys ride in the War Rig. © 2024 Warner Bros

Supporting the War Rig are The War Boys, the very young soldiers of The Citadel, covered in white body paint. They are led to believe that dying in service to Joe will land them in Valhalla, an afterlife paradise. They will die for Joe, if only to reach Valhalla.

There is a great deal going on in this story, and we get a very good understanding of how the wasteland works. Despite the incredible pace, we learn what’s at stake for the protagonists, the villains and the dynamic workings of wasteland politics. All the film’s elements are woven together almost seamlessly, and the pace of the film doesn’t suffer from it. That’s a feat in a story of this scale.

The sound design makes an incredible statement as well. Engines roar, gunshots pierce and explosions boom in a symphonic dance that will push the limits of even the best speakers and woofers.

This film is very well done, from the strength of Taylor-Joy as Furiosa and Hemsworth’s wickedly captivating portrayal of Dementus, to the expertly paced script and fantastic directing.

George Miller, the film’s director, was once a medical doctor prior to directing the first Mad Max in 1979. Here he has crafted a wasteland epic with Furiosa. Even at its most brutal, this is a fun, fast-paced, thrilling action film.

Furiosa will be very hard to beat as the best action film of 2024.

Rated: R (Sequences of Strong Violence, Grisly Images)
Running Time: 2h 28min
Directed by: George Miller
Written by: George Miller, Nick Lathouris
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Tom Burke, Alyla Browne, Lachy Hulme

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

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