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Movie Review: Furiosa - A Mad Max Saga



 

‘Where must we go…


we who wander this Wasteland

in search of our better selves?’


The First History Man


Some things just can’t be topped. And then, somehow, they are. It’s rare but it does happen. Certainly when Francis Ford Coppola made The Godfather there was nothing that could touch it right? Then a mere two years later he gave the world The Godfather Part II, arguably as good, some say even better, than what is widely considered the greatest movie ever made. Imagine making the best movie in history and then doing it again within the same decade. 



Now let’s talk Mad Max.


The original, simply titled Mad Max, premiered in 1979. Considered a classic in its own right, imagine returning to the same world in your seventies and not only is this new adventure well-received, it’s considered a modern day, action masterpiece. George Miller was thirty-four years old when he made the original Road Warrior. Forty-Five years and several sequels later, he returned to his beloved Mad Max franchise and bestowed upon the world, Mad Max: Fury Road and what a goddamn gift it is. Action movies, a lot like horror, aren’t usually a favorite among the dusty old Oscar Academy so for an action movie to receive ten nominations, winning six of them is nothing short of amazing. And then, for nearly ten years George made us wait for more adventures in his mad, mad world. Let me say clearly and simply, it was well worth the wait. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a masterful achievement and demands to be witnessed (Witness me!) on the biggest, most glorious screen available to you. 



One of the ways I make sense of movies is by comparison. This movie reminds me of that movie and so on. If someone asks me, what was such and such like, I can ask if they’ve seen another movie I have in mind and if they have I can say, it’s like that one only… and then I clarify the differences. Speaking of Fury Road and Furiosa only, they remind me now of The Raid films, directed by Gareth Evans. The Raid is very much a straightforward action thriller with a singular focus. This is Fury Road. The Raid 2 takes a more operatic approach, focusing not just on the action, of which there is plenty, it develops character far more and gives their backstories more time to unfold. This is Furiosa. Both equally enrapturing just told with different perspectives by the same people. Fury Road establishes the way things are and Furiosa tells us why and how they got that way. 



Fury Road in so many ways felt untouchable. Any excitement for new Mad Max beyond it stemmed from curiosity I think more than anything else. “Could he actually make another Mad Max movie just as good as Fury Road? I have my doubts but I wait eagerly to find out.” And like Coppola and James Cameron before him (The Terminator and T2), George Miller, at the age of seventy-nine, returns to blow us away all over again. Not only does Furiosa stand on its own, it manages to somehow enhance the experience of returning to Fury Road. So much of what the characters do and the way they behave in Fury Road just had to be accepted but now with Furiosa, for some of the characters, we now know how they became who they are in Fury Road. It allows us to understand them better. What was a perfect stand-alone movie is even better because of what Furiosa does for the characters by allowing them, in a morally bankrupt world, some genuine humanity. Whether that humanity is a burden or benefit is as varied as the characters themselves. 


Furiosa takes the fan favorite character powerfully brought to life by the incomparable Charlize Theron and unfolds her tumultuous past leading up to the very moment she decides it’s time to take back her life which is when we first meet her in Fury Road. In the beginning of her story she is a part of a tribe that has become well adapted to the harsh realities of a post-apocalyptic hellscape. They are flourishing but only by the grace of staying hidden from the deranged wandering the outer wastelands. When Furiosa becomes separated from her tribe it becomes her life’s mission to return no matter how long it takes. On her journey she endures great tragedy with very little triumph. Her motivation seems to primarily rely on the promise that she made to her mother on the last day she would ever talk to her. 



As with most things in this fantasy world, it’s the humans she meets that complicate virtually every step of her trek home. She must return home but by no means bring along with her the captors that have held her for so long. Her greatest fear is allowing Dr. Dementus, the man responsible for the death of her mother, to find the land of abundance she once called home. Her strength and prowess among the insane is what will ultimately turn her into the capable, formidable warrior we know she eventually becomes. 


Anya Taylor-Joy is quietly powerful as Furiosa. She says little with her words but conveys everything with her gorgeous, piercing eyes. Equally as fantastic is the actor that portrays Furiosa at an even younger age, Alyla Browne, who is every bit as ferocious as her pursuers and future enslavers. Among many standout performances, it’s Chris Hemsworth as Dr. Dementus who outshines everyone. In what I believe is the best performance of his career, he is vile but somehow fittingly hilarious and surprisingly nuanced, proving to be more than just a mindless villain hungry for power. He is, like everyone else, a product of his horrifying environment. Still, his acts against Furiosa are reprehensible and unforgivable. In a world unjust, vengeance is the closest thing Furiosa has to justice. 



Continuing the visual splendor of Fury Road, Furiosa is absolutely mesmerizing to experience. It is vibrant and strangely alluring as these unhinged humans lose their minds day by day. The stunt work is astonishing and once again boggles the mind with the fact that no one died performing such perilous acts. The story is complex and spreads across deserts, wastelands and vast amounts of time. The characters are lively and performed with enthusiastic fervor finding the perfect balance between mad and sane, brutal and gentle. Fury Road is a masterpiece and Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is every bit worthy of the name. Some movies you see, Furiosa you experience. 



Rated R For: sequences of strong violence, and grisly images

Runtime: 148 minutes

After Credits Scene: No

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Alyla Browne, Tom Burke

Directed By: George Miller


Out of 10

Story: 9.5/ Acting: 10/ Directing: 10/ Visuals: 10

OVERALL: 10/10 


Buy to Own: Yes

 

Check out the trailer below:


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