Metro Weekly

Fast and ‘Furiosa’ (Review)

"Furiosa" supplies more high-octane Mad Max action, but can’t replicate the thrilling relentlessness of predecessor "Fury Road."

Furiosa: Anya Taylor-Joy - Photo: Warner Bros.
Furiosa: Anya Taylor-Joy – Photo: Warner Bros.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga doesn’t miss Max, who cedes the spotlight in this installment to the fearsome post-apocalyptic female warrior Furiosa, introduced in George Miller’s 2015 Oscar-winner Mad Max: Fury Road.

But this movie is missing something, because, although it looks and sounds impressive, it doesn’t approach the pulse-pounding potency of Fury Road.

In that film, Mad Max-meister Miller undergirded the bone-crushing vehicular mayhem with compelling purpose. Furiosa, then portrayed by Charlize Theron, was on a mission to free the enslaved wives of water-hoarding tyrant Immortan Joe, chillingly played by Hugh Keays-Byrne.

She also had her own score to settle with Joe, and did, by summarily sending his lower jaw flying off in a different direction than the rest of his face.

For Furiosa, Miller and returning Fury Road co-writer Nick Lathouris rewind the clock to recount their heroine’s harrowing origin story. After her first blockbuster adventure, most moviegoers might rather have seen where Theron’s Furiosa headed next, than retrace where she came from, but Miller apparently wants to build out this universe.

So, we meet young Furiosa (Alyla Browne) as a courageous kid residing within the “green place,” a tranquil community tucked inside a forest, until she’s stolen from this “place of abundance” by vicious biker bandits.

Furiosa’s equally tough and courageous mother, Mary Jabassa (Charlee Fraser), mounts a daring chase across the desert to retrieve her, giving the film its first riveting setpiece, highlighted by the image of a rider on fire, speeding through a raging sandstorm.


Fraser and Browne make persuasive mother and daughter badasses, establishing this chapter of the Mad Max saga, like the 1978 original, as a tale of familial vengeance and retribution. And the leading target for Furiosa’s revenge is Dr. Dementus, the oddly comical psycho who leads the Biker Horde that abducted her from her people.

Furiosa: Chris Hemsworth - Photo: Warner Brothers
Furiosa: Chris Hemsworth – Photo: Warner Brothers

Played by Chris Hemsworth with winking grandiosity and a prominent prosthetic nose, Dementus is an entertaining villain, though not a menacing one. Marshaling his horde from atop his nifty multi-motorcycle chariot, he and his forces take over Gastown, one of the fortresses in the Wasteland.

And they lay siege to another, the Citadel, a towering hold ruled by Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme, replacing Fury Road’s Keays-Byrne, who passed away in 2020).

Thus, Furiosa, still held by the horde, and now a woman stoically embodied by Anya Taylor-Joy, enters the Citadel. Quickly, she adds Immortan Joe to her list of enemies who will eventually need to be vanquished. But she bides her time, and the movie spreads itself thin driving characters from fortress to fortress, playing out the subplot of the Biker Horde’s attempts at conquest in the Wasteland.

The central revenge story gets lost amid the back and forth between Dementus and Joe, Gastown and the Citadel and the Bullet Farm, an awesomely vast fortress refinery.

Miller, cinematographer Simon Duggan, and Fury Road production designer Colin Gibson fill the film’s widescreen canvas with arresting visions of a gritty, grainy, burnt-orange future, and plenty of well-choreographed stunts and action. In addition to all the custom war-bikes and cars, we get bandits whipping across the sand with shoe skis and parasail.

But we’re missing the sharp emotional hook that generally grounds the Mad Max movies’ outlandish stunts in a world of meaningful stakes. And the film’s attempt to graft a love story onto Furiosa’s journey, through her team-up with Citadel military commander Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke), registers a zero on the romantic Richter scale. 

A fiercely headstrong freedom fighter, Furiosa doesn’t need a love interest to keep this franchise trucking. She needs her trusty mechanical arm, a gassed-up big rig to barrel through grimy goons on motorbikes, and a purpose that the movie commits to until she reaches her destination.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (★★★☆☆) is playing in theaters nationwide. Visit

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