Part-Time Review: Furiosa - A Mad Max Saga (2024)

George Miller brought the Mad Max franchise roaring back to life in 2015 with the fresh, energetic, and creative Fury Road. It's become one of my favorite action films of all-time. Nine years later and the follow-up is a prequel that shifts the focus to how Charlize Theron's iconic Furiosa character came to be the tough driver of Immortan Joe's war rig. Unfortunately, this prequel never fully recaptures the magic - feeling overlong, unfocused, and a bit too indulgent. 

The film opens with a young Furiosa being kidnapped by a group of wasteland bandits from her thriving and green homeland and taken to the central villain of the film, Chris Hemsworth's Dementus. Furiosa essentially grows up under the troubled, quirky, yet ruthless eye of Dementus while always looking for the right opportunity to make her escape to her homeland. Dementus eventually crosses paths with the main bad guy of Fury Road Immortan Joe and a gang war breaks out in the wastelands. The final act of the film is Furiosa becoming the woman we have come against this backdrop.

Sadly, the film suffers greatly from the decision to expand the narrative beyond the simple linear two character focus of Fury Road. That film was lean and mean and its quirky world was a fun and interesting backdrop. Here the narrative widens greatly, suffers from pacing issues, and a scene chewing Chris Hemsworth that far too often grinds the pace to a halt and creates tonal conflicts. Despite being the title character here, Furiosa rarely seems to make decisions that matter to the story and gets completely overshadowed. That's what Charlize Theron did to Tom Hardy in Fury Road, but Furiosa isn't necessarily the same type of silent cypher that Mad Max is. The Furiosa we know and love is outgoing, tough, and interesting. Here, she's almost fully silent and boring.

Some of the best parts of Fury Road have returned though. The production design is again strong and the action design can be very good even if it never rises to the heights of the original. It all felt much more dependent on green screen and f/x. Skip this one and just rewatch Fury Road.