Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga Is an Action Film with a Heart of Gold

Anya Taylor-Joy as Furiosa in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure “FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

I’m a big fan of the Mad Mad franchise. The original three films are one of my favorite trilogies of all time, and somehow, Mad Max: Fury Road is even better. In fact, I think it’s one of the best action movies in recent memory, so naturally, I’ve been super excited for Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga ever since it was first announced. I couldn’t wait to return to this world and experience a whole new batch of post-apocalyptic insanity, and now that I’ve finally seen it for myself, I’m happy to report that it’s just as good as I hoped it would be.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga was directed and co-written by George Miller, and it stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Alyla Browne, Chris Hemsworth, and Tom Burke. When the film begins, Furiosa is just a little girl, and she lives with her family in a lush oasis called the Green Place. However, soon afterwards, she’s kidnapped by a nomadic group of scavengers led by a flamboyant warlord named Dementus. He eventually gives Furiosa to Immortan Joe, the main villain in Mad Max: Fury Road, and from there, the movie basically just tells the story of how this kidnapped girl rises through Joe’s ranks and proves herself to be one of his best and most resourceful fighters in his army.

Before we get to the good stuff, I want to answer a question some of you might be asking: can you watch Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga if you haven’t seen any of the other Mad Max films? Thankfully, the answer is a resounding yes. Much like Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, this is a completely self-contained story, and it fills you in on everything you need to know from Mad Max: Fury Road. Granted, you might get a bit more out of it if you’ve seen Fury Road, but if you haven’t, it’s not a big deal. You don’t need to do any homework to understand this story.

Immortan Joe and his crew
(L to r) Nathan Jones as Rictus Erectus, Josh Helman as Scrotus and Lachy Hulme as Immortan Joe in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure “FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into the movie itself. Unsurprisingly, it’s chock-full of everything fans love about this franchise. For example, Max’s world has always felt like the Wild West on steroids, a place where you take your life into your hands every time you encounter another person or step outside your territory, and Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga absolutely nails that tone. Director George Miller really makes you feel just how dangerous life has become for these people, so even when there’s nothing particularly thrilling happening, there’s always a subtle undercurrent of tension just waiting to ramp up to eleven at a moment’s notice.

Along similar lines, the Mad Max films have always featured flamboyantly over-the-top villains as well, and Dementus continues that tradition in brilliant fashion. Chris Hemsworth plays him with a weird voice that admittedly comes across as a bit cheesy at first, but the more you get to know this guy, the more it fits. Dementus is as insane as his name implies, so it makes sense that he would sound a bit off as well. In fact, he almost feels like the Joker transposed to a post-apocalyptic key, and Hemsworth clearly had as much fun playing the character as we do watching him.

Last but not least, we have the action. This is the franchise’s bread and butter, and let me tell you, Furiosa: A Mad Max Story does its predecessors proud. This is some of the best, most white-knuckle action I’ve seen in a while, and it’ll have you on the edge of your seat for just about the entirety of the movie’s nearly 150-minute runtime. Seriously, everything from the firefights to the slick driving to the war boys’ death-defying antics is cinematic gold, so when the action hits, the minutes fly by at what feels like ten times the speed.

Now, if those franchise staples were all that Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga had going for it, it would still be a super fun time. But they’re not. Behind all the fun action and the crazy characters, this film actually tells a touching story that hit me in a surprisingly powerful way. See, one of the social justice causes I’m most passionate about is human trafficking, and at its core, this is essentially the story of a trafficking victim trying to find her way back home.

Dementus driving
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure “FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Furiosa is kidnapped and taken away from her family at a young age, and from then on, the two primary men in the movie, Dementus and Immortan Joe, treat her like property rather than a person. What’s more, the two actresses who play the character, Alyla Browne (as a little girl) and Anya Taylor-Joy (as a young adult), really nail the way many trafficking victims recede into themselves to cope with their trauma and abuse.

Both of them portray Furiosa as an almost emotionless blank slate, so you can just see that all the joy and liveliness she had at the beginning of the film has been drained out of her. It’s genuinely heartbreaking, and it gives the character a depth she didn’t quite have in Mad Max: Fury Road. In that movie, you might see Furiosa as a bad person who just wants to atone for everything she’s done, but Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga sets the record straight. Furiosa was never a bad person. She just did what she had to do to survive and get the chance to escape, so she deserves all the sympathy in the world.

That thematically rich storytelling elevates this film beyond your typical mindless action flick, so Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is hands down one of the best movies of 2024. In fact, as of this writing, it’s my third favorite film of the year, and even though we’re still in May, I have a hard time imagining that it’ll drop out of my top five. It’s just that good, so if you’re at all an action fan, I highly recommend that you give this movie a watch.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is playing in theaters right now.

If you’re in the United States and you suspect a case of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline 24/7 at 888-3737-888, or text the hotline at 233-733. If you’re in Europe and you suspect a case of human trafficking, call a hotline in your country.

Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong movie fan, and his favorite genres are horror, superheroes, and giant monsters.

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  1. An absolute 5 star brilliant film. Have already seen it twice. The bigger the screen, the better it is.

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