FILM REVIEW — “Furiousa” is a fun action fantasy

Published 12:14 am Friday, May 24, 2024

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“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga”

Warner Brothers Films

Directed by George Miller

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Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke, Charlee Fraser and Alyla Browne

Rated R

3 Stars

“Mad Max: Fury Road” was the 2015 film that surprised everybody by being such a great action blockbuster that it was nominated for ten Academy Awards, ultimately going home with six statues.

This week sees the release of its prequel, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” and while I doubt that this will be another Oscar juggernaut, I am thrilled to report it certainly lives up to expectations as far as being an edge-of-your seat action thrill ride.

This is the story of how a young Furiosa was kidnapped by a despotic warlord, and how her experiences hardened her into the kick butt action heroine we met in the last movie (Charlize Theron).

The character is played by Alyla Browne as a child and Anya Taylor-Joy as a young firebrand. We also get Chis Hemsworth (and his prosthetic nose) as the loveably loony warlord, Dark Dementus.

This is essentially a story of survival and revenge, and those major motives give the film its momentum. That’s good, because if you stop to examine the minutia of the story, it often turns nonsensical.

I get things might go a little bonkers in the post-nuclear holocaust that forms the world of this franchise, but there are too many story elements that simply don’t make sense.

Then again, anybody who is stopping to examine the story points is missing the point of this movie. “Furisoa” is designed to be a high-camp action movie, where the characters engage in some way-over-the-top acting before jumping in a crazy car for a physics-defying chase sequence.

These outlandishly armored vehicles have always been at the heart of what makes the “Mad Max” movies so much fun to watch, and the filmmakers manage to bring them to life once again.

This is a movie with some truly jaw-dropping stunt work. It’s almost as exciting as what we saw in the last movie.

I find it funny that in a time where “The Fall Guy” is in theaters as a love letter to stunt performers, “Furiosa” shows up to say, “hold my beer,” and proceeds to give us the best stunt sequences of the year.

As for the acting, well that doesn’t live up to the rest of the movie.

Taylor-Joy only has a few lines of dialogue, so she is forced to act mostly through defiant stares.

I suppose she does as well as can be expected, but when she is juxtaposed against this post-apocalyptic world, the actress sometimes gets swallowed up by the scenery.

Hemsworth makes a bigger impression, but it’s a hammy, scenery-chewing performance that comes pretty close to becoming cartoonish. It’s an intriguing mix of menace and lunacy.

I found his character to be a lot of fun, although I would understand if it’s too much for some audiences.

Finally, let’s give some credit to the cinematography and sound design crews. This film looks fantastic, but for my money, it’s the speaker-rattling sound that really sells this story.

Obviously, you’ll want to see this film in the biggest theater, with the loudest speakers possible to get the full experience.

I do think the film is a little too long, losing momentum in its final act, but I suspect most audiences will enjoy the spectacle and forgive the bloat.

“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” doesn’t quite live up to the technical craftsmanship of the 2015 film, but it still has plenty to excite both “Mad Max” fans and general audiences alike.

It turns out that there’s still plenty of gas in the tank for this fifth film in the franchise that shows no sign of slowing down.

Movie reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week by Port Arthur Newsmedia. Sean welcomes your comments via email at