Apocalyptic epic starts slow, finishes strong 

Titular character Furiosa, played by Anya Taylor-Joy
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures 

It is no exaggeration to say that 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road is one of my favorite action films of all time. It’s gritty, succinct, completely unhinged and once the pedal is put to the metal, it never lets up. 

With Fury Road’s relentless, high-octane pace it is a bit incongruous that the long-awaited follow-up/prequel Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga took its sweet time making it to theaters. 

Once I finally got to watch it, I was initially thrown for a bit of a loop–the latest film in George Miller’s post-apocalyptic Aussie saga is considerably slower in a few segments than its predecessor. But once I got past that initial speed bump, what I discovered was a beautifully insane film that, while not a classic like Fury Road, is still a whole lot of fun for action film fans. 

Unlike Mad Max: Fury Road, which takes place across a couple of days, Furiosa’s plot stretches on for over a decade and this wider time-frame causes some noticeable variations in pace. 

The titular character played by Charlize Theron in 2015 is portrayed first by Alyla Browne as a child then Anya Taylor-Joy as an adult. 

While Browne does a fantastic job, the story itself is kind of boring until things switch to the Taylor- Joy era about forty minutes in. 

Despite bursts of action things start off strangely lethargic, a fact that probably speaks more to the crazy velocity of Fury Road than any flaw in Furiosa

This relatively slow first half stays afloat largely thanks to the presence of Chris Hemsworth, who gives an energetic and impressive performance as the film’s villain Dementus (if you thought “Furiosa” was the only unabashedly stupid name in the movie then you probably don’t know Mad Max). 

Anya Taylor-Joy is wonderful to watch as well, but her character is much more moody and subdued. It falls to Hemsworth to keep the slow parts from becoming too dull. 

The taciturn nature of Furiosa’s character also makes her a bit of an enigma with not a lot of overt character development, but ultimately we know what we need to know, and that’s enough. 

When there is action in Furiosa (and there is plenty of it, don’t you worry about that) it is just as stylish and well-shot as what came before it, a smorgasbord of practical and creative stunts that further underlines the filmmaking prowess of George Miller. True, the biggest and most impressive of these scenes is very similar to what we saw in Fury Road, but if it is not broken, why fix it? 

Furiosa is an odyssey similar to Homer’s epic in that there is a clear goal that is often beset by lengthy distractions. It is big, it is simple and it is loud—pretty much everything I wanted from a prequel to one of the best action films of the twenty-first century. If you like grit and you like crazy, you have to witness Furiosa

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

Article written by TJ Reid

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