Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga Review

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga Review

Mad Max: Fury Road was a project that George Miller had been cooking for a while and after much development hell, he delivered it and most people who saw it, loved it. There was no denying some disappointment for those who loved the first three Mad Max films and felt duped into a bait-and-switch. Fury Road was not a Mad Max adventure but was focused on the character of Furiosa and her revenge plan to free Immortan Joe’s breeders.

Max is merely a drifter who got tangled in Furiosa’s story. It wasn’t like the other films where the story revolved around him and his actions. At best, he was a supporting character lucky to be introduced first. It seemed like Furiosa would be the focus of the series moving forward and that future films would center on her… but there weren’t any until nine years later. By then, the world moved on and everyone got tired of the old bait-and-switch routine that affected every movie franchise.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga makes no pretenses that it is Furiosa’s movie and that there won’t be any Max Rockatansky leading the charge against psychos in the wasteland. Can a Mad Max film work without any Max in it? Was the nine-year gap between Fury Road and Furiosa worth the wait? Was this even a story that needed to be told? Find out in our Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga review!

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)
Production Company: Kennedy Miller Mitchell, Domain Entertainment
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Director: George Miller
Release Date: May 24, 2024

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is the most different from any Mad Max film before it. Typically these films follow a story that usually takes place over a few days and have a breakneck pace where the action ramps up as the circumstances intensify.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is exactly what it promises: a saga. Taking place over many years, viewers witness almost the entirety of Furiosa’s life until the events of Fury Road.

George Miller has great aspirations for Furiosa and this film is less like a Western where the mysterious gunman comes to town and gets involved but is more akin to an epic hero’s journey like the classic Conan the Barbarian (1982) or more recently The Northman (2022).

The plot and structure are also very similar to those films: Furiosa begins young and is hardened by a ruthless antagonist who also is like a father figure. Along the way, the hero learns how to survive, finds love, loses love, and gets their revenge for the murder of their parents.

It’s a classic story that works and Furiosa makes the most out of it thanks to its vivid world and high-octane action sequences. The most interesting aspect of the story is the power struggle between Dementus and Immortan Joe.

The strategies between these two warlords trying to outwit each other are almost like watching a Kurosawa Samurai war epic. Furiosa’s revenge story seems so small and played out in comparison to the outlandish commanders fighting to take control.

Chris Hemsworth as Dementus is like a comical Thulsa Doom, but way more irresponsible and chaotic. He is a colorful biker warlord who commands a horde of bikers due to his brilliant cunning and understanding of how people think.

Dementus may be the smartest psycho in the wasteland due to his pragmatism and fast thinking. It’s understandable how and why he can lead such a massive gang while still treating anyone like they’re meat to be used and disposed of when it benefits him.

Dementus is not only a frightfully clever and worthy antagonist, but he also is somewhat self-aware. He calls out Furiosa’s bloodlust for revenge in one of the most powerful scenes and explains to her in a very Dementus way that she isn’t special and that he went through the same thing she did. Getting revenge won’t make the pain go away and her insane brutality will make her just like him and he is 100% correct.

Through the absurd nose prosthetic and exaggerated teeth and beard, Hemsworth poured a lot of personality into Dementus. He is the highlight of the film and for a moment, it feels like it is his movie.

He is a character with a sense of circus ringmaster-like showmanship, but he shows signs of suffering from a terrible trauma when you least expect it. Mad Max villains tend to be cartoonishly intimidating, but Dementus is extra scary because he’s believable and raw.

Anya Taylor-Joy looks good and is easy on the eyes, but she sticks out in this world. Charlize Theron bulked up and probably could take on a single war boy in a fight. Anya is very thin and dainty and looks like she would be beaten down by the unforgiving Australian weather.

She lacks the physicality to be believable as an action hero and she doesn’t get much to work with script-wise since she barely has any lines and doesn’t show up until about 30 minutes into the film.

Alyla Browne who plays the young Furiosa gets more to do and shows more range than Anya with less time in the film. There was some AI trickery used to make her resemble Anya and the effect was seamless. This was something you won’t notice unless you are looking for it and is preferable to digitally de-age actors.

Not all of the effects are as convincing. There are some very cheap and sloppy green screen effects and unconvincing CGI. It is a far cry from The Road Warrior and Thunder Dome where actors were in real danger and would move more carefully, making the sequences feel more tense and frightful.

When CGI is overused and actors are free to act however they want, it feels weightless and fake. There were several instances of this in Fury Road, but Furiosa further compounds it and the believability in certain scenes is compromised. This artificial aspect of these films is something that is at odds with itself since the first three feel completely separated from Fury Road and Furiosa.

The apocalypse in the trilogy seemed like it happened only a few years ago as seen in the original Mad Max where the first signs of the failing society could be seen. In Fury Road and Furiosa, the wasteland doesn’t even feel like it is on the same planet.

The way how everything has degenerated, it looks like the apocalypse happened hundreds of years ago. Coming from this, it is best to look at Fury Road and Furiosa as a reboot series that isn’t connected to the original trilogy.

If you look at the Furiosa movies as their own thing, it is easy to get swept up by the incredible production design of the sets, extras, props, and costumes. They have more in common with the style and tone of the 2015 Mad Max game than the original trilogy. The infrastructure for Gas Town, Bullet Farm, and Immortan Joe’s Citadel are too unrealistic to take seriously.

War boys and Dementus’ gang are extremely fit and buff when realistically they would be no bigger than Mel Gibson was in the old films, if they’re lucky. The amount of protein and calories required to become so massive would not be feasible in the wasteland. It worked for Lord Humungous because he was a freakish anomaly, but in Furiosa, almost every guy was as large as he was.

The way gangs and psychos use and waste fuel throughout the film does not match the intended sense of desperation and hopelessness of the apocalypse. Gas Town is depicted as having a massive lake of crude oil.

The quarry to mine materials for gunpowder at the Bullet Farm looks like the Grand Canyon and is festooned with digging equipment and elaborate infrastructure. Barter Town from Thunder Dome running on pig shit was more plausible.

The unbelievability of the depiction of the world in Furiosa has to do with the limitless freedom to render anything in CGI. Keeping the world real in the older films may have been restrictive and hard to construct, but it made those films more immersive, visceral, and raw.

Sights like the absurdly massive and immaculate polished chrome tanker truck are visually striking, but also unbelievable that the rag-tag group of ill-equipped mechanics and war boys could feasibly construct with limited resources.

The action scenes are legitimately thrilling and imaginative. They are shot and perfectly edited, combining various special effect techniques from practical to digital. Miller truly knows how to play with his toys and he holds nothing back for Furiosa. He also does not cut corners on the brutal violence and there are some impressive gory shots peppered into the film for dramatic effect.

Furiosa is the longest Mad Max film since it depicts years of a character’s life. It is paced with more breaks and moments to breathe which are wonderful scenes of world-building that show how the inner workings of the relationship between the three kingdoms operate. As long as it is, you won’t feel its length, but you may be surprised by how utterly packed it is with things to see and appreciate.

At times it can feel like life is disposable apart from the protagonist. A more believable story would feature Dementus being killed by his men due to the rate he uses them as fodder, leaving child Furiosa shocked and disappointed she couldn’t have done it herself.

Furiosa veers into being a pulpy fantasy rather than a gritty fight for survival in an uncompromising wasteland. Being a prequel also has the problem that stakes feel very low since everyone knows Furiosa won’t die and that she will inevitably become the character we see in Fury Road. She isn’t much of a character in this film and shows more growth and change in the 2015 film than in this story. Most of the time she is quietly seething and biding her time to get what she wants.

Did Furiosa need a film to show how she was kidnapped and ended up working for Immortan Joe? Not really. Her story was a vehicle to depict the insane world Miller had designed. “Remember me?”, is not the cool and cathartic line Miller thinks it is. He cares deeply for this epic he has in mind because between the 2015 game, Fury Road, and Furiosa, there is more continuity for the series than there ever was for the original trilogy.

There are callbacks and call-forwards for both films and even the game. Chumbucket and Scrotus are characters from the game and they appear in Furiosa, and while their designs are very different, their concepts remain the same.

Despite the lack of realism compared to the original trilogy, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a righteous and enthralling epic that didn’t deserve to bomb at the box office.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is one of the most technical and intricately constructed epic action movies shot in years. Not all the effects are the best, but it makes up for it with the vision that Miller is trying to achieve. If the people saw it, Furiosa would have been a veritable crowd-pleaser.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga was reviewed with a digital streaming license purchased by Niche Gamer. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy hereFuriosa: A Mad Max Saga is now available via Vudu.

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The Verdict: 8

The Good

  • Some of the best action filmmaking ever conceived
  • Chris Hemsworth steals the show as Dementus and depicts a new kind of antagonist for the Mad Max series
  • Lavish and elaborate production design where you really see the money burning on screen
  • Masterfully shot and edited
  • Invisible and seamless use of AI for the recasting of characters

The Bad

  • Questionable CGI effects and lack of realism
  • Anya Taylor-Joy lacks the physicality to be believable in the Mad Max world
  • Furiosa is not that interesting of a character


A youth destined for damnation.

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