Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga – sand, sweat, and Mark Kermode’s movie review (video).

Mark Kermode, our man of many movies, is here to watch this franchise’s well-trod path to destruction in Oz with his take on the movie Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. Watch his thoughts on this here video.

And what about us here at SFcrowsnest Towers? Read on…

Well, folks, George Miller has once again dragged us kicking and screaming into the dusty, dystopian hellscape that is the Mad Max universe. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, the latest installment, lands with all the subtlety of a war rig crashing through your living room. Directed, co-written, and co-produced by Miller, this film is both a spin-off and prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). And, yes, it’s as bonkers as it sounds.

A Plot Hotter Than the Wasteland Sun

The story dives into the early years of our heroine, Imperator Furiosa, portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy, who does her best to channel the ferocity Charlize Theron brought to the role. The film opens in a barren wasteland where every drop of water and gallon of gasoline is worth its weight in gold – or human lives. Enter Warlord Dementus, played by Chris Hemsworth, who kidnaps young Furiosa and her sister, Valkyrie, with the charming intention of turning them into his personal trophies.

Furiosa, showing a knack for sabotage from a young age, tries to blow up the raiders’ bikes but ends up captured. Her mother, Mary (Charlee Fraser), follows in a futile rescue attempt that ends with her crucifixion and Furiosa’s heart-wrenching vow for revenge. You know, just a typical family day out in post-apocalyptic Australia.

A Cast to Match the Chaos

Anya Taylor-Joy is joined by Alyla Browne, who portrays Furiosa as a child, blending her features with Taylor-Joy’s through the magic of AI. Hemsworth’s Dementus is every bit the menacing warlord, while Tom Burke’s Praetorian Jack and Lachy Hulme’s Immortan Joe round out the ensemble of lunatics and tyrants vying for power.

The rest of the cast features enough muscle and machismo to make a bodybuilding convention look like a knitting circle. Nathan Jones returns as Rictus Erectus, and Angus Sampson reprises his role as the Organic Mechanic. The only thing missing is a cameo from Mad Max himself, but don’t worry, Jacob Tomuri steps in for a brief appearance.

Production Woes and Wonders

Ah, the production tales. Miller intended to film Furiosa back-to-back with Fury Road, but after several years in development hell and legal battles with Warner Bros., he finally got the green light. The film’s principal photography spanned from June to October 2022 in the wilds of Australia, complete with the usual array of high-octane stunts and special effects.

Miller, true to form, brought back the winning team from Fury Road. Composer Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL), costume designer Jenny Beavan, and editor (and Miller’s wife) Margaret Sixel all returned to ensure this film looked and sounded every bit as intense as its predecessor.

A Madcap Premise with More Action than Sense

The plot? Oh, it’s a doozy. Furiosa’s life of captivity, rebellion, and ultimate rise to power is peppered with scenes of her trying to outsmart and outfight every brute and warlord who crosses her path. Hemsworth’s Dementus is particularly unhinged, offering a performance that’s half Shakespearean villain, half Saturday morning cartoon antagonist.

From Furiosa’s ingenious escape attempts to her transformation into Immortan Joe’s top lieutenant, the film spares no detail in her gritty evolution. There’s a love story too, with Praetorian Jack (Burke), because nothing says romance like mutual survival in a wasteland.

Critical Reception: Divisive as Ever

Critics have, predictably, had a field day. Rotten Tomatoes shows an 89% approval rating, with praise for its emotional depth and relentless action sequences. Meanwhile, Metacritic’s more sober 79 suggests that some critics found the relentless onslaught a bit too much.

Pete Hammond of Deadline Hollywood hailed it as the best Mad Max screenplay ever, while Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian was effusive about Taylor-Joy’s convincing action heroine. But not everyone was won over. Owen Gleiberman of Variety found the film pretentious, and the BBC’s Nicholas Barber thought it was a sandy, sadistic slog. Ah, the sweet symphony of critical discord.

The Verdict

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a film that defies easy categorization. It’s a spectacle, a relentless barrage of action and emotion that leaves you breathless, bewildered, and perhaps a bit sandy. George Miller, once again, proves he’s the mad genius of post-apocalyptic cinema, even if it means dragging us through the desert one more time. So, if you’re in the mood for two hours of adrenaline-pumping madness and aren’t afraid of a little (or a lot) of grit, buckle up and dive into the chaos. Just remember to bring your own water – you’ll need it.


Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

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