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Simply put, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is one of the greatest action films of all-time.  The visuals, suspense, and mind-blowing anarchy is a marvel of modern filmmaking. Featuring very little dialogue and proving that technical mastery can overcome narrative deficiencies when executed to perfection, George Miller’s fourth installment in his legendary series revolutionized the way we see action forever.  

One could make the argument that Max (Tom Hardy) wasn’t even the main protagonist in FURY ROAD. Fueled by a magnetic performance by Charlize Theron, Furiosa emerged as the main hero of the film, and it came as no surprise when Miller announced that the next chapter in the Wasteland series would center around the metal-armed maiden of FURY ROAD. 

Much to the dismay of Theron herself, the role for the prequel was recast. Anya Taylor-Joy was tagged to play a younger version of Furiosa, in a film that would explore the events that led her to become one of cinema’s most empowered and lethal leading ladies.  

In FURY ROAD, Furiosa spent the entire film trying to return to the “Green Place.” This is where she grew up before she was kidnapped as a child and was an Eden-like land of abundance. FURIOSA begins at this very place. Furiosa (Alyla Browne) and her sister are picking fruit when they hear that they are not alone. They discover marauders have invaded their sanctuary, and while Furiosa attempts to destroy their bikes, she is taken in the process. With her mother close on their tails, the baddies bring her to Dementus (Chris Hemsworth), a Wasteland warlord who wants to be the undisputed king of the lawless land.

From here, a tale of revenge is born, and we meet a few familiar characters along the way. Immorten Joe, the main antagonist in FURY ROAD butts head with Dementus as the two aim to procure dominance in a long-dead world. Each are sick and deplorable, but at least it appears that Dementus is having a little fun along the way. Hemsworth plays the sadistic leader with a hilarious bravado, constantly looking to better himself in terms of knowledge and vocabulary, while gleefully torturing those who stand in his way.  

Though I couldn’t help but feel for Ms. Theron, (if she truly wanted this role, I genuinely see no reason why she couldn’t have revisited it) Taylor-Joy certainly held her own. She exudes the same grit, determination, and infallible toughness that made Furiosa such a memorable character the first time around.  

FURIOSA is much more story-driven than FURY ROAD, which seems a little odd considering Furiosa has such a sparse amount of lines. Hemsworth’s Dementus spends plenty of time letting his desires known to anyone who will listen, whereas Furiosa lets her actions speak for her. And, like FURY ROAD before it, it is the action that allows FURIOSA to become an immersive, death-defying journey that needs to be seen to be believed. Considering the unique acrobatics and highly original stunts of the previous installment, I wondered how Miller would evolve this time around. He did not disappoint, as some of the aerial attacks seen here are absolutely spectacular. It’s difficult to recapture the magic of seeing the pole-cats on FURY ROAD for the first time, and for that reason, I don’t think it was possible for this film to ever measure up to the last. It’s sort of the unfair tradeoff of producing a masterpiece. Taken on its own accord, it’s unlikely that we will see action sequences that approach this level of craftsmanship and marvel for the rest of the summer. The sheer attention to detail and over-the-top wizardry further solidifies Miller’s place on the Mount Rushmore of action filmmaking, and makes FURIOSA a cinematic experience that begs to be consumed on the biggest screen possible.


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Brian Miller