Why ‘Furiosa’ Should End ‘Mad Max’ Franchise

Bloated prequel doubles down on action, leaves us woozy and confused

There’s something surreal about a 70-something auteur like George Miller directing films like a Red Bull-addicted teen.

Miller proved it anew with “Mad Max: Fury Road,” an overrated but dizzying display that revived the dormant franchise. That film’s prequel, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” offers even more of that visceral pop.

So much more, in fact, that you’ll be begging for the end credits. It’s numb-a-thon like few others, a crush of post-apocalyptic tropes in search of a point.

It never arrives.


The film opens with a lazy rehash of how we got here. Wars. Pollution. Greed, Yada yada yada. Even “Furiosa” seems disinterested in the post-apocalyptic details.

We’re immediately plunged into the steampunk world of Mad Max sans Max, complete with cool cars, greasepaint-clad workers and key characters from “Fury Road.”

Yes, this is Furiosa’s origin story, and the film delivers her biography in Jackson Pollock fashion. The narrative, broken into chapters, tracks her evolution from an orphaned pre-teen (Alyla Browne, excellent) to a world-weary warrior played by Anya Taylor-Joy.

Theron’s gave Furiosa a formidable presence. She wasn’t muscle-bound, but you would never mess with her. Taylor-Joy also has screen presence to burn, but she can’t conjure what Theron gave to the franchise.


It doesn’t help that she’s more survivor than warrior. The story doesn’t give her enough bravura moments to show why anyone should take her seriously.

The rest is a mess, a crush of warring tribes battling over oil and weaponry. The story bumps along, veering from one confusing set piece to the next. Some individual moments stun, showing Miller’s strength in crafting loopy, one-of-a-kind action beats. Then, we’re back to the cinematic mayhem and we unplug from the storytelling mainframe.

Again and again.


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Chris Hemsworth gets a meaty role as Dementus, the story’s villain. He’s a blustery baddie with a soft spot for Furiosa. That angle is quickly discarded, and the film is all the worse for it.

Then again, why bother with such trifles as storytelling nuance? We got sand, car crashes and mayhem aplenty?

The more the story lumbers on, the less sense Dementus makes. The screenplay doesn’t know what to do with Hemsworth’s baddie, leaving a void in the story that can’t be filled. The MCU star’s decision to ham it up makes things worse.

That approach worked for Jason Momoa in “Fast X.” Not here.

Miller recently weighed in against nasty things like “dialogue,” and his angst couldn’t be any clearer on screen. The conversations here careen from perfunctory to pointless, with wit in very short supply.

We’d kill for some comic relief or just a few well-deployed yuks to make the grim business go down easier. Nothing doing.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga Movie Clip - Light Me Up (2024)

Taylor-Joy has little to say, but previous stars have left an impression with far less dialogue. If memory serves Mel Gibson didn’t wax philosophical in the original “Mad Max” trilogy.

That’s not to say “Furiosa” lacks serious selling points.

Tom Holkenborg’s score is sublime, suggesting what Hans Zimmer might bring to the saga. The visual imagination, while cribbing liberally from past “Mad Max” tales, remains fascinating.

Production values are off the charts, and it appears practical stunts were the order of the day. It shows.

And so what? We just endured “The Fall Guy,” another big-budget yarn with cool stunts and a mindless story. Is this how Hollywood wants to revive the film industry?

Good luck.

“Furiosa’s” final moments aren’t what we expect. It’s worse, a showdown with no tension or point. The same holds for this unnecessary prequel.

HiT or Miss: Like nonstop action that never leaves an imprint in your brain? “Furiosa” is the film event of the year.


  1. Little girl superheroes and European culture misappropriation for Diversity and inclusion. Stop changing genders and the ethnicity of heroes. That’s a good start.

    When will Disney make a movie for boys? The femininity of men that Progressives DEI want. If Davy Crockett was to be remade by Disney, he would be a black lesbian. Where have all the white man gone?

  2. I have no interest in watching a girl boss prequel featuring a character who was mildly annoying the last time around. Where’s a Mad Max sequel with Mel Gibson?

  3. Having seen Furiousa twice now, I think most critics are being a bit too harsh on this film. First because the expectations were too high after Fury Road and because of the Mad Max tie in.

    This film is not as strong as Dune or Dune 2 but easily better than Fall Guy and equal or better than the recent Planet of the Apes sequel. R rated films never gross as much as PG 13 – a lesson Marvel knows well.

    A few years ago before girlboss fatigue/backlash set it in, this film would have done better BUT here is my big complaint the narrative about this film is that it’s a flop/not good because of box receipts on Friday. My daughter (a high schooler) even commented on its ‘flop’ when I mentioned I was going to see it again.

    When has opening day box office eve been and indicator or quality. The recent KvsG a recent example of a much worse film performing better at the box office because it was not saddled by the instant flop label.

    1. I’m adding – this film made around 40% of it’s reported budget on opening weekend $70m vs $168m, it’s at the start of a very week summer release schedule, competing with movies ‘rescued’ from streaming release can we give it more than opening day numbers before calling it a flop?

      self fulfilling prediction

  4. Chuckle….

    The franchise was over the second they made a Mad Max movie that didn’t have Mad Max in it.

    STUDIO: Here. Drink this.
    AUDIENCE: What is it?
    STUDIO: Lemonade.
    AUDIENCE: But there are no lemons in it. It’s only water.
    STUDIO: Just drink it. (That’ll be $15.00)

      1. They probably think this approach worked for Marvel and Star Wars so it’ll work for Mad Max twice. This is the second Furiosa character in 2 recent Mad Max movies. No one needs even one. Unearned Girl Boss characters continue. The Woke decade will continue to destroy cinema.

  5. The franchise was ruined when they made the lead character a woman who would be chained to something and used for fun in any post apocalyptic reality. Women do not lead men naturally and “natural ” is all you’re left with when there is no law.

  6. Thanks Christian for giving us a heads up on this. Far from a “s*** thinkpiece,” I would say you reviewed fairly, if perhaps giving a little more credit than the actors or creators deserve. As others have noted, the ability to act, stage a decent film, and write a decent story are sadly but not surprisingly lacking in Hollywood today. People in this profession don’t work, they do not live real lives, very few have any connection to normal human beings or culture. They live and play in an echo chamber where other mental midgets, uninformed, and over-worshiped affirm and award each other. Save your money, watch any movie made before 2000.

  7. Some day the movie-watching public will be able to see characters in stories without being spoon-fed those characters’ entire life histories in a later movie. This is apparently not that day.

  8. While this is a disappointing review, I’ll still watch it, but at home and not in a theater. I don’t trust that entire experience anymore.

  9. I’ll probably still see it anyway. Mindless action flicks are fun in their own way, as long as I’m not being lectured on feminism, global warming or trans rights, and it doesn’t sound like that’s the case here.
    Besides, Taylor-Joy is a babe. Count me in.

    1. Taylor-Joy is too skinny to be any kind of warrior. Not dissing her per se. I liked her in The Menu.

    1. Film critics have access to press screenings of films before the general audience. In the past, the studios demanded we hold our reviews until the day of release. Now, it’s customary for studios to allow reviews to run prior to opening day.

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