Review: Latest Max Max installment a gorgeous prequel

‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ a satisfying prequel to ‘FuryRoad’

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Where: In theatres
What: Movie, 148 mins.
When: Fri., May 24
Genre: Sci-fi, Action
Rating: NNNN (out of 5)
Why you should watch: Never has a post-apocalyptic hellscape looked more beautiful as George Miller wrings all the beauty out of the Australian desert in an excellent new instalment of the Mad Max universe

A POST-APOCALYPTIC WORLD has never looked better as Mad Max creator George Miller, who directed and co-wrote this excellent new instalment, builds on the momentum of the previous, superb Charlize Theron-starring Mad Max: Fury Road.

The lead bar was set very high with Miller’s last instalment and the challenge was met. The story is compelling, still feeling fresh, unlike the tired offerings of the MCU. The filmmaking is gorgeous, the art direction inventive and outrageous, the sound is powerful and key in a film with minimal dialogue and one lead who is mute much of the film, with thunderous chords of dread and tonal crashes filling the space left in the dialogue and the massive landscapes of this beautiful film.

Technically, this is a prequel to Fury Road, and we are getting the back story to Theron’s extremely pissed off and revenge-seeking Furiosa character in that film.

Chris Hemsworth as Dementus is classic supervillain bad, easy to hate but demanding of respect for his bad-guy inventiveness, cutting quips and the brutal but creative, medieval ways he eliminates enemies. Dementus has all the ragged glory of Mad Max bad guys, wearing a filthy cape while carrying a teddy bear and powering a multi-motorcycle rig that looks like a Roman chariot.

As with Fury Road, women are the main heroes in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, including the titular lead expertly played by Anya Taylor-Joy, and it is still satisfying and fresh seeing women kicking major ass in a mega-million-dollar worldwide action flick. Furiosa doesn’t have a lot to say, her weapons work, inventive attacks and escapes often saying all that needs to be said.

The story, and there really is one, is told in chapters as we advance from Furiosa’s kidnapping as a child by Dementus, her life as Dementus’s “daughter” — she isn’t buying it — to her eventual “freedom” and lust for revenge.

The battle scenes don’t have the seen-it-all-before feel of MCU smash-a-thons, the jerry-rigged weaponry, patched-together “hybrid” monster truck vehicles and gasp-inducing fighting methods all consistently inventive, exciting and fresh.

At over two hours, the film never drags: the characters are all strong and sufficiently world wise and witty; the story worth telling; the machines and weaponry worthy of marvel and the settings impossibly epic and brutally gorgeous.

Miller proves there’s lots of life — and death — left in the Mad Max franchise. While movie exhibitors wring their hands looking for the next Barbenhiemer, count on Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga to be this year’s summer smash hit.