The Korea Herald


[Herald Review] ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ expands gripping universe of ‘Mad Max’ franchise

By Kim Da-sol

Published : May 27, 2024 - 12:31

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Anya Taylor-Joy (second from right) plays Furiosa in “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” (Warner Bros.) Anya Taylor-Joy (second from right) plays Furiosa in “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” (Warner Bros.)

The hit action blockbuster "Mad Max" franchise has returned after nine years. This time, instead of releasing a sequel to 2015's “Mad Max: Fury Road,” director George Miller decided to create a prequel to that film with a young Furiosa (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) narrating her 18-year-long vengeful journey back home to find warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) in “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.”

What’s unique about this grand-scale movie is the universe designed by “Mad Max” franchise mastermind George Miller. His very first “Mad Max” movie came out in 1980. The movie spawned three sequels, each bigger and more ambitious than the previous one.

Through “Furiosa,” the 79-year-old Australian auteur director shows he is still pushing his limits of what stories he can tell on the big screen.

“When you make this kind of movie into a series, the most important thing is to not repeat the same story or reproduce itself,” Miller told reporters during a press conference in Seoul last month prior to the movie’s opening here on May 22.

Miller expanded the locations for his storytelling to three different places in the Wasteland – the Citadel, Gas Town and Bullet Farm – creating gripping, nearly non-stop action scenes set against various backgrounds.

A scene from “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” (Warner Bros.) A scene from “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” (Warner Bros.)

From the propulsive, dynamic chasing of a biker horde led by Dementus to combat the War Boys on a long and sleek silver truck involving shootouts from parachutes up in the sky, the scenes are full of tension and even overwhelming.

Anya Taylor-Joy’s nuanced acting of a young woman with her face covered with dust, her head shaved and left only with fury, offers a heavy presence to the audience.

While many questioned whether she would be able to play the role that Charlize Theron played nine years ago successfully, Taylor-Joy’s version of Furiosa depicts a character bent on revenge though still a precarious young woman heading home.

Despite her few lines throughout the movie, Taylor-Joy speaks and delivers her inner feelings and the emotional development of her character through her eyes.

Chris Hemsworth (third from left) plays Dementus in “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” (Warner Bros.) Chris Hemsworth (third from left) plays Dementus in “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” (Warner Bros.)

Although the way Furiosa's character develops and her quest for vengeance against Dementus take priority, Hemsworth cheerfully leads throughout the film's 148-minute-long running time in his unprecedented villain role – probably one of the best new baddies to grace the big screen in recent years. Shirtless, with a strong, nasal Australian accent, he flawlessly portrays the immature, humorous Dementus.

“Furiosa: Mad Max Saga” opened in local theaters on May 22.