Furiosa verdict: Mad Max goes back to the future

Spoilers ahead! Here's the low-down on the latest Max flick


It’s been a whole nine years since Mad Max: Fury Road, and George Miller’s long-awaited prequel is in cinemas today! If you want to go in blind, look away now.  

Furiosa opens with the same narration and apocalyptic archival clips as Fury Road, making no apologies for being a direct extension of that insane universe.

A young version of Furiosa is yoinked from her family’s “place of abundance” within the first few minutes of the flick, kicking off a protracted game of cat-and-mouse involving her mother and Dementus’s crew, including David Field, aka Acko of Two Hands fame. 

We meet Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) atop an Aussie-designed, radial-powered JRL Lucky 7 chopper, cementing him as the biker bad guy we’ve been missing from Mad Max since 1981. His crew includes Mr Norton, Mr Harley and more, and he’s a proper successor to the Toecutter with his two-wheeled army, eccentric accent and lyrical turn of phrase.

As he hunts for the fabled green place, he’s led to Immortan Joe’s Citadel, which is operating at full force. Lachy Hulme takes over from the late, great Hugh Keays-Byrne as Joe, pulling double duties as a bloke called Rizzdale Pell (Wow!). Dementus eventually trades Furiosa to the Citadel, claiming Gas Town in an uneasy truce.   

Furiosa soon escapes Joe’s breeding program – as in Fury Road, he’s desperate for children that aren’t “genetic absurdities” – and disguises herself as a War Boy, working in the House of Holy Motors to build a twin-engine War Rig. 

Growing into an adept mechanic and fighter, she eventually befriends a skilled rig driver named Praetorian Jack, on a hill awfully reminiscent of the Mundi Mundi Lookout location from The Road Warrior. Jack wears a leather jacket with one shoulder pad, speaks minimally, and gets a sawn-off, double-barrel shotgun from the Bullet Farm. Make of that what you will! 

Relations between Dementus and the allied warlords soon fall apart, escalating into a Somme-like battle for guzzolene, water, and ammo. All the while, Furiosa’s still desperately trying to return home.  

Interestingly, Furiosa makes its climactic fight a brief montage rather than a lavish, extended battle like in Fury Road. More time is devoted to a quiet, minimalist chase as Furiosa systematically hunts down bikers in a stolen black hot rod. It’s an undeniable homage to the OG Mad Max, from the camerawork to the way Furiosa toys with fleeing, chained-up Dementus.    


While Furiosa might not not feel as tight and together as its predecessor, it comes pretty close across its 148-minute runtime. Sprawling multiple chapters covering the better part of 20 years, it’s more character-driven than Fury Road (which isn’t hard), and doesn’t assemble as big a roster of cars in any one place. Anya Taylor-Joy nails it as she grows into Charlize Theron’s original, brutalised take on Furiosa, and the new characters (like Piss Boy, Toe Jam and Smeg) meld seamlessly with the returning Fury Road cast.   

There’s oodles of juicy vehicle stuff (including cameos from the Gigahorse, Cranky Frank and others), with a bigger focus on geographical setpieces, worldbuilding and wasteland politics. Keep an eye out for heaps of fun cameos, from well-loved Aussies including a certain black-on-black Falcon hardtop. 

Also, don’t put too much stock in the trailers, either: there’s certainly more CGI than in Fury Road, but it’s not quite as jarring as the teaser footage would have you think!