Praetorian Jack drives the war rig, Furiosa rides shotgun, and three war boys are visible through the open back of the cab5 Thoughts on… Furiosa (2024)

Furiosa was worth the long wait. I went this Memorial Day Weekend and saw the film in Cinemark XD (an experience simliar to IMAX: see the pros and cons here) and am planning a return trip midweek. Here are my five thoughts on the film. Spoilers will be kept to a minimum. I would not dare to ruin someone’s enjoyment of a Mad Max movie.

I watched a lot of car movies in the week leading up to the film, in no small part thanks to this listicle from The Ringer. I attempted to takes notes but it became futile. What notes I have are at the bottom of this review.


1. Furiosa operates at a different frequency than Fury Road (2015), which is a good thing.

Writer / Director / Producer George Miller has been making Mad Max movies since 1979, and every movie has its own flavor. The Furiosa trailers had me worried that Miller would succumb to franchise brain given just how dire action cinema has become in the last decade. My worries were for nought: Furiosa gives vignettes in the life of the title character while also showing a system of human interdependence and trade that is only hinted at in Fury Road.


2. There are multiple stunts that will cause you to gasp.

Miller is the greatest active* action director. He and Margaret Sixel, his wife and editor, present action sequences and stunts better than just about anyone out there. I won’t spoil anything but this movie had me awestruck a dozen times in its runtime. We get the full spread: motorcycles, monster trucks, a war rig, fistfights, acrobatics, explosions, and the series’ trademark automobile carnage.

*with apologies to Jackie Chan, James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow, and SS Rajamouli 


3. Miller retains his gift for naming.

The cast of characters includes: Dr. Dementus, Praetorian Jack, The History Man, The People Eater, Organic Mechanic, Scrotus, Toe Jam, Vulture, Smeg, The Octoboss, Big Jilly, Fang, Mr. Harley and Mr. Davidson, Squint, Black Thumb, Hungry Eyes, Sad Eyes, Snapper, Pissboy, Chumbucket, Rakka the Brakkish, Hazz the Valiant, and The Echo Man.


4. Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth are terrific.

Branson Reese said in his Letterboxd review that Hemsworth walks a Jack Sparrow tightrope and never quite falls. This is apt, although I think that Dementus has more depth to his character than does the boozy pirate. Dementus is a charismatic doofus but he is also a guy with immense personal traumas, an incredible fashion sense, a gift for speechmaking, and a drive to be in charge. He’s a villain like so many in Miller’s films who justifies bad behavior with the delusion that he’s just trying to provide for his own tribe. It makes for a nuanced interplay between the characters, as we almost want to root for Dementus and can see why he’s doing what he’s doing.

Taylor-Joy as Furiosa, meanwhile, gives a near wordless performance in the grand tradition of these movies. Furiosa’s silence is a coping mechanism as well as a means to avoid detection, but we see through the vignettes how this silence changes her personality. Taylor-Joy is especially good in The Stowaway vignette, where we finally get a full-on cacophony of cars, flames, screams, and war boys.

My chief complaint for the film is that Taylor-Joy is not in the first 45 minutes, as Furiosa is played by younger actress Alyla Browne for her earliest scenes. However, Browne is also great. Everybody’s great. Good movie!


5. The Bommy Knocker is the most Mad Max thing in this movie.

This is the war rig’s rear defense. You’ll know it when you see it. I’m not saying another word.


Screenshot from Mad Max (1979). A biker flees on a highway, pursued by a policeman in a black sports car that is just out of sight.

Screenshot from Mad Max (1979). A biker is still fleeing from a police car, and the car is much closer to the biker, who is looking over their shoulder at the car.

Screenshot from Mad Max (1979). The police car has caught up to the fleeing biker and is nearly on the biker's back tire.

These are taken from screenshots of Mad Max (1979) on my TV, so the frames are wonky and the angle is odd.

And here are my notes from the lead-up to our Furiosa viewing.


A can of Foster's beer sits on a table next to the case for a 4k version of the film Mad Max

The 2024 Memorial Day Week(end) Furiosa Bender and Celebratory Committee

Monday, May 20

I purchased Vanishing Point (1971) and The Seven-Ups (1973) during April without thinking about how they may have influenced George Miller or at least how they swam in the same thematic waters as his films. Happy accidents.

We watched Vanishing Point, 100 minutes of high-speed driving through the desert with a near-wordless protagonist. The film is a little more artsy than Mad Max, and has several flashbacks to driver Kowalski’s life before his race across the desert. This one is impossible to find on streaming, and I was fortunate to find a blu ray on eBay for about 20 bucks.


Wednesday, May 22

Regarding the 20-film car chase article from The Ringer: we owned 14 out of 20 of the films on disc, and I’d seen 17 of 20. I addressed the gaps with some eBay purchases (note: I did not buy the Bourne or Fast & Furious movies. So we now own 18/20). I’m just waiting on the arrival of original Gone in 60 Seconds (1974).


Thursday, May 23

I watched Rat Race (2001), the stinker from the once-great (Great? Really? –Ed.) Jerry Zucker. This fulfilled a requirement for my movie group and fit the theme of car chases. This movie is quite indebted to It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World althought at half of the runtime. It has people scrambling for Silver City, New Mexico, in helicopters, trains, jeeps, cable guy vans, stolen convertibles, cars owned by war criminals, buses full of Lucille Ball impersonators, and a hot air balloon.


Friday, May 24

The weekend proper has started. Watches: Mad Max and The Seven-Ups, two movies with excellent car chases.


  • I purchased a case of Foster’s oil cans only to learn that they now brew it in effing Texas. I hate globalization. Had I known that it was not actual Australian beer, I would have opted for any number of more palatable brews.
  • I set up rules for pacing myself. For every alcoholic drink that I have over the weekend, I must do 10 squats and drink 12 ounces of water. I maintained the squat-to-beer ratio but fell off on the water.
  • This was my first viewing of my 4k disc of Mad Max. I bought a new 4k player as my previous one would not play 4ks without skipping. Online research revealed the old one to be notoriously bad. So it goes.
    • It is blazing hot outside (85F) and the second floor of my house is sweltering.
    • The Night Rider is played by the same actor who played Dr. Death in the great Australian bikey film Stone (1974). Hugh Keays-Byrne, who plays The Toecutter in Mad Max and Immortan Joe in Fury Road, is also in Stone. Miller/Kennedy were clearly influenced by Stone, and understandably so. It’s a big recommend from me.
    • The diagetic saxophone reveal always makes me laugh.
    • I forgot how pervasive is The Halls of Justice theme.
  • The Seven-Ups was viewed on a DVD. This is the best I could do, sadly. This is a movie that is due for a good restoration.
    • A spiritual sequel to The French Connection. If you enjoyed that film, I certainly recommend The Seven-Ups.
    • The car chase runs through parts of New York City that I’ve never seen before and features the same kind of no-permit, stolen shots that The French Connection did. The chase is an all-timer.

The butcher’s bill: two 25oz cans of Foster’s, four Jack-and-Cokes, 60 squats, 24 oz water


Saturday, May 25

Another day of terrible heat. Watches: Red Heat (1988) and Duel (1971). A friend joined us for these movies, which thankfully doubled the rate of consumption of Foster’s to the point where only a few cans remain in my fridge.


  • Red Heat is one of Walter Hill’s lesser films, but has its charms. Arnold and Jim Belushi have good chemistry and the supporting case includes Alleged Beef favorites like Gina Gershon and Laurence Fishburne.
    • The finale of the film features a bus chase through Chicago followed by a bus joust. It also has totally bonkers sound design, with every handgun booming like cannon fire. So I’m counting it toward Furiosa weekend.
  • Duel is Steven Spielberg’s first feature-length film, and it was originally shot as a television movie.
    • This movie is essentially one long chase and like Fury Road, is punctuated by brief moments of tense downtime.
    • I’d never seen this movie and was vaguely aware of it. I’m so glad that I bought a copy. It is incredible.
    • The entire story is a saleman in a Plymouth Valiant being harrassed by someone driving a rusted tanker truck. They drive through the desert hills of California and the salesman tries to stay alive. It’s tense.

The butcher’s bill: three 25oz cans of Foster’s, 30 squats, 24 oz water. I truly hate the taste of Foster’s and hope to never drink it again.


Sunday, May 26

FURIOSA TIME. I was unable to rewatch Mad Max 2 (1981), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1984), or Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) before Furiosa, but I’ve seen all of them in the past six months, so it was a minor failure.