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KPCW sends its most discerning moviegoers to the movies each week to let you know which films are worth going to and which are a pass. The Friday Film Review airs at 7:20 a.m., during the Noon News and in The Local View. KPCW Friday Film Reviewers are: Barb Bretz, Rick Brough, Mark Harrington and Linda Jager.

Friday Film Review | 'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga'

This week’s Friday Film Review looks at “Furiosa-A Mad Max Saga,” and bids farewell to Kimball Junction’s Redstone 8 Theaters, which closed this week. New owner Larry H. Miller Megaplex Theaters expects to begin renovations in July and re-open a state-of-the-art luxury theater complex by the holiday season. 

My routine for this week’s film review of “Furiosa-A Mad Max Saga took on new meaning as its own legacy run, down the gauntlet of Park City’s fury road, SR224, to visit the Redstone 8 Theater one last time. My war rig was immediately intercepted by angry commuters, parent Ubers, and swarming High Valley transit vans. Despite the reduced ticket pricing of Bargain Tuesday, the theater mirrored director George Miller’s post-apocalyptic landscape - a wasteland. Greeted by three lonely mutants, faces scarred by boredom, popcorn oil and lack of hope, I navigate the lobby emptiness to the ticket counter where a young man snarls “sit wherever you want, you have a theater for one.”

“Furiosa” is not the end but a beginning. A prequel to Miller’s wildly successful “Mad Maxfranchise, set prior to 2015’s “Fury Road,” which was a wildly successful comeback for Miller earning ten Academy Award nominations and winning six. The franchise’s cars have burned rubber for over five decades since Mel Gibson debuted his leather pants and supercharged V8 Interceptor. “Furiosa” stars Anya Taylor-Joy and her bright eyes as we learn Furiosa’s origin story as a driver of the infamous War Rig.

Miller wastes no time getting to the action with an impressive opening sequence which captures the intersection of hope and despair of Furiosa’s upbringing in a hidden oasis, only to be captured by marauding gang members. The consequence of the sequence seeds Furiosa’s future rage, desperation for survival and ultimately revenge. Chris Hemsworth brings new blood to the franchise’s long list of crazy villains, as he dons his best Tom Hardy impression to play a wasteland warlord who initially captures Furiosa and bargains her for a piece of the limited resource sanctuaries left to the surviving humanity.

The film easily could have wallowed in redundancy, ripping off prior installments, but Miller brings a freshness to the story line not unlike the positioning of “Rogue One” in the Star Wars franchise. The characters are stripped down to their bare essence and there is little question regarding their fate, but Miller captures the irresistible intrigue in witnessing humanity’s will for perseverance. Anya Taylor-Joy is riveting as Furiosa and more than matches the intensity of the franchise’s prior stars.

So, on my Black Diamond ski trail rating system, “Furiosa” earns my top BLACK DIAMOND ski trail rating. Miller delivers his typical adrenaline-fueled wasteland battles, choreographing circus-like vehicular acrobats as Furiosa helm’s the trademark War Rig on numerous runs down Fury Road’s gauntlet.

While the action sequences do not match the intensity of “Fury Road,” the director’s investment in framing Furiosa’s human perspective produces Miller’s most complete film since the original “Mad Max.” Like Furiosa, as I turn onto SR224’s fury road to return home grasping the seed of the Larry H. Miller group’s promise of a new theater of abundance, my hope is shattered by a near miss as someone runs a red light. Max’s quote from “Fury Road crashes upon me: “You know, hope is a mistake. If you can't fix what's broken, you'll, uh... you'll go insane.” “Furiosa” may have been the beginning, but it is the end of hope.

“Furiosa” is playing in various Salt Lake theaters with a run time of two hours 28-minutes and the film is rated R for strong violence, grisly images and intense forms of road rash.

City attorney by day, Friday Film Review critic by night.