Mad Max Fury Road is George Miller’s glorious return to the post-apocalyptic world that we last visited 30 years ago. This time it’s Tom Hardy in the driver’s seat as “Mad” Max Rockatansky, taking over from Mel Gibson who first made the role famous in 1979 and then again in 1981 and 1985. Fury Road is good, and spoilers lay ahead….
Fury Road scratches the itch that myself and I’m sure a lot of other people have had for a long time with action films. It’s bold, beautiful and relentless. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and embraces its own insanity. Where else could you see a someone playing a flame-throwing, axe-wielding guitar harnessed to the front of a motorcade as it charges through the desert? The film is actually beautiful too; gone are the bleached visuals that have over saturated post-apocalyptic films in the last decade, and in are the eye-popping and rich colours of the Australian desert. Even though George Miller shot Fury Road digitally, he’s still traditional in his execution by building real cars and using real stunts whenever possible. As a viewer I am invested so much more in to the world, and even in 3D it pays off. Every car flip, close shave, pistol whip and explosion can be felt without the desensitisation of over the top superhero CGI. It should be used to fill in the gaps around the edges of the frame, CGI should never be the focal point.
If we asked for action, we certainly get it. Fury Road plays out as one continuous chase sequence. As viewers we’re thrown straight into it with little back story for the characters and setting, but it works. Miller’s attention to physical movement and body language (he’s quoted in interviews as taking a lot of inspiration from silent movies) fill in the gaps where unnecessary exposition scenes would normally have to be inserted. It works perfectly in keeping the octane at full throttle for 2 hours. I can’t preach enough how much I love the action. I could almost smell the gasoline that was being spat into the V8 engine intakes whilst clinging to the bonnet at full speed.
Tom Hardy plays Max in his own way; almost struggling to communicate verbally after wandering the wasteland for so long. His grunts and body language convey his tortured past for those who may not have seen the previous films. One theory which I quite like is that he’s actually the feral kid from Mad Max 2, which explains where the music box came from. However, the real show stealer (aside from the vehicles and insane stunts) is Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa. With a shaven head reminiscent of Alien heroine Ellen Ripley, Furiosa is fierce and tough as nails driving the War Rig. It’s really her journey that drives the film and Max provides the extra push as a true road warrior. Amongst all of the fan Easter eggs, it was a nice touch to see her at the end of the film with the the eye and arm injuries that echo Max’s in The Road Warrior. Nicholas Hoult is great as Nux, and his character isn’t merely an unjustified supporting role; you genuinely feel happy for him when he flips the War Rig and fulfils his purpose of doing something meaningful as a half-life. Valhalla awaits!
Mad Max Fury Road is an important action film. It’s operatic, stunning to look at and I’m confident it will influence future actions movies to come. Perhaps not in the same way that Batman Begins made filmmakers invest more in realism and character studies, but certainly in terms of production values. Why not 5 stars? I would have liked to have seen a little bit more of the internal conflict and personal development with Max, and one more moment in the V8 Interceptor when he flicks the boost switch. But hey, I’d take another sequel to this any day!
Here’s another shout out to THIS guy.