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Mad Max: Fury Road Review


It was in 1985 that we last saw Mad Max, when he was going Beyond Thunderdome, and while a return to the mad cap, post apocalyptic future that made his name was always on the cards for George Miller, problem upon problem was piled on top of the project, until, finally, Mad Max: Fury Road explodes onto our screens. Max Rockantansky may have morphed from Mel Gibson to Tom Hardy, but that is all that has changed for the third sequel in the franchise, one that is very much a spiritual sequel to Mad Max 2. Fury Road also proves that the intervening years hasn’t dulled Miller in any way, as he returns to the character without missing a beat, delivering an insane, high octane ride from start to finish.

Kicking off with a brief catch up of what turned the world into a barren wasteland, no time is wasted in getting the deranged story off the ground, with Hardy’s Max, a broken man haunted by his past, captured and brought to the mountain side kingdom of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who also played Toecutter in the original Mad Max), a cruel despot who keeps his subjects in check with promises of water, and replenishes the ranks of his private army, the War Boys, with female captives, dubbed the Wives. In the space of just a few minutes, this new world is wonderfully fleshed out, with Miller weaving a deep mythology separate from the other movies in the series, and really letting his imagination run wild. The War Boys are grotesque, diseased fanatics who follow Joe without question and dream of dying in battle, using healthy human beings as donors to prolong their pitiful existence until the right death calls them. Immortal Joe himself is a terrifying villain, who almost makes you feel for his shewed family values, with a grotesque visage always hidden by a mask/breathing apparatus, almost like a cut price Darth Vader clad in plastic armour. If you haven’t guessed, Mad Max: Fury Road is unlike anything else in the cinema at the moment, and is so, so, so, SO much better for it.

Once the movie hits the road (which isn’t long at all), the story kicks into high gear as Max reluctantly falls in with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), who has absconded with rolling death machine, the war rig, and the Wives, intent on saving them and reaching the safe haven of the Green Place. From here on, Fury Road becomes an epic chase movie as Immortan Joe’s forces descend on our heroes, only letting up so we can catch our breath before throwing another astonishing action set piece our way. Each set piece tries to out do the other, leading to some exhilarating moments that will have you questioning what you are actually seeing, from a devastating sand storm so powerful it turns everything monochrome to an acrobatic attack on the war rig that feels like an especially insane Cirque De Soleil performance. This is the action genre at its most spectacular and beautiful, Miller seemingly intent on dropping jaws the world over with some unique and amazing visuals. Junkie Xl’s fantastic score proves to be the perfect compliment to what Miller has conjured up, reaching several triumphant crescendo’s during the movies run time.

As crazy as Fury Road gets at times, the narrative doesn’t skimp on the emotional heft as all the characters feel fully formed and realised, even the Wives who admittedly don’t get much to do other than being living, breathing McGuffins, and even in its quieter moments, the story packs one hell of a punch. There isn’t too many surprising twists and turns, but the narrative rockets by at an extremely satisfying pace, and with all the testosterone being thrown about, the strongest character is actually Furiosa, and early on the reason she shares top billing becomes crystal clear. A fierce warrior with a soft edge that is never once portrayed as a weakness, Theron plays her with extreme confidence, and at times, you feel she could easily take over, pushing Max to the side. This actually does happen in the second act, but Hardy comes roaring back, and his take on the gruff anti-hero does a lot of justice to the character. His Max is a man of very few words (I don’t think he gets more than one or two lines until the half hour mark), but he speaks volumes with his actions. Max’s uncaring demeanour always seemed like it was dictated by his equally uncaring surroundings, and Hardy plays this perfectly, his gruff shell slowly washing away until he becomes a true hero by the third act. Nicolas Hoult, as War Boy Nux, proves to be the heart of Fury Road, at first presented as the unflinchingly loyal villain before becoming much, much more.

A breathtaking action epic that is unlike anything else the genre has delivered in recent years, Mad Max: Fury Road, simply put, is an insane masterpiece.

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The Movie Bit: Mad Max: Fury Road Review
Mad Max: Fury Road Review
The Movie Bit
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