Mad Max: Fury Road Review
Believe the hype. Mad Max: Fury Road will knock your socks off and leave you wanting more. Witness the fury!
Mad Max: Fury Road marks the return of Max Rockatansky 30 years after he last graced our screens…and he’s as badass as ever.Set forty five years after the world has fallen, with no rules and no laws Fury Road centres around the theft of Immortan Joe’s most prised possessions at the hands of Imperator Furiosa who commands the War Rig. With the help of Max Rockatansky, Furiosa must travel across the vast desert wasteland to reach the Green Place, Furiosa’s childhood home. Director George Miller returns to the Mad Max franchise with his fourth instalment thirty years after the release of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Keeping true to form, Miller ensures Fury Road maintains the same gritty rawness as the previous films.Along with directing duties, Miller was also part of the three man writing team with Brendan McCarthy and Nick Lathouris, that has brought Max Rockatansky back into our lives. Fury Road has reportedly taken twenty five years to hit the big screen after suffering numerous production set backs. Filming originally started in 2011 but got delayed due to weather conditions until 2012. The scheduled release in 2013 got pushed back as reshoots were required, which means that Fury Road has been in post production for almost three years. But now it’s finally ready for it’s triumphant return.
Fury Road features an extremely diverse cast which includes Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky, Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, Nicholas Hoult as Nux and the return of Hugh Keays-Byrne (who played Toecutter in the original Mad Max) this time as Immortan Joe, The Warlord. The five wives of Immortan Joe are played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as the leader Splendid Angharad, Riley Keogh as Capable, Zoe Kravitz as Toast the Knowing, Courtney Eaton as Cheedo and Abbey Lee as The Dag.
For a film that consists primarily of an epic scale vehicular warfare, Fury Road does not disappoint. From the get go it will have the hairs standing on the back of your neck. We are immediately thrown into the depths of the Citadel, the rocky fortress of the Immortan where he controls the consumption of water (Aqua Cola) to obtain other necessities like gas and munitions from nearby towns. In the opening sequence we are shown Max’s pure instinct for survival come into play as we watch him escape the clutches of the War Boys, the pasty tattooed minions of the Immortan.
Max eventually joins Furiosa on her crusade to her homeland and together they must fight of the road armies led not only by the furious Immortan but from The People Eater (John Howard) and the Bullet Farmer (Richard Carter), leaders of the two nearby towns. Fury Road is all about the action and with little dialogue the story progression relies on the interaction between the characters. Max and Furiosa must put aside their solitary instincts and join forces if they are to survive the ensuing battle across the wastelands.
Mel Gibson is a hard act to follow but Hardy’s interpretation of Max would no doubt make the original proud. Hardy takes the role of Max Rockatansky and runs with it completely encompassing everything that turned Max into Mad Max. Reinventing the character Hardy has managed to retain the essence of the Max from the original films while at the same time placing his own twist onto the character. With the memories of death and destruction looming over him, Hardy ensures that Max is essentially the same tortured soul we remember, the one in search for a humanity that is all but lost. Hardy performed much of the action himself from scrambling across the War Rig to hanging upside down off of a moving vehicle just inches from the ground.
Everything you ever loved about the Mad Max trilogy is embodied in this reboot… and then some.
Charlize Theron sports a shaved head, amputated arm and black grease for makeup as the road warrior's equal, a far cry from the glamour of Hollywood or Dior adverts that we’re used to. Having said that, Theron is no stranger to drastically altering her appearance, as she did to believably play Aileen Wournos in Monster. Theron completely commits to her performance as Furiosa, having gone through a rigorous training regimen to achieve the toned, muscular physique she uses to perform a majority of the stunts herself. Playing a woman who’s come from a tough background, Theron grits her teeth and gets on with it delivering an empowered performance as a strong willed person who stands by her convictions and who will fight till the very end.
The supporting cast in Fury Road are all brilliant and even the models turned actresses play an essential part in the film. Nicholas Hoult is surprisingly good as war boy Nux, who wants to prove his worth and earn his place in the warrior paradise of Valhalla. Hugh Keays-Byrne is a delightful treat for the fans of the original Mad Max, this time as Immortan Joe, leader of the citadel and hoping to raise an heir through the imprisonment and impregnation of his five wives. The Immortan is a merciless and brutal dictator which Keays-Byrne acts out superbly. Wearing a mask throughout the whole film means Keays-Byrne has to convey his anger and fury through his actions, his booming voice and through his bone chilling eyes.
It was brilliant to see the equal emphasis on Max and Furiosa both as warriors, acknowledging that strong women can hold their own and kick ass when necessary especially when all the odds are stacked against them. Along the journey we are introduced to the Vuvalini, a tribe of older women who aren’t afraid to wage war in order to maintain their matriarchal society. Furiosa contributes a lot to the film and without her Max would be in dire straits. She is the driving force behind the film as much as Max, and had the film been split into two separate films like it had originally been planned to, I am sure that Furiosa would have earned her place alongside Max in the film's cannon.
With 150 vehicles and a stunt team of the same number, the road war in Fury Road is ridiculously epic. Taking centre stage is the War Rig powered by twin V8 engines, the Immortan’s most valuable vehicle. At the helm of the Gigahorse, a fuel injected combination of two 1959 Cadillac Devilles, is the Immortan himself leading his armada of monster trucks, supercharged Caltrops, Yamaha motorcycles, Fire Cars, Mack Trucks and the Doof Wagon into battle, and boy, you’re sure in for a bumpy ride.
With 150 vehicles and a stunt team of the same number, the road war in Fury Road is ridiculously epic.
The range of weapons includes spears tipped with grenades, flame throwers and machine guns to name a few and as if that wasn’t enough, you have War Boys swinging back and forth from poles attached to the pursuing vehicles brandishing chainsaws and knives. The Doof Wagon, in case you were wondering, is an intimidating beast of a machine on wheels which doubles as a mobile stage. Stacked with humungous speakers the Doof Warrior (iOTA), a guitarist attached with bungee cords, plays a double necked, flame throwing guitar blasting hardcore rock 'n' roll to the troops as they head into battle.
The action sequences are exquisitely choreographed and beautifully filmed placing you right in the middle of the action. This is in part thanks to the Edge Arm System which enabled Miller and his crew to use the cameras in ways they had never previously been able to in order achieve some truly amazing shots. This is fast paced, high octane action at its best. The armada chase was shot live immersing the cast in the brutal action which results in some fantastic viewing. CGI was used sparingly and even the toxic sand storm didn’t look too out of place in the grand scheme of the film. Edited together seamlessly from over 400 hours of footage, Fury Road will put all other road movies to shame.
Mad Max: Fury Road is 120 minutes of pure indulgent entertainment. You don’t need to have seen the previous films to understand or even enjoy this reboot. Although for fans of the trilogy, there are a few nods which will put a smile on your face. There's so much action on the screen that this film requires more than one viewing to fully appreciate it’s epic journey - a journey I highly recommend.
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