Movie Review: Mad Max – Fury Road

Yes, this one’s kinda late, and kinda short. Also, a bit of background: I have not seen the first three Mad Max movies, but you really don’t need to if you’re interested in this new one.

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Starring:
Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
Director: George Miller (Mad Max, Happy Feet)
Rating: MA15+
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OK, wow.

If there’s been a bigger example of late hype pulling me into a film over the last several years, I can’t remember it. With next to no knowledge of Aussie director George Miller‘s acclaimed 30 year old Mad Max trilogy, other than the fact that it was kind of a big thing once, I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road based on pretty much word-of-mouth groundswell alone. And goodness, gracious, what a ride.

Whether or not you have seen Mad Max, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior or Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdomeyou can go into this new movie without fear of being left in the post-apocalyptic dust. Fury Road takes an interesting approach to continuity that both acknowledges and kind of ignores the first three films, not only recasting the lead character (Mel Gibson has given way to Tom Hardy) but tweaking some of the small details associated with his character. He still has all the hallmarks of the classic Max, complete with dead family and history of wandering the wilderness, but the details of his personal family tragedy are a little different this time, and he still has his iconic V8 interceptor when the movie begins.

From there Fury Road tells a story that is both insanely straightforward and insanely… insane. Miller created a world decades ago that has been more influential on entertainment media than most people (myself included) realise, and he returns to it here with all the confidence of a virtuoso. Amidst the ever-present roar of engines, barely-intelligible war cries and incredulous live guitar shredding, another pocket of this iconic world is fleshed out through kinetic action and eye-popping visuals, borne mostly of practical effects wizardry. The entire movie is an adrenaline-soaked chase scene, only pausing to give its characters enough room to say what they absolutely need to say. Most of said characters are so intriguing that I kind of wish the occasionally exhausting action would let up for a few minutes more in places. Two of the film’s best scenes take place on solid ground, in my opinion.

At this stage in the film’s cinematic lifespan you’ve probably already heard about how good Charlize Theron is in the movie, and I certainly don’t disagree with the consensus. She provides, and indeed sustains, the primary emotional thrust of the story, not to mention some of its coolest action beats. Nicholas Hoult also dominates his role, and Hardy‘s titular Max is great fun to watch, a bundle of neuroses and part tragic, part amusing physical ticks. He’s a supporting character in the movie, to be sure, but he’s an amazing one. The villainous Immorten Joe is another highlight, and really so is everyone else who shows up and hams it up throughout the film’s manic run time.

Do I really need to to say more? I don’t think so. Mad Max: Fury Road is one of my favourite movies of the year thus far, and by mere association Avalanche Studios’ upcoming Mad Max game just got itself another preorder.

THE VERDICT

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Good:
Still-unique artistic world building, crazy action sequences, rock solid performances, does a lot with a little script
Bad:
Action overextends itself in parts
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4.5 VsI N C R E D I B L E

One response to this post.

  1. I really want to watch that now!

    Reply

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