Thursday, 14 May 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

Title: Mad Max: Fury Road
Director: George Miller
Released: 2015
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, Megan Gale, Josh Helman, Nathan Jones, John Howard, Richard Carter, Angus Sampson, Melissa Jaffer

Plot: In the distant future society has all but collapsed while those who remain battle over the last remaining resources. In this latest instalment of the series Max (Hardy) has been captured by the fanatical War Boys who in turn are ruled by the tyrannical fascist Immortan Joe (Keays-Byrne). Meanwhile supply truck driver Imperator Furiosa (Theron) decides to break away from his rule as she liberates his captive wives with a plan to head for the Green lands, with her path soon crossing with Max’s as the two realise that their salvation will require them to work together.

Review: Coming a staggering thirty years after the flawed yet still highly enjoyable “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” there was unquestionably a sense of hesitation as much as there was giddy excitement to finally have a new addition to the franchise for while it had been left open with potential for further adventures the fans weren’t left feeling that there was still things that hadn’t been left unanswered at the end of the last film which could very well have remained the end of Max's journey. So while Miller went on to other projects, including more randomly the celebrity voiced animal features “Babe” and “Happy Feet” there was however always an undying desire from the fans for another entry in the series. Still considering the film has been in various stages of development hell since 1998, on one hand its surprising that the film has now actually been released, while unquestionably setting a bar of expectation from the fan base which couldn’t possibly be met….could it?

Well thankfully I can report that the wait has been more than worthwhile as Miller shows he’s not lost any of the vision which made the original films stand out and if anything has spent the last thirty years thinking of ever more creative ways to bring chaos and destruction to screen once more which he delivers here in spades. At the same time this is also not so much a reboot but rather a tweaking of the series which sees the film being shot with more brighter colours than the original trilogy and with minor changes to Max's character, while Miller clearly chooses to leave it to the fan boys to hammer this entry’s position onto the timeline, especially with no real clear indication on where the story is supposed to happen on the timeline.

One of these major changes of course sees  the original road warrior Mel Gibson passing the torch to Tom Hardy who he has gone on record to call "a real firecracker" and its great to see Hardy once more being able to take on a such an iconic role while at the same time continuing to his reputation as the human chameleon. Max here is shown as still a shell of a man, whose years in the post-apocalyptic outback have at this point left him essentially feral while still haunted by the ghosts of the family he lost. However its fun to see Hardy pulling off some of Max's classic badass moves including entering into a standoff with an empty sawn off shotgun, while bringing a smile to my face with his ideas for unchaining himself from Nux. This time though he is equally matched by the feisty Imperator Furiosa who also carries with her, her own ghosts while hoping to find salvation at the mythical green lands much like her rag-tag band of survivors she takes along for the ride. Furiosa is equally enhanced beyond being just a female Max she might seem on the surface thanks to feminist writer / activist Eve Ensler who is no doubt best known for writing “The Vagina Monologues”  and here Miller brings on board to help develop the female characters. A smart decision especially in this world were the wives are see by Joe as being another commodity, an aspect which see’s Ensler bringing her real life experiences of working with abused and dominated women to help shape their creation, as seen with their rebellious graffiti they leave behind in their former prison / quarters proclaiming such slogans as “We Are Not Things” an aspect only further highlighted by their shedding of barbed Chasity belts they have had padlocked to their bodies.

Once more it is a colourful cast of characters that Miller brings to life here, while he clearly takes advantage of the time which has passed to bring back Keays-Byrne who originally played “Toecutter” in the original “Mad Max” and who here returns as the equally colourful Immortan Joe, with his skull mask and ventilator backpack and who like so many members of his clan he is slowly dying of disease and infection, while using his monopoly on a seemingly unlimited supply of water (or aqua cola as he calls it) to keep maintain his position of power and using his wives to breed the next generation of war boys. His gang the War Boys are equally an fascinating group as they live with a set of beliefs comparable to that of the Vikings as they view it an honour to die in battle, fuelled with hopes of making it into their version of Valhalla as they call for their brothers in arms to frequently witness them as they sacrifice themselves for their greater cause as highlighted by the conflicted path travelled by Nux (Hoult). At the same time Miller this time doesn’t just settle with one gang, as this cross desert chase also sees several other clans also joining in the fight, each with their own distinct styles including one who seem to be paying a direct homage to Peter Weir’s “The Cars Which Ate Paris” in particular its spiked beetle which is again replicated here.

Unquestionably the cars though are the star of the show with Miller this time crafting a film which is essentially one big car chase, with over 150 vehicles being created for the film of which over half were destroyed throughout filming. It is of course refreshing to see a director insisting on practical effects with CGI here only being used to highlight or cover for sequences which would otherwise be impossible, while the film more than delivers on its promises of a world of fire and blood as cars explode and crash in ever more spectacular ways with Miller seemingly setting out to top the already spectacular carnage he crafted with the original trilogy, a mission he more than achieves here. At the same time his eye for detail only adds to these sequences as he gives us such delights as a war drum truck complete with its own flamethrower welding guitar player or the tank treaded Mopar which makes for the ride of choice for the Bullet Farmer (Carter) it almost demand a repeat viewing just to take in the wide selection of instantly iconic vehicles featured. At the same time the cinematography by John Seale who was tempted out of retirement for this film, only emphasises the carnage with his use of crash cams and slow motion footage, for if car crash porn didn't exist before here he certainly gives us it. 

If there is any flaw in this film it could mainly be in the fact that this really doesn’t feel like Max’s film as like we saw with the recent "Godzilla" here the marquee name is pushed frequently to the background with Furiosa taking the lead, even though he is once again essentially doing the same thing he did with the previous two films by entering a community and helping them resolve their issues. Unsurprisingly this has led to several critics referring to this as being a feminist action movie, even though Miller has frequently featured strong women in the series from Mad Max 2’s “Warrior Woman” through to Thunderdome’s “Aunty Entity”. Equally the plotting is paper thin with much more of the focus on the chase which forms the real meat of the film, but honestly it’s so much fun let alone fast paced that you really won’t care.

Ultimately this is easily the film of the summer, while here's hoping that audiences also feel the same way as the critics, especially with Miller already having the next to films in this new trilogy planned out and currently awaiting the studio green light, which will no doubt happen if the box office matches the current excitement levels for this film. But if your an established fan then you will no doubt devour this latest entry while at the same time it still provides a nitro fuelled introduction for the uninitiated. This is one wild ride you don't want to miss!!


  1. Awesome movie, so much fun, begs to be seen more than once!

  2. I was so relieved that it was worth the wait and like yourself I can't wait to see it again.


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