Posted May 14, 2015 by editor in Film Reviews
 
 

Mad Max Fury Road Review


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Director George Miller continues his post-apocalyptic future in this belated fourth movie (30 years after the last one hit cinemas). Lessons to be learnt perhaps were that fans generally loved and hold the second film in high esteem. There is a cult appreciation for the first film (even if it takes it’s sweet time to do anything of interest in its last two thirds) and that despite the good intentions of the higher budgeted third film, that it perhaps aimed arrows in all the wrong directions and came off as a disjointed joke.

Fury Road aims high (with a very large budget), throws in a couple of decent character actors as the leads (Hardy and Theron – both familiar with big budget science fiction) and lets its director off the rails to see what he can really accomplish.

There will be little to no apologies for this film once it’s done. It hits the ground running and doesn’t really let up until you are almost half of the way through the film. Fury Road very quickly establishes Max, and the world he lives in. Before long you have been introduced to the stronghold that is presided over by cult leader Immortan Joe.

Max is the least of his problems at the start as one of his trusted followers, Furiosa (Theron), has run off with not only a taker of fuel, but also his five young brides.

An army is amassed and Joe heads off with his shaved headed disciples all eager to please and die for him in the process of getting the girls back. Max is intravenously roped in to the chase as well (which in itself is a hilarious concept).

The landscape is desolate and yet beautiful, with shifts in weather patterns making it all the more beautiful to behold as the groups traverse it at high speeds. Anyone who regards the highlight of the franchise to be the tanker chase of the second film are going to be in heaven with this film as most of the running time features this kind of action. The film has been shot and executed to such detail that it never gets boring or repetitive. There is always some new daring stunt to behold – (sadly anyone familiar with the 10 thousand trailers released for the film will be far too familiar with much of this). We don’t want to damn the film for its Fast and Furious 6 “tell all” marketing campaign – but thankfully the film lives up to that expectation. There is a lot of action and there are many great examples of stunt work and pyrotechnics taking place that it never really feels watered down for any audience.

There isn’t too much in depth character study – but we are presented with various foils for both of the opposing sides. But there is also commentary on how the rest of civilization has segregated itself with the various bands of scavengers we encounter along the way. There are a couple of moments where the film comes to a halt so that the filmmakers can realize these characters a little bit more for us, but it would be unfair to say that the film loses its way at any point or becomes dull. And there is certainly still a lot of Australian charm about it that the previous films had.

Much like in Django Unchained. Hardy seems oft relegated to the background at times. This is only a niggle likely to effect fans of the Max character expecting it to be all about him. But considering how much of an observer Max tended to be in all three previous films – it should be no real surprise. He is largely quiet – and does most of his communicating with looks and grunts.

Immortan Joes own gang are an interesting bunch in themselves. “Too much in the sun” is best perhaps to describe the tribe of War Boys, and it’s through Nicholas Hoult’s unhinged warrior where we get the best insight into how he was brought up to have certain beliefs.

As far as pushing the post-apocalyptic future forwards – it seems that George miller, who perhaps invented this style of future has taken some of the better elements of his own invention and fused it together with those from some of his copy cats. An obvious example is perhaps Waterworld. A tale set on the sea where dirt is rare. A lonesome warrior, set apart from any part of the remnants of society is forced to team up with a strong female character whose goal it seems is to protect a precious young female from the angry mob of bad guys who chase after them. Chaos, chases and stunt heavy action sequences therefore ensue. Fury Road has a very similar plot, only instead of water it is dirt they are travelling on and water is rare.

That comparison is perhaps an insult to some fans, but it does show how full circle we have come in the stakes of big budget science fiction apocalypse tales.

Mad Max Fury Road delivers the non-stop exciting narrative we have all been dreaming about, and where other film-makers have attempted to pull off.  Like a rock band who split up and came back together to deliver decent work – Miller is back in solid fashion and not only delivers punchy with this film – but makes it a contender for the series. Fury Road not only comes with an interesting enough world built in, but with such glorious visuals, some of the best onscreen vehicular action a cinema ticket can buy this is bound to reap the benefits of repeated viewings. My ticket is already booked!

5 Stars

 

 

Steven Hurst


editor