Reviews

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Review: Filmmaking at Its Absolute Best

“My name is Max. My world is reduced to a single instinct: Survive. As the world fell it was hard to know who was more crazy. Me… Or everyone else.”

Synopsis: Haunted by his turbulent past, Mad Max believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. They are escaping a Citadel tyrannized by the Immortan Joe, from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the Warlord marshals all his gangs and pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows.

Yeah, there have definitely been some unbelievable blockbusters through the years; Harry PotterInception, etc, but those great blockbusters of the last half decade or so haven’t really been action movies. Luckily that’s where Mad Max: Fury Road steps in as a full f**king action blockbuster. It’s bigger than you can ever imagine, it’s bolder than anything you’ve ever seen, and it without a doubt expresses no regret with pushing the boundaries and earning that hard R-rating; Fury Road is more than just achievement of today, it’s a throwback to an era where action movies like this were a constant, and it’s nothing short of included in the conversation.

It’s quite clear that mastermind George Miller has spent years on the concept of Fury Road, with the result being a film showing that Miller has poured his heart and soul into. There may be sequels coming, but there was nothing saved for them as Miller made sure he made the best possible movie he could. And more than anything, it feels like a Mad Max movie. It feels like the Mad Max movie that Miller wanted to make for decades, but just didn’t have the resources or technology to do so. The fire and passion from behind the camera is felt as you journey through the mad wasteland.

Quite honestly, I’ve spent a week contemplating whether or not I should even write tis review. Why? Because everything about Fury Road is perfect. It really does feel unnecessary because anything written just doesn’t do it enough justice. In other words, JUST GO SEE IT.

Being a fan of the originals, it would have been nice to see Mel Gibson return, but Tom Hardy is more than capable to take it over. While it is the same character and universe from the original trilogy, Hardy does the smart thing by doing his own take on the character instead of trying to recreate what Gibson did way back when, yet it just feels like Max of old. But appropriately enough, Hardy gives us the most ‘mad’ version of him yet. He plays him in harsh and ruthless way, showing that this is the man we saw in The Road Warrior, a former hero who had everything ripped away from him which turned him to savagery. Yet, he also expresses the pure heroism and quiet virtue of the character, easily making him the one to root for. But most importantly, Hardy brought that amazing dynamic in the action sequences, which are just beautiful and endless in the best way possible.

Then there’s Charlize Theron and her Furiosa, who is as equally as strong and important as Hardy’s Max. She becomes just as much of a hero as he is, even more in fact, with her getting the true arc of the movie. I don’t think I could’ve said it any better than Chris Bumbay from over at JoBlo.com, “Max is the enigma, Furiosa is the heart. Here, Theron and Miller have crafted one of the most memorable action heroines since Ripley, and if there’s a dearth of female action heroes out there, Furiosa is a new one and immediately one for the ages.” While from here on out we won’t be able to see anyone but Theron in the role, she deserves it. We’ve seen her do action before, but she’s never done anything like this or taken on a character like Furiosa before. And it’s this kind of performance that will mark her name down in the books forever.

Even though Hardy and Theron are the ones commanding the screen, the supporting cast is just fantastic. Nicholas Hoult steals many moments as Nux, giving his War Boy character a sense of real humanity. Mad Max vet Hugh Keays-Byrne (Toecutter in the original) as Immortal Joe is a freakishly worthy foe for Max and co., inflicting a great amount of political power. And while the Five Wives (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoë Kravitz, Abbey Lee Kershaw, and Courtney Eaton) are more character types rather than full characters, they are no where near damsels in distress and fit very well in the overall play.

The stunts, oh the stunts. Whatever it is, from the ability to plan to thirst to go bigger and better, the stunts in Fury Road are just breathtaking, game changing really. Any one visual could be the best part of another movie, but here it’s followed a dozen more that are just as good or better. The vast rolling set pieces are insane series of visions that display the creativity and imagination of George Miller.

Fury Road has some of the most clearest action direction I’ve ever seen. There was never a moment or scene where I was questioning what was happening, where the characters were or what they were moving toward. Everything involved, characters and action, all fit and made sense. Miller, cinematographer John Seale, and editor Margaret Sixel didn’t miss one single beat, creating Oscar worthy stuff in the process.

Relentless, magnificent, electrifying, chaotic, beautiful, monumental, glorious, like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Films are built in steps, one moment at a time, but Fury Road seems to be born in an explosion. It roars to life as a fully formed product and spectacle. Whether it’s the staggering visuals or the off-the-charts great score by Junkie XL, Mad Max: Fury is a marvel, a one of kind piece of cinema that will go down as an instant classic, and one triumphant return for George Miller.

Rating: 9.5/10

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