Release Date: May 15, 2015
Director: George Miller
Writer: George Miller
Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Josh Helman, Nathan Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, John Howard, Richard Carter, Iota, Angus Sampson, Jennifer Hagan, Megan Gale, Melissa Jaffer
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 120 minutes
Production Company: Kennedy Miller Productions, Village Roadshow Pictures
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Country: Australia, USA
With Action / Adventure being one of my favorite genres, it’s not too often I can start off a review by saying my mind was blown. That statement is true to say the least, because this flick is truly insane. It’s been about 30 years since the last release of a Mad Max film, and Fury Road is the fourth entry from director George Miller.
Please take note of this artist, because he has created an epic that other directors could only dream of. Mad Max: Fury Road is a non-stop action film that cranked up my adrenaline, and I wanted even more. It does have its somber moments, which slow down the action to a pace that’s hard to watch, but the other aspects leave your jaw on the floor, as you’re mesmerized with what is shown on the screen.
To say that Mad Max is weird is an understatement. The world the characters inhabit is so distant from what we call civilization that I can only pray we never see this type of reality. The culture we know is wiped right off the earth, and what we today consider as atrocious is, in this dark future, considered normal.
Much credit goes to the set design team. The contrast on screen is beautiful, and makes every shot appear like a classic painting. I was convinced all of humanity was lost in this eye-for-an-eye, grim post-apocalyptic world. Some of the imagery is a little disturbing, and may bother the faint-hearted. The way people treat others is quite repulsive, but only adds to the entertaining mayhem that’s taking place. A good reason to buy a ticket is for the film’s action sequences – some of the best I’ve ever seen. I will definitely be getting the Blu-ray to witness them again. Expectations about the action scenes were through the roof and the film meets them all, plus a little more. I can only imagine the months of preparation that went into the long, death defying action sequences that take place in the climax. It takes a true artist to conceive such scenes and capture them on camera to create the action masterpiece that is Mad-Max. The way characters engage with one another on the battlefield creates even more tension than all the explosions and gunfire.
It’s a completely different world of survival and everyone has adapted to it. As each action piece proceeds the film’s premise becomes increasingly believable; this is a surprise, as in a normal setting the same scenes would seem unrealistic. Everyone on screen, from the beginning to the very end, gives their one hundred per cent and fight for survival, which makes it all the more enjoyable.
Unfortunately, the whole film isn’t as enjoyable as the action. The opening is fantastic, introducing us to the quite Mad Max; and a riveting ending shows us why he’s the badass he is. The middle is a blast that alone contains the crazy meat-and-potatoes mayhem, but there are two sections that made me cringe nearly to death.
One such portion is at the beginning, after we meet the title character. There’s a lot of character motivation that is insufficiently drawn out. I haven’t watched the other Mad Max films, being under the impression that I didn’t have to watch them in order to enjoy Fury Road. A few characters are not developed enough, but we see their blind passion to fight. They’re so adamant about achieving their goal, but the audience doesn’t know why. Countless acts of suicide take place for the greater good, but we don’t know what that good is.
The scene slices down the middle with fantastic shots of lighting tornadoes in a sand storm. The images are an experience in themselves; they blow your socks off, although they hold no weight. But I’m still lost, because I don’t know what’s going on and these emotions last a bit too long. The biggest problem is that the plot hasn’t revealed itself yet. There are so many people running around performing amazing feats, but we don’t know why. Gradually, the plot does reveal itself, but the long wait leaves a sour taste in your mouth which lasts throughout the remaining runtime. There’s another portion like this towards the end of the film, during a transition in the plot, but it doesn’t linger for as long.
Also, while Mad Max (Tom Hardy) is an interesting character, he seems like second-in-command in his own movie. Furiosa (Charlize Theron) steals the show and is an example of a woman you don’t ever want to cross. Her story obviously carries through to the other films through small chunks of dialogue – which raises interest. There’s a lot to her character that’s not explicitly shown, but conveyed through Theron’s acting. She’s a pleasure to watch on screen.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a truly enjoyable experience, especially if you know what you’re getting into. It’s a jaw-dropping action masterpiece that will be in discussion for quite some time. The characters are strong, unique, and you root for them on their journey. It warrants multiple viewings, seeing as you can’t take in all the mayhem your first time around. The overall story is solid; apart from a few missteps with the pacing and plot, it is quite memorable. George Miller was in his own territory when he made this film and it shows big and bright. His creative vision is inspiring and I recommend that other filmmakers take a page out his book.