Review: Mad Max Fury Road
Adrenaline, blood, chains, oil, guitar… These are some of the few words that describe the feeling of Mad Max: Fury Road. It isn’t easy to put into the words the sheer spectacle of what George Miller has created in the desert. It’s something all together raw, but absolutely beautiful. While I hesitate to call the film a masterpiece, it was well worth the excruciating wait it took to get to the big screen. Sometime the hype of trailers overshadow what would likely be a poor film. Mad Max: Fury Road lived up to those expectations and then some.
After years putting together the next entry in the Mad Max saga, director George Miller has cleared the bar set by action films and created a new standard. Fury Road is less about the quest for gasoline like previous entries, but more about the hunt for humans as resources. The movie wastes no time getting started with our alleged hero, Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), being hunted down like a dog. His future seems to be nothing more than providing life to the many warriors of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).
On what seems like a routine job, Immortan Joe has trusted one of his closest allies, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), with procuring some more gasoline from a nearby town. She has plans of her own though and has decided to rebel. In fact, all the woman in Immortan Joe’s life have decided to rebel as his many wives have begged Furiosa to smuggle them away from this life of creating the heirs to such a vile man. Immortan Joe is livid that his prized wives would be stolen away from him, so he starts a violent and pulse-pounding chase to recapture his wives and unborn heirs.
While this feature is indeed called Mad Max, the star of the film is Charlize Theron. Whereas Tom Hardy’s Max is single minded on survival, Furiosa has much more character development and is the driving force behind the emotional beats in the story. She doesn’t need Max to rescue her or be her knight in shining armor because she is a bad ass on her own. It seems as though the character of Max Rockatansky just exists to bring the audience into this new adventure, where he is just along for the ride.
It’s difficult to talk about the glory of the action sequences in Mad Max: Fury Road. Most action films would love just to have the sheer intensity of the opening sequence: Max restrained, but running for his survival by any means necessary. These events take place well before the many car chase sequences that have been the highlight of previous Mad Max films. Miller and his crew have taken these sequences to the next level as well. Using minimal CG, the characters of Mad Max: Fury Road live and die on their vehicles. Battles take place on top of vehicles, inside of them, and even on attachments to said vehicles. It’s amazing just how much the bar keeps being raised throughout the course of the film, that it’s all the more surprising when they have kept even more secrets for later.
Nothing about Mad Max: Fury Road should’ve worked. It has been over twenty years since the last entry in the franchise and George Miller is seventy years old directing this epic blockbuster. The title character mostly takes a back seat to the daring and courageous Furiosa, while dialog has suddenly become a rarity. Studios rarely take big chances on films of this nature, films that seems to be made outside of any guidelines or tent pole restraints. It’s a frivolous goal of using words to describe spectacle and grandeur of Mad Max: Fury Road. It has to be seen to be believed. Few movies live up to the hype, Mad Max: Fury Road laughs in their faces and makes them eat its dust.