MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is a modern masterpiece of movie mayhem
Director George Miller returns to the hellish post-apocalyptic landscape of the classic Mad Max series with this very long awaited, amazingly bold, exhilarating action-adventure that pumps adrenaline like a fuel injected suicide machine. Mad Max: Fury Road sees Tom Hardy (Locke) taking over the lead role of ex-cop turned drifter Max Rockatansky made internationally famous by Mel Gibson.
Set in the Australian outback of a distant future Max (Hardy) is captured by the War Boys, a legion of white painted nomads who are led by the ruthless, eccentric overlord King Immortan Joe (played by The Toecutter himself Hugh Keays-Byrne). Max is violently subdued and tattooed with the branding of a blood donor for his new slave status. After a frenzied attempt to escape his captors, Max is chained up and reluctantly adopted by War Boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult) an infectiously enthustastic sicko who dubs him “Bloodbag” and aspires to be one of Immortan Joe’s greatest soldiers. Meanwhile, several of the other War Boys are ordered to accompany Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) on a celebratory run to retrieve fuel, but during the trek she suddenly decides to veer off course due to her own secret plans. Furiosa has hidden the Five Wives, a group of unique women selected for breeding inside the belly of her rig. When Immortan Joe finds out this shocking news, he frantically leads his army of furious freakazoids on a motorized chase to get Furiosa and the beautiful girls back by any means necessary. This of course means unleashing his vehicular army of geared up motorpsychos (that includes a heavy metal guitarist on wheels that acts as a live music score). Excitedly, Nux places Max on the front of his vehicle (a nod to The Road Warrior) and the journey begins as the desert becomes filled with nitrous packed engines, vengeance, fire and blood.
Mad Max: Fury Road is an all out assault on the senses from its silent start to the glorious finish. If you’ve seen the earlier Mad Max films (if not, please do so!), this movie plays like a lysergic acid induced hallucination of the action and thrills that made them so popular. Miraculously and unexpectedly, George Miller took the original concepts to yet another level completely. Through a blending of even bolder iconcography and mindblowing stunts, the film whizzes by at a breakneck speed as the characters play their roles with an equal amount of intensity and feverish glee.
Where Mad Max Fury Road differs from its predecessors is the place women hold in the story. In many ways Max, the legendary hero we’ve come to know over the years is treated as another sidekick that is along for the ride instead of being the main guy in charge. Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is clearly picking up the torch from such strong female characters like Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley (Aliens) and Uma Thurman’s The Bride (Kill Bill). She is a fierce creature who makes you believe she is capable and tough but also a tender soul that is searching for something more heartfelt when shes not trucking through the scorching Outback heat in her gigantic mechanized freighter. The movie may look like like the ultimate alpha male gearhead fever dream, but its view of men as wreckless war gods and women as loving Earth mothers is clear in its aim. You get the sense that these insanely dangerous, road raging battles that are wrought by the chest thumping, hard driving, one track minded male nomads is just a road to doom while the stoic female warriors represent love, life and intelligence.
Celluloid devotees may be upset to learn that George Miller and Cinematographer John Seale shot this film using the dreaded Arri Alexa digital cameras. The result was a high definition, visually exuberant presentation of bright blazing desert sun sequences contrasted with beautiful icy blue tones of the cool nighttime scenes. It is simply a gorgeous work of pop cinema that encapsulates the very best this pulp action subgenre has to offer. Every scene is filled with thrills whether by use of its gas saturated imagery or through the moving gallery of crazed characters who are all fighting to survive their desperate circumstances. The role of surrogate family is also examined both in Immortan Joe’s legion of followers and in Furiosa and Max’s circle which ultimately gives the movie its warm heart and soul as the supercharged motors rev, the weapons blast and the furious fires burn.