From director George Miller, the man who introduced the world to Mel Gibson, comes Mad Max: Fury Road, a film that not only continues the story of cult hero Max Rockatansky, but also redefines how audiences will forever look at action films. He reinvents the notion of a man searching for redemption by turning it into an adrenaline fuelled adventure through a post-apocalyptic civilization. Fury Road doesn’t care much for exposition or dialogue, instead it often chooses to explain itself visually.
Setting the tone from the very first scene, Max (Tom Hardy) is chased and captured by a gang of war boys. Loyal to their leader, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), who rules the land known as the Citadel, a commune in the desert were everything from water to gas to milk are scarce, the pale looking warriors are willing to risk their lives for a chance at achieving eternal glory in the mythical Valhalla. While using Max as a human blood transfusion bag – his universal donor blood type helps to keep the sickly disciples such as Nux (Nicholas Hoult) going – Immortan Joe is shocked to learn that his best truck driver, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), has broken protocol. Furiosa was supposed to drive to a nearby town to get more gas but, in an act of defiance, ends up smuggling Joe’s five wives out of the Citadel.
Through a series of events, set in motion by Furiosa’s actions, Max finds himself caught in the middle of the dispute. Reluctant to get involve at first, and realizing what is at stake, Max agrees to aid Furiosa on a journey where the odds are stacked heavily against them.
Aiming for something that is more realistic than most blockbusters of today –Miller keeps the use of computer-based visual effects to a minimum – Mad Max: Fury Road utilizes a lot of practical effects and stunt work. Aided by cinematographer John Seale, the film creates a grand and wonderfully dizzying feel to its overall composition. The mayhem is manic as Miller openly embraces every aspect of the world the film creates. Everything from the creepy design of the war boys to the monstrous vehicles to the random shots of the guitar, which is also a flamethrower, vibrantly pops off the screen. The amazing editing by Margaret Sixel, and the pulsating score by Junkie XL further adds to the relentlessly fast-paced spectacle on display.
A game changer in every possible way, what makes Fury Road truly exceptional is the way it both portrays and utilizes its female characters. The wives of Joe – played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee Kershaw and Courtney Eaton – are anything but the damsels-in-distress they appear to be on the surface. Instead of making them mere eye-candy, George Miller and his co-writers Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris flesh them out to be characters who are not afraid to fight for their freedom. Of course, it helps that they have a character like Furiosa leading the charge.
The showstopper of the entire film, Charlize Theron truly embraces the role of a badass seeking her own form of redemption. Her willingness to do what is right despite the personal hefty cost makes her the perfect counterpart to the equally emotionally damaged Max. For his part, Tom Hardy brings a restrained approach to the role of Max. He lets his actions, rather than his words, help to drive the action. The rest of the cast does an admirable job as well. Hugh Keays-Byrne, who fans of the franchise will know as the Toecutter in the original film, brings a sense of bravado and charisma to his role of Immortan Joe despite spending much of the film wearing a mask.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a phenomenal film from George Miller. In an age where sexism still dictates who should do what in an action film, Miller manages to get rid of that nonsense and create something magical. Fury Road isn’t just an ass-kicking film, but one where the women are on equal footing with the lead male character. No political statements are made in the film; Max is simply cool with it. The way it should be. Filled with amazing visuals and top-of-the-line technical work, Mad Max: Fury Road, is one of the best films you will see this year.
© thevoid99 2015