BEAUTIFULLY SHOT, WONDERFULLY ACTED AND ENOUGH MIND BLOWINGLY CREATIVE ACTION STUNTS AND SET PIECES TO MELT OFF YOUR FACE, MAD MAX FURY ROAD IS THE BEST FILM OF THE YEAR SO FAR AND CERTAINLY SHOULD BE CONSIDERED BY MANY AS ONE OF THE BEST ACTION FILMS OF LAST FEW DECADES. WHAT A LOVELY DAY INDEED!!!
This may seem sacrilegious but before I review this movie I must admit something. I have never seen a Mad Max film…Okay let me rephrase, I haven’t seen a Mad Max film in it’s entirety. Although from what I heard that wasn’t going to be a problem when watching this movie, and to my reassurance it wasn’t.
It’s bee thirty years since the last Mad Max film, Mad Max Beyond the Thunder dome, over those three decades writer director George Miller who conceived and helm the previous installments has bee longing to return to the franchise, ever since he had the first idea for Fury Road back in 1998, but various delays and obstacles got in the way of that happening, until 2010 when Mad Max was recast with Tom Hardy and pre production hit the ground running. Filming began in 2012 and from there the journey began for Fury Road.
The film, stars Tom Hardy as Mad Max, Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiousa, Nicolas Holt as Nux with Rosie Huntington Whiteley as Splendid and Zoe Kravitz as Toast and although its been 30 years since Beyond Thunderdome, this film takes place arguably either before or after The Road Warrior (the second installment in the franchise).
It’s here our story begins, we are introduced to Sad…I mean Mad Max (Tom Hardy), who lookslike Mickey Rourke from The Wrestler, he has become the ultimate loner, drifting through this baron land, plagued by the sins of his past, and hallucinating about the lives he has failed to save over the years, most notably his young daughter. However with his guard is down he is captured by a group of manic and sadistic gang of ‘warboys’, and bring him to the Citadel a desloate captial of this wasteland, where Max is brought to be a living and mobile blood donor for Nux (Nicholas Holt).
The citadel operates under Immortan Joe, a grotesquely overweight man who has a breathing apparatus and speaks in a throaty voice (so if Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine had a love child). Joe gets word that his Imperator, Furiosa (Charlize Theron) has taken his best and most prized breeders and plans to take them far away, Furiosa and Max cross paths and are force to join together for the sake of survival with an angry armada of crazed maniacs led by Immortan Joe hot on their trail. All that takes place in the first 10 mins of the film
When I saw the first trailer that premiered at comic con, I predicted that this film would be one big chase, and I was right. This film is one big, high octane, over the top, insanely crazy, enjoyable chase sequence and the best thing about it? IT’S AWESOME!!! 10 minuets into the film, my heart is racing and I was on the edge of my seat, sweating bullets and had the biggest smile on my face. I was way into this movie and to its credit the movie doesn’t really try to be anything more than a big action heavy cartoon.
Director George Miller and his cast and crew knew exactly what kind of film they were making and quite honestly if their goal was to create fun filled action heavy, set piece driven film, then they succeed in creating one of the best of the decade. The characters are given just enough deep to let you get behind them and realize their motivations, even the “wives” are given a surprising amount of depth and all give great performances with Huntington-Whiteley and Kravitz being the stand outs from the group.
Their motivations for wanting to escape Immortan Joe’s false paradise and labeling as basically sex slaves, makes you root for them almost automatically they are all strongly written and are tough and will do nearly anything necessary to ensure that they will not ever go back to being praised breeders, and despite their appearance in the trailers, aren’t just there for glamour shoots, nor are they damsels in distress, they bring the pain.
SPEAKING OF BRINGING PAIN, man oh man, Charlize Theron as Furiousa lives up to that badass name, and is just as strong, tough, and beautifully written as Tom Hardy’s Mad Max, if not then more so. Charlize is front and center in this film (a fact which has cause some blatantly dumb controversy).
Her character has the most character development out of anyone and is the most memorable (more than the titular character), she breaks the mold of being the female sidekick that usually tags along with the main male characters in these types of movies, she can keep up with Max, in everything from fighting, mechanics, brash wit and moral complexity. Furiousa will fit nicely with the great many strong female characters like Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripley, Katniss and Heromine.
Charlize has an incredible fight scene with Tom Hardy that is honestly probably my favorite scene in the whole film, it’s shot perfectly, and without any of the staple quick cuts and unmotivated camera movement you get in most action heavy blockbusters and their fight scenes, the context of fight makes it one of the most tensed filled scenes in the movie. Charlize’s performance as Furiosa is brilliant too.
She commits to the role and brings her A game as if she was contending for the Oscar ( a nomination which won’t happen but would be celebrated if came to fruition), Theron packs the emotional heft and boldness to take them from Hardy’s hands and carry it all the way to closing credits.
What of Mad Max himself, he kind of takes a backseat in this one, leaving much of screen time for Charlize and the ‘wives’ of Immortan Joe, which is understandable.
The way the character is written and the way Tom portrays Max is that he is a tortured sole, so has just realized the gravity and tole that all of this (the previous films) have had on him, his hallucinations of his daughter, though they rarely advance the story, add more dimensions and context for the characters predicament.
As for Hardy himself in the role, he does what the script is required for him to do, this isn’t really a stretch for Tom Hardy and it fits nicely into the roles his been playing for a while now, these mysteriously dangerous tough guy roles, who are more action than talk.
Speaking of which Hardy speaks in this raspy voice that is off putting at first but grows on you the more he speaks (which he does very little of in this movie, I estimate Hardy has a little over maybe 23 lines in this film). For the first half of the film Hardy doesn’t say much, mainly because he is strapped to a car driven by Nicholas Holt’s character, who uses Hardy as mobile blood donor.
Holt himself is great in the role and isn’t the one dimensional crazy goon he appears to be in the trailer, he isn’t always maniac and crazily energized, rather much more sympathetic once you really get into his character, and Holt, who is an actor I’ve never been really impressed with, blows it out the water as Nux, he’s plays him just as slimy in the beginning but throughout the course of the film slowly transitions, plus Holt’s get a great bit in the monstrous sandstorm which ultimately leads to the tagline that has been placed on the film posters and heavily feature in its marketing.
But enough with character, what was it I said about “Mad Max Fury Road being one of the best action films of the decade”, how can that be? It’s simple really, George Miller and his masterful team have crafted some of the best and ridiculously creative action scenes in modern cinema history, Michael Bay and others take not, this is how you shoot action.
While I marveled and laughed from sheer joy when watching these scenes I couldn’t help but wonder how they managed to pull something like this off. I can only imagine how tedious and tiresome the rehearsals and shooting of those big bombastic actions scenes must have been, for the stunt and effects team, but also for the actors and Miller himself. These brilliantly constructed stunts and scenes are each more daring, creative and bigger than the last which all leads into a beautiful chase through a sandstorm part way into the film that is just ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!
All this and so much more make Mad Max Fury Road one of the best films of the year, filled with everything needed to get your blood pumping, it’s a must see for all both fans of this franchise and the countless more it will bring once people see it.
Yep, that means EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!!! (my highest rating)