Release Date: 14 May 2015
Running Time: 120 min
Director: George Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whitely
Every now and then an action movie comes along that leaves its contemporaries trailing in its dusty wake. With its comic book inspired visuals, propulsive plot and operatic sense of scale Mad Max: Fury Road is just such a film, an exquisitely berserk piece of cinema that thrills and astonishes throughout its two hour running time.
The fourth part in a series that’s never been fussy about continuity, Fury Road finds our titular character wandering the post-apocalyptic desert wasteland haunted by the memories of those he’s lost. Broken, directionless and only driven on by his survival instincts Max as played by Tom Hardy seems damaged rather than wrathful, particularly in comparison with Mel Gibson’s hollowed out interpretation. However, it doesn’t take long for Mr Rockantansky to rediscover a sense of purpose albeit fleetingly.
Ambushed and captured by a gang of bald, pale skinned mutants who serve as ‘Warboys’ for tyrannical community leader Immortan Joe, Max finds himself used as a human blood bag, slowly being drained to replenish the radiation poisoned blood of Nicholas Hoult’s Warboy Nux. When Furiosa – one of Immortan Joe’s lieutenants – goes rogue and steals Joe’s harem of wives to free them from a life of enforced breeding; Max is dragged along in her pursuit, part of a vast convoy of grotesquely modified vehicles that tear across the desert to reclaim Joe’s ‘property’.
Max spends a good chunk of the opening act either hanging from a cell or strapped to the front of a car like a demented hood ornament. As such it falls to Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa, a one-armed, shaven-headed badass to drive the plot. With such strong female characters and a plot that deals with the commodification and mistreatment of women, Fury Road is surely the most feminist mainstream blockbuster for quite some time.
Visually Fury Road is a treat. The colours of the wasteland are unnaturally vibrant, and each frame is populated with weird and wonderful characters & landscapes that make a mockery of the grim, washed out look of most blockbuster films. At times things look like an undiscovered Frank Miller comic come to life, beautifully brutal and gleefully grotesque.
On top of all that Fury Road contains some of the most exhilarating, insane and downright fun action scenes of recent years. Ostensibly one long chase sequence, punctuated with brief moments of respite, the film seldom relents once its engine is running. Director George Miller has a deep understanding of action cinema and how it works. Instead of the frantically edited nonsense found in the films of directors like Michael Bay, Miller choreographs his stunts like diesel-powered musical numbers; there’s a grace and beauty to the mayhem on show.
Demented, dangerous and delightful, Mad Max: Fury Road demands to be seen. You’d be mad to miss it.