Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Review:

Who knew sand could look so good?

Ooh, explosion-y.
Ooh, explosion-y.

Director: George Miller

Runtime: 120 minutes

Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, et al…

Plot (taken from IMDb): A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in post-apocalyptic Australia in search for her homeland with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshiper, and a drifter named Max.

First things first, I’d like to admit something: I had never seen any of the Mad Max movies before watching Fury Road, so I had no idea what to expect of it. I knew of Mad Max before seeing this movie, I knew that it was Australian, that is was presumably mad and I also knew it had cars – that was the extent of my knowledge for the series. I left the cinema knowing that Fury Road is Australian, is mad and does contain cars… well, that, and that it was rather spectacular.

Indeed, Fury Road is so insane, that it is quite a difficult film to explain, but to those unawares I’ll give it a go. Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is a road warrior in a post-apocalyptic Australia, captured by a strange, zombie-like group of people who worship their leader with an eye to use Max as some kind of blood-bank, in order to stay alive in their search for fuel and ultimately, water. However, during one of their scheduled trips to gather fuel, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) as the driver of the fuel tankard lorry tries to disappear, in order to search for her homeland, Max gets caught up in this and all hell breaks loose.

There's also this guy, who actually played this guitar, with a flamethrower, on a moving car, blind, on a bungee rope.
There’s also this guy, who actually played this guitar, with a flamethrower, on a moving car, blind, on a bungee rope.

The plot becomes more complicated but I won’t spoil it, it is an interesting plot, but ultimately it is just a device to frame car chases, fights and explosions around. The car chases, fights and explosions are fantastic throughout with brilliant choreography, stunts and special-effects. All of the many action scenes are instilled with a mad sense of adrenaline, craziness and excitement that is surely missing from many other action films.

All of these action scenes however are held together by fine performances from two of the film’s three leads – Charlize Theron as the imposing Furiosa and Nicholas Hoult as Nux, one of the worshipers who gets more screen-time. Charlize Theron is confident and powerful when she needs to be, and emotional at times as well, it’s a great performance for a character that kind of steals the limelight from what perhaps should be Tom Hardy’s film. Nicholas Hoult also steals the screen whenever he is on it, his performance as Nux is mad, full of vigour and unbridled energy, and again, in the latter stages of the film, his character slows down and becomes a tad more emotional – his is my favourite performance in the film.

Oh what a day. What a lovely Day!
Oh what a day. What a lovely Day!

This is however, not Tom Hardy’s film, and while he doesn’t give a bad performance, he does give a strange one – barely speaking. I’m sure his lack of speech was a directorial choice, but when he does speak, his lines are delivered in a very matter-of-fact manner – Max is a man of few words and emotion it seems. Now, again, I haven’t seen the original films, so I am unaware of how Mel Gibson’s Max spoke or acted, but Tom Hardy seems fairly static, with restricted movements as well as speech. Tom Hardy I think was a slightly odd choice as Max in general though, I mean, his Australian accent leaves little to be desired.

Oh yeah, there's also this guy - he bad.
Oh yeah, there’s also this guy – he bad.

Luckily, though, the cinematography is desirable, with some thanks to CGI I think the colours in the film are incredibly rich and the image is outstandingly detailed. Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the nicest looking films I have seen for a long while, even though it uses a lot of browns, yellows and oranges. I never thought that sand, dirt and sandstorms could look so good and the Australian Outback during post-apocalypse looks beautiful, George Miller and John Seale have a fine eye for detail and design.

Mad Max: Fury Road is a well-made film full of excitement, adrenaline and fantastic visuals, but over the course of two hours, I think it needed one or two more slightly quieter moments; like a relentless metal album, Fury Road can feel a tad over-the-top at times, and while that is its strength, for some I feel like it could be its weakness.

Summary:

Mad Max: Fury Road is, as the name suggests, mad. This is a film full of excitement, adrenaline and striking visuals, backed up with some fine acting. The lead performance from Tom Hardy is a little strange, but you can overlook that as this is one great action movie, one of the best for a long time – it’s perhaps just a tad too over-the-top for some though.

Mad, violent, exciting and mad, definitely worth a watch – even if you haven’t seen the originals.

90/100

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