“As the world fell it was hard to know who was more crazy. Me… Or everyone else.”
The first thing I’ll say about this film is what a rush! Brace yourselves for a high octane ride that’s a spectacle for all the senses. It’s been 30 years since the last Mad Max movie came out and some wondered if there was even an audience still out there for such a bizarre concept. It was certainly a movie of it’s time when it came out in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
That being said I was and still am a huge fan of the first two Mad Max movies. Particularly the second one more commonly known as The Road Warrior. When I heard that the original director, George Miller was making another one, I was happy. When I heard Tom Hardy was attached to play Max I was elated. I thought Tom Hardy would be the perfect choice to replace Mel Gibson and I’m pleased to say that I was right. Hardy was excellent in the role but we’ll get to that more later.
The original movies always had this absurdity to them that was so weird and yet so impossible to look away. The new film Mad Max: Fury Road loses none of that. It just looks better thanks to the technology available to the film crews of today. Fury Road certainly feels more in line with The Road Warrior than with the original Mad Max in terms of style. Yet there are references and Easter eggs from the first Mad Max subtly peppered throughout the film.
George Miller called it, basically a long extended car chase with a ton of action, but it’s so much more than that. Don’t get me wrong, that is accurate but it’s the amount of story and character development that Miller manages to squeeze in that gets overlooked if you follow that description. Let’s break it down.
The meat of the plot is given to us early in the film from Max himself. He knows only one thing in this post apocalyptic wasteland. Survive. That is exactly what him and all other characters set out to do in the film. It’s just the conditions in which they do so that differ. Eventually Max becomes a pawn in a war between our villain, King Immortan Joe and Charlize Theron‘s Furiousa. Furiousa seeks to liberate Joe’s many wives whom he calls his ” breeders”, and allow them to enjoy life in what is known as ” The Green Place”. Max has little choice but to fight alongside Furiousa or face certain death at the hands of Joe and his War boys. It’s a simple yet solid story that focuses more on character. it’s clear that we are meant to follow these characters on their journey and experience their world. We try to make sense of it as much as they try to. The more I think back to it, the more I appreciate what they DIDN’T tell me. You can see it’s a well constructed world that Miller has created but he doesn’t take the viewer for granted and explain every facet of it. The questions works well which only make for intrigue.
The part we’ve all been waiting for. If you saw the trailers then you know the action looks insane… And it is that and more. There’s at least four big action scenes that are amazing. The last one is just unreal in terms of how good it is.
A staple of the past Mad Max movies was the realism of it’s action and how it was filmed. For Fury Road Miller and company decided to take that same approach and go old school with it. According to Miler, they actually filmed it incorporating real stunts and 90% real effects. That is a hell of a thing considering the amount of danger that is present throughout, pretty much the whole thing! If I had to summarize the action scenes in one word it would be, intense. Every time I was watching a crazy action scene I was on the edge of my seat flinching and ducking along with the characters. It was entertaining and fun while still being intense as hell. When it comes to action in movies these days I have to say that comic book movies have had an edge. That is not the case here. I can easily say that this is one of the best action movies I’ve seen in years!
The main baddie is, as mentioned before, Imortan Joe and his War Boys. Little known fact is that the actor who played Joe ( Hugh Keays-Byrne.) actually played the villain Toecutter in the first Mad Max film.
Suffice it to say, the antagonists in this film are as bizarre and screwed up as ever. Truly doing justice to all the sadistic weirdos that came before them in past Mad Max films. Joe himself is an intimidating and loathsome fellow. He’s got a fantastic look and a cool and ominous voice. His War boys look like white blood hungry versions of the Blue Man Group. You even have a hulked out version of one of them that proves to be a real handful for Max and company. Extremely memorable villains in every way. The only knock would have to be that I wished there was more Joe in the movie.
Outstanding. There wasn’t a weak link in the main cast that I could see. We talked briefly about Tom Hardy before and how good he was in it, but it was Charlize Theron’s Furiousa that impressed me the most. She brought so much intensity, power and compassion to that character. She was convincing in every facet. When she was kicking ass I believed it. Something that I can’t say the same for someone like Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow. I know they are vastly different movies but I had to throw it in there. A nod has to go to Nicholas Hoult, who played Nux. He provided tremendous energy and humour when needed. All the women in the movie played their parts well. it was especially nice to see some older women joining in on the action along with the men. Going back to Hardy, I have to say that he is a master of saying a lot using only his face and his body language. Particularity his eyes. Something he did to great effect as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and does here as well. Max actually grunts his way through more than half of the movie. Clearly he’s a man of action, so having an actor that can express those unspoken words and feelings is key.
Overall, this movie is an absolute thrill ride that is an early contender for Movie of the year. Don’t miss it!