Film Review: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (spoiler free)

Let the madness commence…

Starring:  Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne

Directed by:  George Miller / Written by:  George Miller, Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris

What’s it about?

In the post-apocalyptic wastelands, the lone warrior Max Rockatansky forges an unlikely alliance with the Imperator Furiosa as they are pursued across the barren deserts by the tyrannical warlord known as Immortan Joe…

In review

Coming 30 years after the release of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and surmounting the pitfalls of a troubled and protracted production, Mad Max: Fury Road marks the return of director/writer George Miller’s cult anti-hero, the ‘road warrior’ Max Rockatansky.  The title of this newest chapter in the Mad Max ‘odyssey’ is both apt and telling for Fury Road is as mad as it is furious…and all the more fun and exhilarating for it.

Tom Hardy is a suitably gruff and slightly more psychotic Max, an extension of Mel Gibson’s original portrayal that doesn’t stray sharply from what has come before yet allows Hardy to make the role his own.  Despite this being a Mad Max film it’s actually surprising that Max himself largely relinquishes the stage to the Imperator Furiosa, right-hand women of central villain Immortan Joe (original Mad Max actor Hugh Keays-Byrne) whose subsequent betrayal initiates the film’s narrative as Furiosa escapes with the Immortan’s wives (amongst them Transformers: Dark of the Moon’s Rosey Huntington-Whitely and X-Men: First Class’s Zoe Kravitz) in search of salvation and redemption in the green promised land of her origins.  Theron gives her all to present a tough as nails and reasonably defined action heroine, kudos to both the creativity of Theron and Miller (also serving as co-screenwriter).

Keays-Byrne is appropriately deranged as Immortan Joe, spouting manic sermons as he leads his band of rabid albino followers across the barren wastelands in relentless pursuit of Furiosa.  Amongst those minions is Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past) as the devoted Nux, another of the film’s eccentric characters that is granted an appreciable amount of screen time.  He’s a joy to watch and is as much a part of the piece as Max and Furiosa.

Much like the desert landscapes Fury Road depicts, dialogue is sparse and storytelling kept lean and simplistic.  It’s not wholly important in the grand scheme of things for this is an outrageous and pounding attack on the viewer’s senses as Miller runs riot with a not-so-modest production budget (rumoured at around $150,000,000) to deliver some of the most elaborate and exhilarating vehicular action sequences ever realised – the smashing and grinding of metal complemented by the surging electronic symphonies of Tom Holkenborg’s (aka Junkie XL) music.  It’s all the more impressive considering that the action was largely achieved practically with only the merest hints of CGI enhancement.

Needless to say then for Mad Max: Fury Road, the dial has been turned up to eleven as the wall to wall action refuses to allow the audience to catch their breath.  There is however the odd patch of calm to allow an appreciation of the subtleties of character and the desert vistas, presented by some beautifully striking cinematography.

Ultimately Fury Road doesn’t quite match up to the greatness of Mad Max 2 but director George Miller delivers a solid continuation of the Mad Max series that retains the niche quality of those original Mel Gibson outings whilst expanding the appeal to modern blockbuster audiences with its non-stop action and raw energy.

The bottom line:  Mad Max: Fury Road is a brutal mash-up of deranged madness, delightfully eccentric characters and adrenalin infused action that will exhaust the senses and boggle the mind.

Mad Max: Fury Road is in cinemas now.

George Miller's iconic road warrior returns in the relentless and exhilirating 'Mad Max: Fury Road'.

George Miller’s iconic road warrior returns in the relentless and exhilirating ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’.

7 thoughts on “Film Review: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (spoiler free)

  1. Summer 2015 is turning out just fine. I’m yet to see this or Avengers, but I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy them both. It’s also a reminder to go back and watch the Mel Gibson films. Dare I say, I’m not even sure if I’ve ever had the pleasure of Mad Max 2. *ducks for cover*

    • Haha…wow! You’re definitely in for a treat with MM2, most consider it to be the best of the series. Summer 2015 sure is off to a good start, just booked for Jurassic World and Terminator – fingers crossed they deliver 🙂

  2. Hey Chris! I didn’t realize the budget was THAT high, I thought it was closer to $100 mil which was already astronomical compared to the first trilogy. But hey, George Miller made good w/ all that money. The action & visuals are spectacular, but the story also has a lot of heart. Love all the performers, heck even Rosey Huntington-Whitely was quite good here, imagine that.

    • Yeah, couldn’t believe it myself it did seem rather high – but seems the film is turning a profit in terms of worldwide gross so looks like Miller will get to make a sequel (which he reportedly already has a script for)! Hope we get a bit more of Tom Hardy’s Max next time but agree with you about the cast as a whole – yes, even Rosey Huntington-Whitely!

      Thanks for your thoughts 🙂

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