Ryan Pollard takes a look at the reboot of Mad Max as Tom Hardy takes on the role popularized by Mel Gibson in the classic dystopian trilogy…
The long-awaited revitalisation of the Mad Max saga, Mad Max: Fury Road takes place in the barren apocalyptic wasteland where humanity is broken, and almost everyone is fighting for the necessities of life. The ruler of this established order is the ruthless Immortan Joe (looking like Bane’s demented granddad), who controls the water supply for all inhabitants, and claims potential heirs from the healthiest of women. Within this world exist two rebels, who are on the run from Immortan Joe, and might be the ones to stop his reign of fear and terror. There’s Max, a man of both action and few words that is seeking solace following the loss of his wife and child, and Imperator Furiosa, a former accomplice of Joe seeking revenge on him by stealing his prized possessions (his wives) and determined to take them across the desert to her childhood home. Along the way both Max and Furiosa have to deal with many dangerous clans, most of them loyal to Joe and his army.
Thirty years since the last film, Fury Road had a lot riding on it with George Miller returning after weirdly doing the Happy Feet films in between, and the film taking a long and complicated journey to get distributed and released. Now, since its release, critics and audiences have lauded it up with many claiming it to be one of the greatest action movies ever made, whilst others claim it to be a great and empowering feminist movie in terms of its portrayal of Furiosa, the Wives and the Vavalini clan. To put it simply, Fury Road is indeed a special kind of movie on so many levels; it starts off at a yomping pace and it continues in that pace for the whole film.
The bulk of this movie is that it’s just one long and massive car chase across a vast and perilous desert-like wasteland, but what’s unique about it is that in the midst of this long car chase, you get a lot of narrative and character development happening, yet it’s all executed in a unique way. When each of the characters is introduced, it’s never explained to you immediately who they are and what their story is, and it’s over time you understand them and their motivations. Also, the action in the movie cranked up to eleventy-stupid, you are awestruck by just how intense and well executed these set pieces are.
Also, it has been heavily reported that nearly all action sequences were done practically with little effects involved, which astonishing since no one has died in the making of this production. But, what’s more amazing is the incredible attention to detail, from the exquisitely crafted vehicles to the body-horror-eque makeup, and it’s clear that George Miller and his production have worked so hard to make this as visually stunning as possible. Frankly, this gorgeous scenery would even make Zack Snyder’s eyes water. Plus, the score by Junkie XL is every bit as pulse-pounding as it was in 300: Rise of an Empire, and who knows what he’ll do now with teaming up with Hans Zimmer for Batman v Superman.
As far as performances go, everyone gives in one hundred percent. Tom Hardy hardly gets any dialogue, but once he lets rip, he really does let rip, and this goes to show how incredible Hardy is as a physical performer. Huge plaudits however must be given to Charlize Theron for creating one of the most iconic female heroines of all time. Theron gives the character of Furiosa a fascinating concoction of toughness, grit, tenderness and immense gravitas as we learn more and more about her. Nicholas Hoult gets arguably the biggest character arc and he’s a perfect mixture of insanity and tragedy, whilst Hugh Keays-Byrne is an intimidating screen presence. Regarding the Wives, despite looking like something out of Vogue Magazine, each of them gets their moment to shine, even surprisingly Rosie Huntington-Whitely.
Even if the car chases can be a bit too much for two-hours, Fury Road overcomes those niggles by its non-stop entertainment. It’s the biggest Mad Max film to date, not just with its sense of scale, but also with its deep selection of characters, all of which are helped by credible performances from the entire cast. The fact that George Miller can still make an action film this flawless in execution, whilst never managing to be dull, boring or clichéd in any way, makes Mad Max: Fury Road a remarkable film on almost every level.