Movie Review

Film Review: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015): A High-Octane Feast

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Film Review, a movie directed by George Miller, starring Nathan Jones, Josh Helman, Angus Sampson, Richard Carter, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Megan Gale, Courtney Eaton, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee KershawRichard Norton, and Adelaide Clemens.

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD may be thirty years late to the table, but it’s a scrumptious, high-octane feast well worth the wait. Australian director George Miller returns to the driver’s seat, transporting us back to the dystopian, not-so far flung future of the franchise that catapulted him to the A-list and made Mel Gibson a mega-star. Mel isn’t along for the ride this time, but that’s just fine. This is a harsh world with no room for sentimentality.

Thomas Hardy takes the reigns of the titular character as if he was born to it, capturing the spirit of Mel’s monosyllabic iconic take, without ever seeming a pale copy. It’s not unlike a Bond movie were they’re introducing a new Bond. The trappings are familiar, but the good Bonds always add a distinct flair all their own. Hardy does just that, and more. His Max starts out decidedly more mad than the Max of yore; he’s damaged goods who’s been in survival mode for way too long. Seeing if he’ll ultimately find his lost humanity is just part of the fun of this very bumpy ride.

Not to be outmatched, Charlize Theron rocks as Imperator Furiosa. She’s a one-armed driving machine with a close-cropped hair cut and a maternal instinct we haven’t seen since a certain Ripley kicked some ALIEN booty way back when. The rest of the supporting cast add just the right touch of their own crazy as all manner of bizarre, mutated humans; but I especially enjoyed Nicholas Hoult, the re-animated guy from that zombie romance flick. He makes a loveable character out of an albino gear-head junky that we really should root to die.

But enough about the actors! With a title like FURY ROAD, you gotta know the cars are the real stars. And what great cars they are; each with more personality than the leading men in many blockbuster action movies. These cars are a mixture of metal, muscle, and S&M whimsy, a Detroit automaker’s feverish wet dream. It’s this love of all things vehicle, the recklessly wild real stunts, (including some high speed, death defying aerial gymnastics that are too crazy to be believed, but too organically shot not to be), that make this movie an adrenaline rush of non-stop action. I had the pleasure of seeing it in Imax Laser 3D and you felt like you needed to buckle up for safety, the action was so real. In a word, it was awesome!

And with the choice of FURY in the title, you can’t help but draw comparisons to other car-centric action fair, most notably the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise. Where the F&F franchise often seems hard pressed to find a logical reason to keep the cars integral to the drama, FURY ROAD is all about the road. They are trapped in the endless highways of some hinted at post apocalyptic world. It’s this focus on the cars that makes this film a superior entry in the MAD MAX franchise; it’s a magic ingredient that the last sequel, THUNDERDOME, was sorely lacking, but a throw back to the great, first sequel, ROAD WARRIOR.

“Thank the desolate wastelands” that FURY ROAD is not a retreaded reboot or a re-imagination as so often happens these days as studios mine and re-mine ad infinitum. Gloriously light on exposition, the movie requires no knowledge of the prior movies to be thoroughly enjoyed. If anything, it may encourage a generation of new viewers to dust off their DVD’s and enjoy the original ROAD WARRIOR anew. What could easily have suffered the curse of another long delayed sequel, (remember INDIANA JONES AND THE CRYSTAL SKULL anyone?), FURY ROAD is instead a vibrant, exciting motion picture event with a surprisingly feminist twist.

Rating: 9/10

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Kevin Glover

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