Hard to believe, but it’s been 30 years since the last film in George Miller’s Mad Max trio, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. This time around, Miller is perfectly focused on one goal: achieving a high-speed, high-octane, non-stop thrill ride, which he does.
Set in the familiar post-apocalyptic desert landscape, a central establishment called Citadel is ruled over by an evil overlord named Immortan Joe who controls the population by rationing food and water, and keeps a harem of women for specific purposes like breeding and breast-feeding his mutant army of boys. A particular inhabitant, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), has a mechanical arm and a dream of returning to an Eden-like land called “The Green Place” where she was born. Her decision to take her rig on a detour during a fuel-raid sets the wheels in motion and begins the chase as Immortan Joe hunts her down (and a handful of his favorite wives she took with her).
This begins the spectacular chase that is most of Mad Max: Fury Road as Immortan Joe leaves the Citadel and tries to track her down. The caravan includes a frightening army of freaks driving insanely modified vehicles that include things like guns, spikes and flame-throwers, and is led by one particular vehicle crowned with a guy doing nothing but playing heavy-metal guitar. Max himself is caged to the front of one of the vehicles and his first order of business is getting out of that situation alive. Eventually he and Furiosa team up, and the rest of the film sees them fighting against Immortan Joe together, slowly learning to trust one another.
Though the plot is a little basic, the action in Fury Road is not. The stuntwork is thrilling, and at times totally crazy. The modified vehicles are really bizarre and interesting, and more over the top than in any of the previous Mad Max films. Throw in the biggest sandstorm you’ve ever seen, and Fury Road is over 2 hours of some of the most complex and satisfying action sequences every put on film. I wasn’t a big fan though of Miller’s technique of speeding up the film in several scenes to make the action appear faster. I felt it was very obvious and didn’t do anything to make the scenes any better…just gave them an odd, frenetic look.
Tom Hardy brings a much more subtle approach to the Max character, and overall I liked it. But it is Theron who really steals the spotlight as Furiosa. She has the bigger role, and is fantastic and a great casting choice. Though successful in many ways, she is the key ingredient that makes the movie work so well. Thrilling from start to finish, Fury Road is the most enjoyable installment in Miller’s Mad Max franchise so far.
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::: Renowned For Sound Technical Director and Film Reviewer ::: Robert is an IT geek, movie fan and part-time movie reviewer/editor. Robert also looks after the ‘behind the scenes’ technical elements of Renowned For Sound.