REVIEW: Mad Max – Fury Road (2015)

Warner Bros. Pictures poster for Mad Max: Fury Road

The following is a review of Mad Max: Fury Road — Directed by George Miller.

Thirty years ago the last Mad Max-film, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, was released. Although all three films are beloved by fans, it is still somewhat of a cult franchise. Sure, very few people realize just how much the original Mad Max films gave to its genre. Yes, some people have surely understimated the impact of the film series. But the franchise is, by no means, a film that young audiences hold dear right now. Nevertheless, you don’t get many better dystopian action films than Mad Max: Road Warrior. However, I am pleased to report that the latest Mad Max-sequel, Mad Max: Fury Road, actually tops it. George Miller’s latest film is absolutely terrific.

To be perfectly, I have never been a fan of the Mad Max-film series. When I sat down to watch the Tom Hardy-led fourth installment in the franchise, I, frankly, only really loved Road Warrior — the second installment. But as this new movie came to an end, I quickly realized that this sequel makes the entire franchise, each and every installment, much better simply by being associated with it. Fury Road is that good.

This film is extremely intense. From the very first minute to the very last, you are treated to some of the best and most intense action scenes that, frankly, I’ve ever seen. Many fellow critics have said this is an action-classic-in-the-making, and I can only say that I agree; it may actually be the best original pure-action film that I’ve ever seen. However, the story is actually quite simple and straightforward. It is basically just a road movie where Max Rockatansky (played by Tom Hardy) runs into a group of so-called ‘wives’ from a cult, who have freed themselves with the help of the strong-willed Imperator Furiosa (played by Charlize Theron). Soon, Max, Furiosa, and the wives are chased by a cult leader and his obsessed and drugged followers.

Hugh Keays-Byrne’s Immortan Joe, a cult leader, is the antagonist of the film Now, Mad Max films aren’t necessarily known for their villains, but I really enjoyed what Hugh Keays-Byrne did with his ‘Joe.’ Nicholas Hoult’s character, Nux, was a nice surprise in the film. You don’t really get an idea of his importance from the trailers, but his portrayal of Nux is fun, exciting, and a joy to watch. People are, for obvious reasons, going to compare Mel Gibson’s Max to Tom Hardy’s Max from now and until the end of time. And look, Gibson is a strong actor, and his Max Rockatansky was understandably very popular. But Tom Hardy’s performance is as strong as it could be, and I doubt any fan of the originals would be disappointed with Hardy. However, they may be disappointed by the fact that this is really more of a passing of the torch, and that Max Rockatansky is not really the most important character. Actually, Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa is the star of the film. Charlize Theron is magnificent as Furiosa, and to be honest, she is my favorite part of the film. There is a power and a persistence to her that is really compelling, and her character design is outstanding.

This is a phenomenal achievement from George Miller, a seventy-year-old film director who masters these overwhelming and intense action scenes in a way that is just astounding. I love that this film, in a way, stands on its own, even though it is a reboot of the franchise. You don’t have to have seen the previous three Mad Max films. Now, these previous films have basically become urban legends about this ‘mad’ individual that only add to the richness of the universe. The action scenes and stunts are mind-bending, and the look of the film is staggeringly impressive. The use of orange and blue colors in the film are memorable, and the environment and world-building just lock you into place as you watch it. The color-manipulated shots of wide-open spaces and the wild sped-up action shots just make this enthralling film feel wholly unique. This is a technical achievement, an incredible action film, and a cinematic experience. It really is overwhelming.

Final Score: 9.5 out of 10 – Oh, what a film. What a lovely film.

– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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