Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the most exhilarating films of this year and is full of stunning visuals, phenomenal performances and rollercoaster action sequences.
The film marks the return of George Miller’s cult franchise to our screens since Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. After a troubled production history and being stuck in ‘development hell’ since 1998, I can honestly say that the film has been more than worth the wait. What I enjoyed most about this film is that I felt it had enough substance to be able to stand on its own two feet and that audiences do not have to be familiar with the previous Mad Max films in order to enjoy the story. The film takes place once again in a post apocalyptic future where Max Rockatansky, an ex cop, attempts to help a woman named Imperator Furiosa cross the mysterious desert and escape from a tyrannical warlord who goes by the name of Immortan Joe.
While the film marks the return of the Mad Max character, any fans will of course notice the replacement of Mel Gibson with Tom Hardy, who I can confidently say gave a career defining performance as Max. I can honestly say, that Mad Max: Fury Road is without a doubt the darkest film of the franchise mainly due to Hardy’s performance in changing Max’s character arc to a twisted and tortured soul as opposed to the slightly more humorous, B-movie action hero that Gibson conveyed. Supporting Hardy is the equally brilliant Charlize Theron in her performance as Furiosa. Theron’s character acts as almost a femme fatale who draws Max into helping her but deep down harbours a more sinister persona that is seen towards the middle of the film. Leading the way for the villains of the film is Hugh Keays-Byrne (who also played the main villain Toecutter in the first Mad Max) who plays Immortan Joe, the tyrannical warlord who leads a gang known as the War Boys, and who is relentless in his pursuit of both Max and Furiosa. Once again its characters like Immortan Joe and the War Boys who will make fans of the original franchise realise why Mad Max is so popular and for those who don’t, I highly envy you as your experience will be completely new.
The action sequences of the film I cannot speak highly enough. Miller has stated in an interview that over 90% of the stunts and action is done through practical methods as opposed to the now notorious Hollywood over usage of CGI. A lot of the action is quite reminiscent of that in The Road Warrior and with the mesmerising combined use of visuals and the post apocalyptic setting, I doubt almost entirely any film coming out this year will be able to top them. The visuals of the film are also some of the most engrossing and effective I have seen all year. Some of the main highlights of the visuals include: the extensive wide and long shots detailing the landscapes, the desert sand storm and the battle scenes. One of the best points I found about the visuals was almost an attempt to portray the desert as a sort of living, omnipotent entity; very much like the jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia in Apocalypse Now. I felt that by using the visuals in this way, that Mad Max: Fury Road was one of the best action films with a brain and a vision that I have seen in a very long time.
So overall, I would highly recommend this film to anyone, whether you’re an original Max Max fan or just a normal action film junkie. With the film doing incredibly well with the critics, the film has a very rare 99% approval rating on reviewer website Rotten Tomatoes, it is possible that Mad Max: Fury Road could go down as being one of the best films of the year and it would certainly get my vote all the way.
FINAL WORD: Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the greatest action films I have seen in recent years offering a phenomenal blend of mesmerising action, engrossing characters and direction beyond the highest quality.