Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
A Review by: Jeff Turner
Dir: George Miller
Written by: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
Now Playing At: Aksarben Cinema, AMC Star Council Bluffs 17, Marcus Midtown Cinema, AMC Westroads, Marcus Twin Creek Cinema, AMC Oakview Plaza 24, Regal Omaha Stadium 16, Marcus Majestic Cinema of Omaha, Marcus Village Pointe Cinema.
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicolas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Riley Keough, Hugh Keays-Byrne.
The original MAD MAX trilogy are masterstrokes of B-cinema. You can say a lot about director George Miller (Zeus and Roxanne, anybody?) but you cannot accuse him of lacking imagination. There are so many crazy things going on in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD that I had not seen before, that it was hard to keep track of all of them, and nearly impossible to catch everything on a first viewing.
Max (Played here by Tom Hardy) gets taken captive by a group known as the War Boys, led by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who portrayed the Toe-Cutter in the first film!) He is freed by Nux (Nicolas Hoult) who uses him as a blood bag. Max eventually breaks free, and partners up with Furiousa (Charlize Theron) out of convenience more than anything. Furiousa has freed various women that Joe had kept as sex slaves (Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough) and is taking them to safety.
That’s garnered controversy for some reason. Various gentlemen on the internet don’t like that a woman is at the center of this narrative. To which I reply, have you even seen any of the other MAD MAX movies? They claim so, but I doubt it. George Miller has always written strong female characters in this series, he’s been doing this since THE ROAD WARRIOR.
Let’s talk about the movie’s practical effects. They are incredible. They really remind me of 60′s, 70′s, and 80′s action movies. I don’t mean to act like an old man, but FURY ROAD is evidence that with the loss of a focus on practical focus, action movies have lost a certain magic. This movie’s been in production since 2010 and it shows. The set pieces are massive, and its hard to pick out one that stands out. The film turns its violence into an art form.
I was a fan of the MAD MAX series going in. Fair notice: if you’re not a fan you could be turned off by Miller’s directing style, because he puts so much in his movies. I wasn’t exhausted by FURY ROAD, but I could see how somebody might be. The film is one long chase scene with little devoted to down time. Miller is a great filmmaker, but the money he spends on movies like this must be massive.
There are two things I was concerned about going in: both fears were assuaged. One, was that Nicolas Hoult’s Nux would be a wet blanket just like his performances in SKINS and X-MEN. I couldn’t have been more wrong, Hoult has a glint in his eye unlike anything I’ve ever seen from him in a movie before. The other was that Tom Hardy wouldn’t capture the stoicism that Mel Gibson perfected about the role (I’m praising Mel Gibson, I know, he wasn’t like how he is now back thirty years ago when these movies were being made).
I love the palette that cinematographer John Seale finds. MAD MAX is not a sparkling movie, but he still allows the film to be vibrant with color. Many of the shots seemed like they would work really well in 3D, it didn’t seem like it would have the problem that typical 3D movies have where the conversion looks darker. Many shots look like a painting, this isn’t really an art film, but it feels like it.
Its hard to talk about this movie too much, because there isn’t really a whole lot wrong with it. The film starts out engaging, and only gets progressively more so as it goes on. If you like the other films, or if you like older action movies, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is not to be missed.
Suggestion: See it in 3-D