Review - Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max is an Australian post-apocalyptic action franchise created by George Miller who directed and wrote the films. The first three starred Mel Gibson as Max where the movies became wildly famous and a cult classic of sorts within the genre. Many films since then have tried to follow the same formula and even many video games nowadays have plenty of similarities to the original three films. In typical Hollywood fashion, they have now looked to the past to bring back a dead franchise to bring back to life. Luckily, George Miller returns to the franchise with a bang, a furious bang. It is easy to say after a first impression of seeing a new film things like, "That was the best action movie in awhile." That adage does apply here though as Fury Road impresses on every level. It is a beautiful film from it's acting, plot, direction, effects, music and even down to it's madness. Fury Road is a fun ride with plenty of action that never lets up, hell, it is a car chase for almost the entire film.
The plot is set in the distant future in a desert wasteland where civilization has fallen follows Max (Tom Hardy) as he gets captured by the War Boys, a tyrannical cult lead by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). In their clutches, Max is designated as a blood bag for Nux, (Nicholas Hoult) of the War Boys who is ailing from sickness. Meanwhile, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) drives her heavily armored war rig off to collect gasoline for Joe and their people. However, Joe is alerted when he finds out she has veered off course and that his five wives are gone. Realizing that Furiosa has betrayed him, Joe calls upon the forces of all his War Boys in pursuit of Furiosa. Having heard this news, Nux takes Max, his blood bag and jumps on the Fury Road in pursuit of glory. Max, of course breaks free only to find himself working alongside Furiosa on the road in hopes of doing what he does best, survive.
I went into this movie with little expectation, but with the general idea that it would be a fun movie with serviceable action. To an extent, I was right, but it blew away all of those expectations and set a precedent for future action films of the like. Fury Road sets itself apart from similar action films due to the use of practical affects over an over-use of CGI which lends itself very well to increasing the amount of tension to every scene and allowing the audience to stay engaged in it. George Miller not only films a terrific action film, but he penned a great one too. The only gripe would be that it is not Mad Max, and more of Furiosa's film. The two work great together, but the driving force of the movie is truly Furiosa's path to redemption and to save herself as well as Joe's five wives. It is a compelling piece to watch, but you'd figure that Max would also have a more compelling arc to his character other than the fact that he is haunted by visions of people that he has failed. To be fair, his arc echoes similarly to Furiosa's except Max is just the kind of person that Furiosa could become if she fails.
Tom Hardy is very good at portraying the world weary Max, you can feel his pain and his madness in just about every scene and every line. In some reviews I have read people complaining that he lacks the ability to show any charisma or cockiness, but that would be out of character in all reality. His character is far past that point as he is borderline insane and very much has become a nomad. Despite how dour his character is, Hardy still makes the character likable. However, Charlize Theron's Furiosa is the star of the show as she is truly both equally intimidating but also fragile. She is clinging to this potential false hope because she feels the necessity to do so, which Theron conveys without even talking about it. Both actors also do a tremendous job in their action scenes, and yet again it is nice to see actors actually participate in a lot of their own stunts. It maintains a heightened sense of realism throughout the film. Overall, I would say this ranks up there as one of the best action films in recent memory and it is an incredibly fun film to watch.