Big budget Hollywood movies get a bad rap but every once in a while one comes along with reminds us why we like those kinds of films in the first place. Mad Max: Fury Road is that film and may go down in history as the most-perfect action movie in history. George Miller may have been making Happy Feet films recently but he goes back to his roots with a sequel/reboot/whatever of his iconic post-apocalyptic series.
The film’s greatest strength is its simplicity, Miller has said he wanted the film to play in any country with or without subtitles and therefore it’s a perfect example of Hitchcock’s concept of Pure cinema even more so than any film by the master of suspense himself. The film for intensive purposes is a 2 hour chase through the barren landscape of a post-apocalyptic desert which isn’t specifically Australia unlike the previous films. Basically the whole plot is a group of women led by Furiosa (Charlize Theron) rebel against their cult leader Immortan Joe who has held them captive. Max tags along with the women after he also escapes from Joe.
Tom Hardy has replaced Mel Gibson in the role of Max for a wide variety of reasons that are pretty obvious such as age, being basically blacklisted in Hollywood and his ambivalence to the role. Hardy has both the physicality needed for the role but also a much-needed sensitivity that is rare in actors. The recasting was criticised by some but I think at this point everyone has agreed Hardy is a more than adequate replacement.
During the run up of the film’s release there was quite hilarious push back from “men’s rights” activists that the film was “feminist propaganda” because the whole gist of the film is it’s about women escaping dominant men. They also were angry because to some extent Theron’s Furiosa is the dominant character in the film and Max takes a backseat if you will and thought because it’s a Mad Max it has to be only about Max. If anything this is refreshing in the male dominated world of the action films and for the record Max is just as ferocious as Furiosa.
Miller in this awful world of over done CGI has taken a back to basics old school approach to the stunts and effects in the film. The vast majority of the stunts are done on camera and if you watch any the making of features on the disc your jaw will drop with some of the crazy stuff the stunt men did, if you though The Road Warrior was crazy that’s nothing. The film obviously has tons of CGI as well but for the most part its stuff you simply couldn’t do on camera and colour correction and sandstorms etc.
Fans of the original three films unless they are so jaded you will not be disappointed and for my money it could quite possibly be the best film in the series and it’s certainly better than Beyond Thunderdome and I like that one very much. What other will you see a man with a fire-breathing guitar on a massive truck? It’s full of surreal imagery like the slave women who are milked for their breast milk and the deformed dwarf never-mind the Albino War Boys. Fury Road may be the Hieronymus Bosch of action cinema and I want the sequel now.
Sci-Fi, Action | Australia, 2015 |15 |Warner Bros | Dir.George Miller | Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley | Buy: [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]