Visionary director George Miller
returns to the franchise that launched his career 36 years ago, with a fourth installment, Mad Max: Fury Road, a film seen as a renaissance of the franchise and quite possibly one of the best action films of the century. The first film in the franchise not to star Mel Gibson as the titular character, actor Tom Hardy takes over as Max Rockatansky, a survivor in the apocalyptic wasteland searching for his place in the abyss. This action packed adventure is a throat punch to your senses and one hell of a wild ride.
His name is Max (Tom Hardy) and his world fire and blood. Life in this world is reduced to a single instinct: survive, but survival is not an easy task. Max is a loner running from the ghosts of his past, memories that haunt his every move. Being a loner makes you more susceptible in this world, predators across every dune, looking for any opportunity to kill you and take what’s yours. The perfect introduction, or re-introduction for some, into the world of the mad.
We begin with Max being captured by the War Boys, the army of tyrannical cult leader King Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Taken to a mountainside fortress called the Citadel, Max is imprisoned and used as a blood donor for a sick War Boy named Nux (Nicholas Hoult). We see into the chaotic nature of the Citadel, where War boys control and harvest the resources for Joe while hordes of desperate survivors beg for even a single drop of water. In need of replenishment of their gasoline supply, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) drives her heavily-armored War Rig to collect more from Gastown, but instead veers off course and makes a run for it. Joe quickly realizes that his five wives are gone and scrambles his entire War Boy army in pursuit of Furiosa, as well as calling on the aid of nearby Gas Town and the Bullet Farm to assist in the pursuit.
Nux joins the army and straps Max to the hood of his car, to continue supplying blood. A battle ensues between the Rig and Joe’s forces which leads to a chance for Max to make his escape. Max encounters Furiosa and the wives and reluctantly agrees to let them accompany him. Furiosa informs Max of her plan to make a run for the “Green Place”, a location she remembers from her youth, as a safe place for the wives. As the group begins their journey into the unknown, Nux continues his pursuit of the traitor Furiosa to bring Joe’s prized wives back to him and receive the rewards. With Joe’s army quickly closing in, Max and Furiosa must face the battle of their lives which will test not only their physical state, but their mental one as well.
From start to finish, Mad Max: Fury Road is non stop action. George Miller attention to detail in his vision of this apocalyptic world is captivating. Miller’s film, essentially, plays as one big chase scene, with a few detours here and there, but the real genius in this film is the use of real-time stunt work in place of CGI. The action choreography in Mad Max: Fury Road coupled with the astounding camerawork is mind-blowing. The sheer spectacle that is the stunt work and destruction of these vehicles is worth the price of the ticket alone.
The world is riddled with interesting characters using futuristic dialogue which add to the insanity of the landscape. Tom Hardy is compelling as Max. His take on the character plays nicely in concert with Gibson’s version with a few added quirks that remind us that Max is still a man underneath despite his damaged psyche. Charlize Theron is astounding as Furiosa and one of the strongest female characters we’ve seen in a long time. Whether driving with a furious determination or contemplating her life thru all her struggles, Theron commands the attention of the audience in every scene and excels in her ability to make us feel for her character at every turn. The remaining cast, including the wonderful Nicholas Hoult, add to the character rich landscape of this film beautifully, each adding their signature to an already exquisitely acted film.
Overall, Mad Max: Fury Road is a amazing feat of action film making. George Miller has created yet another masterpiece in his apocalyptic franchise, one that I can safely say, honors the previous films with intense care. Do not miss this film.
4 1/2 out of 5
After Credit Scene?