Mad Max: Fury Road
If I had to sum up Mad Max: Fury Road in one word, it would be “Insane”.
And that’s a compliment by the way.
I went into Fury Road not quite knowing what to expect. The hype over this film was intense and the trailers made it look absolutely awesome. But they also gave me that niggling feeling that the trailers were overselling the film and that the hype would ultimately lead to disappointment. I knew the basic backstory to Mad Max – what 40-something male doesn’t? But the only film in the series I’ve seen is the Thunderdome one, which did nothing to prepare me for what George Miller was about to unleash on the massive iMax screen. I mean, other than vague, distant memories of Thunderdome, which mainly consists of wondering how Tina Turner got the part, the only thing I’ve seen that Miller has done is Babe: Pig In The City and Happy Feet (I have kids), neither of which gives Miller much cred when it comes to creating a post apocalyptic masterpiece.
But a trippy, insane, drug fueled masterpiece it is.
Tom Hardy is billed as one of the main stars and plays the role of Max Rockatansky, a man haunted his inability to save his wife and daughter. The film kicks off with Max having visions of his daughter, then a brief chase and he is captured by the War Boys to be used as nothing more than a human sized blood bag.
But whilst Max is the man with his name in the film’s title, this isn’t really a story about him. Enter stage left Charlize Theron playing the role of Imperator Furiosa. Fury Road is really her redemption story, as she attempts to flee the iron grasp of Immortan Joe, the cult like leader of the War Boys who is desperate to have one of his wives birth him a son worthy to take over his empire. Furiosa decides that it’s time these ‘wives’ had a chance at freedom, and this is where the films action really starts to kick in. Furiosa is a woman with a mission, and next to her, Tom Hardy’s Max is nothing more than a mumbling Blood bag.
Which is funny because the only reason Max has anything to do with this story, is that Nux is receiving a blood transfusion when Joe realsises that he’s been crossed by Furiosa and sends the War Boys after her. Not wanting to miss out on the action – or his chance at a glorious entry into Valhalla – Nux decided to stick his human blood bag on the front of his vehicle so he can join the fray whilst continuing with his transfusion.
Two things happen from this point. The action goes absolutely insane, and Nux steals every scene he is in. Poor Tom Hardy doesn’t stand a chance next to Nux (played by Nicholas Hoult), and the film’s visual and action orientated intensity is complimented by Nux’s insane role as a radiated, drugged up warrior with one goal in life – to die gloriously for his spiritual leader, Joe.
Whilst Nux is Fury Road’s character highlight, the film is painfully short on storyline or character development. Not that this really matters, because the action is insanely intense and filled with over the top details that in any other film would look silly and out of place, but under Miller’s guidance fits perfectly in a post apocalyptic landscape. One such detail is having one of the vehicles laden with massive drums on the back, beating out a war tempo, whilst on the front, in a swinging harness is a dude with a flame-throwing electric guitar and about a hundred speakers. But it works, it feels right and adds the the sheer madness of the film.
Fury Road never lets up. It has lulls between the action, but Miller just keeps piling on more and more action sequences. Just when you think the film has climaxed and is about to end, boom, another massive adrenaline fueled scene assaults your senses.
I read somewhere that Miller claimed there was hardly any CGI in Fury Road. This is not quite true, but what I think Miller was saying is that every action sequence was filmed with actual vehicles and stuntmen, and the CGI was used only to enhance the action, not create it. And this reaps massive rewards for Miller as the film’s action is not only visually awesome, but also learns strongly towards the believable.
Mad Max will not please everyone, the action and visual overload of the film will be too much for some. But for me, this family squabble is the most exciting, cinematic thrill ride I’ve been on since The Raid 2, and is one of those rare films that deserves to been seen multiple times on the biggest screen possible.
Thank you George Miller, after the near nauseating amount of packaged action that Hollywood has been feeding us, you have once again made films mind blowingly enjoyable again.
Rating: R16 Violence & content that may disturb.