There is a word that can strike fear into the heart of any die hard fan of a franchise, that word is reboot. The original “Mad Max” – made way back in 1979 – garnered positive reviews and two sequels. The reboot / fourth film in the franchise “Mad Max: Fury Road” needed to be good, very good, and it is.
Now to review the movie in spoiler free fashion, but first a tiny bit of history. “Mad Max: Fury Road” comes to us from writer, producer, director George Miller. If that name is familiar to you, perhaps you already know Miller is the man who brought us the original “Mad Max” movie 30 years ago and its two followups “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior” (1981) and “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” (1985). If anyone knows the Mad Max franchise, it’s this guy.
From its opening scene to its last, “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a delicious post apocalyptic visual treat. With dialogue playing second fiddle to the cinematic landscape and explosions aplenty, it packs brainless punch, though that is not all. The quieter moments in “Mad Max: Fury Road” have real emotional bite and some thought-provoking moments, though it does not hit the viewer over the head with eco lectures as one might expect. Tom Hardy’s ‘Max’ is the quiet spoken hero with not much to say. Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa is the anchor of the film, with her plight and search central to those emotion filled moments. She is in some ways a new generation’s Ellen Ripley, badass and maternal (though let’s face it, can anyone really outdo Ripley?… nah).
“Mad Max: Fury Road” has something for everyone, and that probably accounts for those ridiculously high review scores it’s swimming in. To the action film nut there are car chases and fight scenes unlike anything else, all over the top, gratuitously hardcore and surprisingly without the overuse of CGI. To the film fan looking for something deeper, it is an allegorical masterpiece about climate change, sustainability, class and gender. For those floating somewhere in between the two there’s plenty to sate them also.
Overall “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a wonderful addition to the franchise and a great action movie. Though it is essentially one long car chase interspersed with a little characterisation, it does so in such stylish manner that it’s highly enjoyable. Theron’s portrayal of the feisty Furiosa is ass kicking and heart-felt and the only thing wrong with Hardy’s portrayal of Max is that odd accent. The supporting cast is superb, most notably Nicholas Hoult as Nux. Keep an eye out for Australian supermodel Megan Gale as The Valkyrie, very cool.
A great action movie, mad car chases, lots of ‘splosions’, some deep moments, beautiful cinematography. A great addition to the franchise. Not perfect, but as action movies go, not far off.