MAD MAX: FURY ROAD | REVIEW

Thirty years following the campy MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME Max is back with a technically advanced George Miller in the conductor’s seat again. MAD MAX FURY ROAD is the fourth film in this high octane franchise and this one basically removes dialogue, mundane plot and personality and gives the action a shot of crack – it should be more CIRQUE DE SOLMAX ON CRACK. After my incredibly unfortunate experience at the premiere I finally bought my ticket and went to a public screening on Thursday with friends, we had a ball. While I loved Max, I do not think it is the best thing since guzzaline. MAD MAX FURY ROAD is out now at pretty much every cinema on the planet, it is released by Roadshow Films, runs for 120mins and is rated MA15+ (in Australia), R in the U.S.. 

 

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MAD MAX FURY ROAD | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | FULL ARTISITC CREDIT TO POSTER POSSE POSTER ART – see their full collection http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2015/03/poster-posse-unveils-mad-max-fury-road-artwork.html

 

BY JASON KING

Max is till alive, living in a wasteland of the post apocalyptic earth, where pretty much everywhere discovered is a desert wasteland. There is limited water, limited green, limited joy and no sanity. The world’s brains are fried. People do not even know what sanity is anymore and the only valid point of life is survival by any means necessary. An evil ruler fuelled by a life of power and his own insanity controls the masses by torture, starvation and servitude all based on the power of petrol, yep, the guzzaline. With no water and nothing on the planet the only thing left available is the means of travel in souped up, high chrome, monster wheels and trucks. Guzzaline is the economic controller used for trade, survival and transport, it is everything and people will kill for it.

Max is captured and the interceptor is taken, he is used as a blood bank my anaemic War Boys of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), while at the same time Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) has had enough with their controlled world and has rescued Joe’s wives, women kept in servitude to breed Joe’s children and has escaped in a guzzaline tanker and taken off into the wastelands. Max is tied to the front of a vehicle with drug addled, crazed Nux (Nicholas Hoult) at the wheel and as part of a convoy is chasing Furiosa down.

This all takes place in about ten minutes and the following near two hours is one epic road chase blood bath covered in fire and blood, battle and death, sand and survival.

 

MAD MAX FURY ROAD MOVIE IMAGE
MAD MAX FURY ROAD | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MAX (TOM HARDY) TIED TO THE FRONT OF NUX’S (NICHOLAS HOULT’S) VEHICLE

 

What George Miller has done with this movie and genre is epic in every way. He has taken the Mad Max universe and stylised the hell out of it while embracing the universe and core themes. It truly is Max on roids, with a shot of Cirque de Soleil and acid filled crack. He does a lot of it without CGI and achieves visuals that are groundbreaking and action that is next level. With the only action movies of late being Liam Neeson doing another form of TAKEN this is what the genre needed, a good kick in the pants and something that can now inspire film makers to achieve.

The film takes all forms of action, takes a dump on them, re-invents them with added zeal and uses CGI to enhance, not to make the entire thing, he just schooled Bay :). And the epic levels of the film are added to by the vastness of the landscape and the amount of terrain covered – they never remain in the same place – they are always moving, it is HUGE and it is constant motion, the entering of the sand storm is nearly biblical in visual levels but it is merely an annoyance in their journey. In a Michael Bay movie this would be a major point with just as many explosions but in Max it is just something they drive through in this crazy world, it speaks for itself, understated, underplayed, freaking beautiful.

 

MAD MAX FURY ROAD IMAGE
MAD MAX FURY ROAD | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | IMPERATOR FURIOSA (CHARLIZE THERON) AND NUX (NICHOLAS HOULT) PLUS SOME OF THE WIVES

 

Tom Hardy is a passable Max, he really doesn’t have more than a dozen lines and most of them are unnecessary as the emotions are all shown through facials that speak for themselves. I do not think Hardy was brilliantly epic and could have seen Pitt, Bale, Edgarton or even Rusty in this role. I had one serious gripe with him, that my friends made some fun of while watching – when he spoke he sounded like Bane. Go-to accent when not speaking normal perhaps? Sebastian kept leaning in during the movie and speaking lines from THE DARK KNIGHT in Bane’s voice – broke up my stomach-held-in-endless action anxiety.

Theron owned the movie, her character, Imperator Furiosa held more emotion and pain than Max’s and it was insane seeing an action woman that had no issue getting down, dirty and violent as hell. Take that Catwoman 🙂 She really was the leader of feminine change in the film, something that would have attracted her to the role. The film in no words says, “the insanity of men has fucked up this world so now it is our bloody turn,” not only has Furiosa released the fertile women from servitude, they have also brought with them fertile seeds to try and regrow the planet, a difficult task with little soil available due to everything being covered in sand. A little feminist propaganda that has some U.S. crazed men’s groups calling for boycott – hahaha – idiots.

The onscreen chemistry is shaky between Furiosa and Max, but the world is about survival and no one trusts anyone – the scenes when Furiosa and Max work in sync without any discussion or thought are my favourites, together they were an epic partnership. Offscreen not so much, apparently the words “fucking hated each other” would be appropriate with Hardy staying in character and shutting everyone else out and precious Theron deciding it would be best of Hardy stayed the hell away from her between takes. Sounds like a grown up Shia :).

 

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MAD MAX FURY ROAD | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | NUX (NICHOLAS HOULT)

 

Nux was my favourite character, besides the fact it was Nicholas Hoult embracing the freaking incredible War Boy character, he is the most insane, the most destroyed by the world they inhabit and the one who has the largest character arc. Besides how can you not bloody love seeing anyone chroming!!! It truly was a lovely day seeing him in this role!

And the music of the film, insane music created by Junkie XL (POINT BREAK, DIVERGENT, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2), is as epic as the film on every level, it was the pulse of this film and added as much to the tone of the film as the actors and the cinematography combined. I will own this soundtrack and will picture flame throwing guitars riding giant speaker trucks in the desert for years to come.

The stylised world is the winner of the film and also George Miller’s greatness, something that Hollywood could not produce, Miller has no issue with killing a female and hell, let’s make her pregnant for better effect. He also uses CGI when only nothing else can be done to achieve the shot, or it can be used to enhance a shot, but those real-life stunts and the epicness of them are what we, the viewer, love. It harks back to the first Mad Max film where Max’s family is slaughtered, creating the hardened soul of the Max we love, a true super-anti-hero. MAD MAX FURY ROAD also embraces what it is, B Grade 80s action post apocalytpica, something that after the hundreds of current post apocalyptic dystopian films of late we never thought we would need more of. As for Max – I want many more – and get happy, a sequel or two are on the way.

 

4 Pops