FILM REVIEW: Mad Max, Fury Road (2015)

Mad_Max_Fury_Road

Director George Miller makes a stunning return to his classic post-apocalyptic future series with Tom Hardy very ably filling the role Mel Gibson originated years ago. Miller also co-wrote this all-out, non-stop spectacle with Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouvis. This time, a game and indomitable Charlize Theron provides the heroic loner with a fierce if sometimes reluctant ally in the desert mayhem.

Dialogue is kept to a minimum in the 120 minutes of wild action, yet the actors make the most of the words they’re given. And as always in the Mad Max cycle, the ‘look’ of the film is a character unto itself. Africa’s Namib Desert is beautifully utilized for location shooting and presented in all its varied and desolate glory. And of course the action, the intense and fast-moving battle scenes, plus maybe the most inventive and over-the-top stunt work ever seen, is enough to leave one breathless.

Yes, it’s definitely a feast for the eyes.

But by no means is it a mindless exercise in blowing things up.

Max becomes the captive of a weird slave-taking cult, but circumstances lead him into a tense alliance with rebellious “Imperator Furiosa” (Theron). A formerly trusted lieutenant of the grotesque cult leader “Immortal Joe” (Hugh Keays-Byrne), the hard-nosed woman warrior has decided to make a break for it with a cargo of Joe’s young sex slaves, including one who is carrying the freaky dictator’s unborn child. A series of sprawling chase scenes and truly extraordinary battles aboard all manner of tricked out ground transport result.

Along the way, Hardy and Theron forge a grudging respect for one another–and thankfully avoid the cliched response of inappropriately icky romance amid the carnage. The living sex objects show some degree of self-worth and resolve, becoming recognizable individuals suitable to care about.  An impressionable young follower of the cult (Nicholas Hoult) has coming of age experiences and rising above his brainwashed mystic babbling to switch sides. And amid all the inventive weird costumes, bizarre weapontry and funky technology, a truly fine action movie takes shape.

Almost as much slam-bang fun as the film itself, the DVD’s ‘making of’ type extras are, if anything, even more intriguing than the movie. That’s not meant as a put-down or ‘damning with faint praise’ of the motion picture. Seeing what went into making this epic, the ‘how did they do THAT’ element and the ideas behind both characters and action are simply fascinating in themselves.

 

 

 

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