Movie Review: Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicolas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Bryne
Directed By: George Miller
Many times when a new installment of a franchise hits decades after a previous entry, the results are lackluster (just take a look at Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). However, with Mad Max: Fury Road we have not only a stellar example of how to revive a franchise, but also how to craft an action movie. George Miller’s return to the world that made Mel Gibson famous is just as phenomenal as you’ve been hearing, and it’s the action film to beat this year.
Fury Road finds the titular Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy, replacing Gibson) captured by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, Toecutter in the original Mad Max), a Warlord who’s been keeping a set of “brides” to grow his insane army of worshippers. When one of his favorite Imperators, Furiosa (Charlize Theron, who absolutely kicks ass and takes names) breaks off of her supply run on a mission to bring the brides to safety, Immortan Joe takes chase, and Max is dragged head first into an insane and brutal race across the desert.
Fury Road may be 2 hours long, but it moves along at a break neck pace. In fact, that little plot synopsis I just gave you? It occurs in the first 10 or so minutes of Fury Road. George Miller gives you just enough plot to get you going, and there’s little to no reliance on knowledge from previous Max films (the actual placement of Fury Road and the chronology of the Mad Max franchise is weird, to say the least). While me saying that Fury Road is essentially a 2-hour car chase might turn you off from seeing it, let me assure you that you’ve never seen car chases quite like this. There’s insane dudes on pole vaults swinging from car to car, spears that cause their targets to erupt into flames, and even a member of Immortan Joe’s army whose sole purpose is to play a guitar that doubles as a flamethrower (and he’s AWESOME). All that time it took Miller to get this movie paid off, as he leaves nothing off the screen.
With all this action, it’s easy to think that some of our characters get the short stick. Amazingly though, both Max and Furiosa come off as completely well rounded characters. Tom Hardy’s take on Max is a little quieter and subdued than Gibson’s, but he still has that sense of extreme danger, rage, and insanity bursting just under the seams. Hardy throws himself into the role, so much so that you don’t even mind the fact that he slips in and out of Max’s Australian accent.
As good as Hardy’s Max is, the real star of Fury Road is Charlize Theron as Furiosa. In fact, you could come out of this film thinking of Furiosa as the main character, and you wouldn’t be completely incorrect in thinking that. Theron’s performance is on par with Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley and Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor, bringing us a female action hero who’s not only incredibly bad ass and dangerous, but noble as well. With Fury Road, Theron has become the heir to the female action hero throne. You can’t take your eyes off of her.
In a perfect world, Mad Max: Fury Road will be the box office champ for the next month and a half. While that’s definitely not possible due to the crowded summer movie season, I really hope that this latest Mad Max doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Fury Road isn’t just the best action movie of the year so far; it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. There are images here that will be burned into your mind for years to come. After seeing this film, I needed a good half hour for my heartbeat to go down. That’s never happened to me while watching a film. Ever. However way you have to, see Mad Max: Fury Road.