Ever heard the term “batshit insane”? Because that’s exactly what this film is… batshit insane!
I do love a good post-apocalyptic tale, and although I’ve never seen any of the original Mad Max films starring Mel Gibson, Fury Road captivated me with its original take on a world drenched in complete chaos and anarchy. The script doesn’t hold your hand and spell out needless exposition; it dumps you right into the middle of the story and expects you to put the pieces together as it barrels towards a climax. It’s a non-stop thrill ride with likeable heroes to boot.
And really it’s one person who OWNS this movie, and that’s Charlize Theron. The actress is an absolute powerhouse in Mad Max, capturing your attention from the moment she first appears on screen. As Imperator Furiosa (yes, that’s her name), she’s the ultimate action hero. Notice that I didn’t call her a “heroine”, because Theron gives most male action heroes a run for their money. She’s determined, resourceful, and relentless in her pursuit to save a group of women from their oppressor. It’s an inspiring quest, and one that reaches a riveting resolution.
Although he’s given less to do (which is strange considering he’s the title character), Tom Hardy proves himself to be a viable action hero. Much like Theron, the script doesn’t give him much in terms of dialogue, so he has to convey a whole lot through facial expressions and kickass action pieces. In terms of villains, Hugh Keays-Byrne is outstanding as the evil Immortan Joe, adding a delicious combo of menace and ferocity to the film’s narrative.
Funnily enough, if you really step back and look at the film, it’s basically one long chase sequence. The impressive achievement here is that it’s never boring or repetitive. The set pieces are wildly inventive, constantly throwing in new obstacles and surprises while letting our heroes think on their feet as they navigate the destruction. And it must be said: destruction has never looked so beautiful.
Technically, the film is a bonafide marvel. Filmed in Namibia and Australia, Fury Road makes stunning use of large desert landscapes with some jaw-dropping cinematography by John Seale. And with 90% of the film’s effects being practical (as opposed to the CGI onslaught of all the current Hollywood bonanzas), George Miller’s creation is imaginative and mesmerizing on every level. In addition, unlike so many action films that prefer to employ a whole lot of quick cuts and confusing editing choices, the action in Mad Max is always clearly defined and coherent. Fantastic!
A violent blockbuster that’s equal parts exhilarating and bold. And thanks to Charlize Theron, it’s a truly memorable adventure. Just be prepared for a cardio workout, because your heart-rate probably won’t let up.