Mad Max: Fury Road Review

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It’s been almost 30 years since we’ve last seen Mad Max in theaters and even longer since we’ve last seen George Miller completely direct a Mad Max film. Typically when a director goes back to the franchise that he helped launch decades later, the results doesn’t quite pan out. That’s why when George Miller decided to go back to the wastelands for Mad Max: Fury Road, there was an understandable feeling of uncertainty. So does George Miller capture the magic of Mad Max again or does he follow the long line of directors that fail to live up to the hype of the previous films?

Not only did George Miller recapture the magic, with Mad Max: Fury Road George Miller put the franchise on another level. It’s a relentless, visually kinetic demolition derby that’ll leave you breathless when the credits roll. You’ll never have as much fun in theaters as you will watching Mad Max: Fury Road.

Mad Max: Fury Road follows Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) as he tries his best to survive by traversing the wastelands alone. Yet he gets pulled into a road war conflict led by Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). Furiosa and her band of escapees are trying to get away from the tyrannical despot, Immortan Joe. Enraged, Immortan Joe and his army, tries to take down Max and Furiosa and take back the property that he thinks is rightfully his.

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Although George Miller hasn’t directed a live-action film since 1998 (Babe: Pig in the City), he still hasn’t lost his touch when it comes to insane action set-pieces. Miller created a rich and and frenzied post-apocalyptic film that plays out like one long car chase. Which is a very, very good thing. Although the action takes up 80% of the movie, it doesn’t feel excessive because of how entertaining and well crafted the set-pieces are.

Best of all, Mad Max: Fury Road isn’t completely filled with CGI and visual effects. Mind you, there are CGI and visual effects but they’re used more as add-ons as opposed to replacements for the real thing. A majority of the car stunts were done live in front of the cameras — a rare thing to see these days. The scenes are so intricate that you can watch in awe the brutal devastation that’s playing before you on-screen. Yet as brutal as the action is there’s sort of a gracefulness to the way that he action scenes are shot and edited together. It’s staggering how it all comes together so beautifully. This is all accredited to George Miller. He’s been trying to get Fury Road made for over a decade, so it makes sense that he tackles the material with such passion and fervor.

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The downside to these jaw-dropping action scenes is that it makes the quieter moments of the film seem rather boring in comparison. Which, of course, isn’t surprising but if the scenes were a little bit more intriguing then there wouldn’t be a problem. For a film that is mostly action scenes, the story is relatively simple and trite.

There’s very little dialogue between the Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron compared with the rest of the cast. However, don’t let that fool you, since they are the heart and soul of the movie. Both of them complement each other so well that they strengthen each other’s performances.

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As much as Mel Gibson will always be Max Rockatansky in the eyes of many, Tom Hardy is the now quintessential Max. Since Tom Hardy rarely speaks throughout the film, it’s his fantastic ability to convey emotions and humor through his physicality that does the talking for him. It’s a testament to Hardy’s acting ability by the way he gives depth to his character without saying a lot.

The real star of the film though is Charlize Theron. Theron has such a dominating and tough presence that she commands attention whenever she’s on-screen. The filmmakers could’ve easily done the movie with her character since Theron’s essentially the central figure in the film.

It’s amazing to see what George Miller did that Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Ridley Scott couldn’t do. He effectively crafted a film that surpassed all of its predecessors and revitalized a franchise he helped launched. Overall, Mad Max: Fury Road has everything that you could want in a summer blockbuster. It has full-throttle mayhem, humor, a fantastic cast, beautiful cinematography and great editing. The story could use a little help, but that’s a minor grievance for such a great movie. Buckle up; it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Rating: 4.5/5 atoms
NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

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