REVIEW: ‘Mad Max Fury Road’

George Miller
Tom Hardy
Charlize Theron
Nicholas Hoult
Hugh Keays-Byrne
Rated: R

It’s ridiculous and downright crazy. Exactly what a “Mad Max” movie should be.
George Miller, who directed the original films in the series, returns to helm “Fury Road,” which follows the titular character wandering the desert wasteland. The film could easily take place after the events of “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior,” with the setting being completely post-apocalyptic and Max seeming to be at the end of his rope.

At the start, Max (Hardy) is captured by a large desert gang that has control of water, gas and is run by a tyrant named Immortan Joe (Keays-Byrne). Through a series of events, Max ends up escaping and joining a group of women led by Furiosa (Theron), who is trying to get back to her homeland.

If there’s any downside to “Fury Road,” it’s that its plot is a bit thin. More or less, it’s a standard point A to point B type of story in a post-apocalyptic setting. While it is a very well made action movie, the lack of a more complex plot holds it back from being an all time great film.

That being said, it’s still an amazing, fast paced, fun ride and entertains from beginning to end. Miller’s direction sets the tone from the opening scene and it’s obvious he and the rest of the crew working on the film knew what they were doing.

The action sequences heavily used practical effects with extensive stunt work which made all of the vehicular warfare seem gritty, real and in your face. The filmmakers also worked to create fantastic vehicles to add to the atmosphere. The cars and trucks in the movie looked like Franken-vehicles, made from spare parts and spikes.

There’s particularly a scene in the middle of the film where the music, action and excitement made for one of the best sequences in the past few years and had me on the edge of my seat.

While the movie is part of the “Mad Max” franchise, Charlize Theron is really the person who owns this film as Furiosa. Her character is who the plot really centers around and she does make for a good heroine.

Thanks to Theron’s acting abilities, Furiosa has a fire in her eyes and an unbreakable determination and it can be felt by the audience. The desperation in some of the scenes is especially well portrayed.

Tom Hardy is also good as Max, playing the role the way it should be. Max feels less like a main protagonist in the film, he’s not the end all be all, but that doesn’t mean he is just along for the ride. Max is the anomaly to the situation, the x-factor, like a lone ranger in an old west movie.

Hardy portrays this persona really well and also channels some of the characteristics that Mel Gibson had when he played the role originally. Hardy’s acting has just the right amount of subtlety and attitude.

One actor who I fear may be under appreciated due to the other two stars is Nicholas Hoult who plays the character Nux, a warrior who is on the side of the main antagonist in the movie.

Hoult, who has starred in the recent “X-Men” films as Beast and also did a fantastic job in “Warm Bodies” really brings an honest performance and makes Nux a more interesting character. It’s made better thanks to the fact that Nux’s character has a good overall story arc.

Praise can also be given to Hugh Keays-Byrne, who was over-the-top as the gang leader and was reminiscent of Humungus in “Mad Max 2.” That’s not to say he was a carbon copy of another villain, though, as Keays-Byrne gave the character his own style.

Despite being weak on story, “Fury Road” still delivers amazing, well detailed action scenes that are very exciting and have solid performances and characters to go along for the ride. Check it out on the big screen. 4 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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