What’s It About? Endlessly inventive and full of drive, Mad Max: Fury Road bursts on to the screen in a hail of fire, blood, and sand that’s impossible to tear your eyes away from at any point during its two-hour run time.
Fury Road may be part of director George Miller’s iconic dystopian action series that first hit cinemas back in 1979, but don’t worry if you haven’t seen the previous Mad Max movies as this one is very much a standalone story, so you can understand and enjoy it without any prior knowledge.
Still, if you have seen the earlier films, you’ll likely take pleasure spotting the many call-backs, some subtle, some more obvious, to the first three movies in the franchise.
Verdict: Fury Road’s action scenes are not only jaw-dropping in terms of the sheer volume and range of practical stunts hurtling across the screen at any given time, but they’re also insanely and madly beautiful.
Pretty much from the start, relentlessly-paced wall-to-wall action reigns supreme. Cars, trucks, motorbikes, weapons, and human beings all collide along a strangely bewitching yet barren landscape.
Expect to be entranced by a crazily choreographed ballet of vehicles that thunder, crash, and explode their way across the wasteland in scenes expertly cut together by editor Margaret Sixel. And just wait till you see the shedload of bizarrely inventive automobiles that vehicle and production designers Peter Pound and Colin Gibson have come up with! They are beyond belief!
And just as good as the scenes of motoring mayhem are the hand-to-hand fight scenes, which really are no-holds barred, visceral affairs. Props must go to second unit director and stunt co-ordinator Guy Norris and his stunt team for their amazing work on the film.
Director George Miller and his co-writers Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris have created an intriguing cast of characters. And you can really see the varied and eccentric histories of those characters as much in their appearance – their scars, tattoos, costumes and so on – as in what they say. Which is a good job as, in Fury Road, dialogue is kept to a need-to-say basis as this is very much a world where actions speak louder than words.
Stepping into the boots of original Mad Max Mel Gibson, Tom Hardy brings the post-apocalyptic haunted hero back to brilliant life. Hardy’s Max is wiry and agile but physically imposing, and I liked how he managed to convey so much with so few words, slyly underplaying the character and throwing a dash of archness into the mix.
Female warrior Furiosa mirrors the character of Mad Max in many ways, and Charlize Theron puts in a blistering performance in the role, which has shades of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley from the Alien movies about it.
And with his peroxide-blond hair, powdered white face, nightmare mask, and Plexiglas armor, Hugh Keays-Byrne cuts a terrifyingly striking figure as the Warlord, Immortan Joe, the movie’s big bad. By the way, you probably won’t recognise him because of the way he’s made up in Fury Road, but Keays-Byrne actually played gang leader Toecutter in the original Mad Max movie.
Nicholas Hoult puts in a superbly entertaining performance as Nux, one of Immortan Joe’s War Boys who’ve guzzled down their leader’s self-serving lies. And as played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, and Courtney Eaton, each of Joe’s Five Wives has their own sense of individuality and otherworldly strangeness.
Miller has created a visually spectacular world that’s brimming with a breath-taking level of detail and that’s also full of cunningly deranged humour. There are touches of Terry Gilliam about Fury Road mixed with John Ford’s Stagecoach, and a hint of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, especially in the character of Nux.
John Seale’s cinematography is simply stunning – from hyper-saturated daytime scenes to deliberately overexposed scenes at night, this movie really is a work of art. Plus, Jenny Beavan’s costumes, Colin Gibson’s production design, and Lisa Thompson’s set decoration are all top-notch and contribute greatly to the film’s richly realised world.
Fury Road is the kind of movie that, once it’s finished, will make you turn to the person next to you and ask in disbelief, ‘holy shit, did that actually just happen?’ And it’s definitely the kind of film you’ll want to see more than once.
Extras: You’re absolutely spoilt with over 90 minutes of special features on the Blu-ray! Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road; Mad Max: Fury On Four Wheels; The Road Warriors: Max and Furiosa; The Tools Of The Wasteland; The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome; Fury Road: Crash & Smash; Deleted Scenes.
Final Words: Mad Max: Fury Road is bat-shit crazy, insanely-inspired movie-making at its best.
Expect a wildly intense post-apocalyptic trip that gets you in its vice-like grip at the very beginning and doesn’t let go till the bitter end.
Mad Max: Fury Road is available now on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, and as part of a 4-Film Anthology. A Limited Collector’s Edition is also available featuring a unique ‘Interceptor’ statuette.