In Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

by Daniel Goodwin on 17/05/2015


After thirty years of dormancy, production delays and cast altercations, Mad Max finally returns to our screens with original Writer-Director George Miller and Tom Hardy replacing Mel Gibson as leather-clad loner Max Rockatansky. Miller’s third sequel is an irrepressible whirlwind of action, energy and weaponised excitement. Instead of merely updating the franchise with up-to-date themes and effects, Miller expands his dystopian cosmos in a wondrous manner, interpolating metaphors into substance with boisterous characters while upping the action tenfold.

Most importantly, Miller retains the oddities that defined the original trilogy while managing to revitalise the series with a stoked, frenetic vigour and youthful enthusiasm. Anarchic, cartoon mutations dot the landscape as Max, still haunted by the events that made him mad, breaks free from the confines of a mountainous prison in an exhilarating intro. Max then links with dead eyed trucker Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and her clan, as they escape the clutches of masked, malformed ruler Immortan Joe played by Hugh Keays-Byrne (who also starred as the villain Toe-cutter in the original Mad Max film). Joe is a disgruntled, sagging punk mammoth, determined to hunt down the girls and bring Max to justice.

A plethora of monsters, mutants and mad men reveal themselves while Max remains mostly overshadowed by the mayhem and Furiosa’s prevailing narrative. Hardy portrays Max as more perplexed than complex and tags along mumbling but is not overtly bonkers. Meanwhile Furiosa and her group are indomitable characters and skilfully conjured by the cast, as is Nicholas Hoult’s rattled, delirious Nux. A squadron of biker grannies glide into the mayhem during the final third like a Monty Python invasion along with other wonderfully surreal sequences: a flame-throwing, guitar thrashing mutant unloading jagged metal riffs from the back of a convoy that are as elaborately crazed as the freaks behind the wheels.

MMFR is an eclectic marvel. There are slight plot dips and minor VFX quibbles but the resolution builds to a hair-raising finale that makes Mad Max: Fury Road more of a franchise celebration than a standard revamp/ follow-up. Miller lets loose like a fervent artist, free from the restraint of studio interference, presenting us with a pounding, juggernaut of retina-scolding spectacle, crafted with the zeal of a virtuoso in both his winter years and artistic prime. Mad Max: Fury Road is his garish punk masterpiece and a franchise highlight fusing high-octane energy, political allegory and glorious, sun-soaked sci-fi.

Daniel has awarded Mad Max: Fury Road five Torches of Truth

5 torches

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