"I live, I die. I LIVE AGAIN!"
George Miller’s welcome return to his rusty wasteland wastes no time introducing new viewers to the bizarro dieselpunk-esque fury road. Dominated by the fallout of economic apocalypse Mad Max: Fury Road builds upon the established franchise with a reboot that pays homage to its predecessors with unique action sequences and various easter eggs.
When Fury Road hit cinema screens a little under a month ago the prevailing discourse focused on its feminist undertones dotted in between the furious two hour chase scene. I’m sure you will all be disappointed to hear that I’m not going to make that the focus of my review. What’s that I hear you say? A review of Mad Max: Fury Road that refuses to enter the feminism discourse. Yep, pretty much. But, and I’m not afraid to admit it, I’m not going down that road because quite frankly I don’t know the ins and outs of feminist culture to comment on whether or not I agree with the general consensus. So there, ignorance prevails. At least until I can wrap my head around the whole thing.
With that out of the way I can now focus on George Miller’s beautifully shot throwback to a genre and franchise that defined his career (not you Happy Feet).
Garnished with throaty dieselpunk revs Mad Max starts with our titular character, played by Tom Hardy, staring out into the dusty abyss in contemplation while chewing down on a two-headed lizard. If that doesn’t set the scene for what follows then I don’t know what will. Oh right of course, Max Rockatansky, Rockatansky because, why not? is swiftly tracked and chased down by Immortan Joe’s loyal half-life war boys. Captured and subsequently put to use as a blood bag after a quick and futile escape attempt Max is quickly muted as our hero which places a bizarre twist on the recognised action genre.
But we go with it and our patience is rewarded in the long run. The main plot meanwhile is brewing beneath all this fuss and Max will soon be dragged along for the ride.
Imperator Furiosa, Charlize Theron, is assigned a mission to drive to Gastown in a war rig for reasons undisclosed but we’re given enough information to know that her detour is unplanned. When it becomes clear to Immortan Joe what Furiosa is upto, a rampaging war band is released to track her down and bring his cherished cargo back.
With Max strapped to the front of Nux’s (Nicholas Hoult) car they shoot out the blocks with a bunch of other seemingly crazed loonies in pursuit. What follows is a two hour car chase that never lets up and is never afraid to shock the system. Disregarding both key and not so key characters in a whirlwind of ultra-violence Miller effectively reduces predictability that works to the plot’s advantage in keeping a steady, rapid pace to the action.
It’s been a while since I’ve had so much fun at the cinema. Taking in the beautiful cinematography and refreshing female-dominant cast whilst munching away on popcorn to the metal war rally and explosions was a lot easier than I anticipated. Miller throws down a gauntlet of sensory stimulation for the viewer to feast on. A dusty plain has never looked so vibrant, the swerving guitar riffs permeate the eardrums, the vibrations rock your chair, the spitting petrol gives off a fierce smell and if you’ve bought salty popcorn you can almost certainly taste Hardy’s sweat.
Mad Max in its entirety is a marvel of modern film making that has effectively rebooted a cult franchise for the modern viewer, simultaneously revamping its mythology whilst paving roads for the future of female leads in major blockbuster hits. The time is drawing in when Fury Road will no longer be showing at your local cinema and so if you haven’t had the joy of watching this Must-see on the big screen be sure to make it a priority on your ‘To Watch’ lists. Otherwise you’ll have a hefty wait for an inferior DVD/Blu-ray release that just won’t quite capture the spectacle in all it’s hyper-violent glory.
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