Many consider The Road Warrior (myself included) to be the ultimate post apocalyptic movie. Even though it’s a sequel to Mad Max, director George Miller gave us a view of a wasteland where society has gone full-blown Lord of the Flies. Miller’s vision has been imitated and duplicated time and time again on film since (See Waterworld). It’s been thirty years since we’ve seen the ex-cop gone rogue wanderer, but now Max and Director George Miller are back in this quasi-sequel Mad Max Fury: Fury Road.
Taking place between Warrior and Thunderdome, Tom Hardy takes over as the title character Max. Truth be told – this just as much Charlize Theron’s movie as it is Hardy’s. The shaven head South African beauty plays Imperator Furiosa. A defector from the evil warlord, Immortan Joe who in Mad Max style looks like he jumped off the album cover of an 80’s heavy metal band. Joe is no Lord Humungus, but he’s still a sinister guy with his blood banks, unusual dairy farms and his stable of slave wives. Don’t get me wrong, Max is in the movie and Hardy is good replacement for Gibson. He’s just more of a witness to Furiosa’s plan and helps the group along the treacherous road which includes sand tornadoes, hidden traps and rival tribes.
Mad Max: Fury Road would best be described as an Action Opera that’s over the top in all the right ways. Hardy plays the role of hood ornament for a good chunk of the race. Immortan Joe has his own band with a fire-breathing guitar that follows his brigade of supped up rides that reminded me of Robert Duval playing “Ride of the Valkyries” in Apocalypse Now. Is it a little goofy? Yes, but it’s also kind of awesome. I mean who doesn’t want to see a Volkswagen covered in huge metal spikes. That’s what we love about the Mad Max franchise. Fury Road doesn’t lose the look or vibe of the series. Mad Max: Fury Road looks just like the original films with a few modern bells and whistles.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a throwback to how action movies used to be when studios decided to actually crash and blow stuff up. Sure there is CG in the film, but Miller uses many practical effects during the massive chase scene that spans almost the entire movie. There’s a real sense of danger in Fury Road when you see actors leap from monster trucks and swing in the air on large poles from car to car. The film is a roller coaster where you will literally here the audience breath out when certain scenes are over. I applaud Miller for mixing practical effects with CG to create a visually epic and beautiful film that makes up for the story being a little light.
Overall, I give Mad Max: Fury Road 3.5 out of 4 stars.