2015 / Director. George Miller.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
Less than 24 hours since MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was released and already the reviews are coming in thick and fast. Such a spectacle and event of a film will sell itself and no amount of reviews is going to make a lick of difference. Some reassuring words trending social media at the moment are "stunning", "magnificent", "amazing"," incredible", "phenomenal" and a whole slew of like minded expressions. To anyone who hasn't seen the film yet, it probably seems a little hysterical and overly dramatic to make such a fuss... but the sentiments speak true. FURY ROAD is simply gobsmacking!! We have waited 30 years for this new instalment in the series and a lot of patience and forgiveness has been afforded to director George Miller. Most people consider the previous film, BEYOND THUNDERDOME, to be the weakest in the original trilogy but I am one of those few who hold it in the highest regard. The magic of the MAD MAX series is that each film is progressive and the storytelling evolves with each instalment. Each one stands alone and they are all drastically different in concept, theme and aesthetic. THUNDERDOME was the film with the most heart and many people perceived that as being soft. My own personal view of that film reflects Roger Ebert's own thoughts and I highly recommend you take the time to read them (here). And so comes FURY ROAD which presumedly takes place after the events of THUNDERDOME. With an initial narration recapping the social collapse, we are reintroduced to Max in a familiar setting. Pursued by savage marauders he is captured and taken to an industrial community called The Citadel. It is not unlike Bartertown from the previous film and it is ruled by a the ruthless King Immortan Joe. Max escapes and unwillingly finds himself onboard a convoy lead by a woman named Furiosa. She has helped the King's Five Wives escape and is leading them to a safe haven beyond the sands. With the King and his army on their trail the convoy races to outrun the deadly pursuers. FURY ROAD is balls-to-the-wall action from the opening scene to the very last. In fact it is more or less a two hour action sequence... and never has action been more captivating. The film has been called operatic and that is a perfect way to describe it. With a heavy focus on practical stunts and FX, George Miller has created a whole new level of wonder and offers us some of the most innovative, extraordinary and highly stylised action sequences cinema has ever seen. You can forget about the story because this film transcends it. The level of precision and competence it takes to conceive this stuff, let alone create and deliver it, is of the highest degree. The script must have been terrifying to read, especially for the creatives, and there is no wonder the entire production took over a decade to complete. Tom Hardy steps into the role effortlessly and sells the character with ease. I'm one of those people who would have LOVED to have seen Mel Gibson returning to the role (which would have worked brilliantly) but I was equally chuffed to see Max reinvented for a new era. Hugh Keays-Byrne (Toe Cutter from the original) returns as the ghastly and hypnotic Immorten Joe. He is an ingenious character and Keays-Byrne relishes every second of screen time. Charlize Theron is also a fantastic addition to the Max universe and kicks as much ass as Max himself. She is the title character for the upcoming sequel and she demonstrates just as much brawn as any male counterpart and I look forward to her return. l read some commentators labelling FURY ROAD as misogynistic and then there are actual men's groups calling for its boycott for contrary reasons. Talk about idiots, the lot of them. George Miller's story of imprisoned women, used as commodities is precisely how a male dominated post apocalyptic world would be. Physical strength would most definitely prevail and the barbarity of human-nature would see the weakest (again, physically) vanquished. What these outspoken feminist crusaders have neglected is the fact that the entire story of FURY ROAD is about the women rising up and reclaiming power. Of course those critics judged without seeing and we shouldn't give any more weight to their naivety. FURY ROAD is a pulse-pounding, high-octane, extravaganza of a film. It's unlike anything that's been committed to the screen before it and it is an accomplished and exceptional piece of filmmaking. George Miller has outdone himself and the film is difficult to compare against the other chapters. As with each of the others it is it's own machine. It serves its own purpose and is a natural progression from THUNDERDOME. See it and see it again!