Mad Max: Fury Road opens with the titular Max (played by Tom Hardy) introducing himself with the statement “My world is fire and blood”. What follows over the course of the next two hours of visual & audio splendour makes me think that Max was under-stating things a tad. From being chased down & captured by the War Boys through to joining forces with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron – proving once again that she is beyond more than just a pretty face) in her bid to liberate the wives of the tyrannical Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne – returning from fulfilling the role of Toecutter in the first film of the franchise back in 1979), we’re trailed through the harsh but stunning post-apocalyptic Waste Land. And it’s a ride you will not forget!
Fans of the original Mad Max trilogy, starring Mel Gibson (and let’s not forget Tina Turner in Thunderdome) should feel spoiled for the reimagining of the world originally created by, and now brought back to life by director George Miller. Advances in special effects, set design, sound editing & film making generally, help to bring this character & world bang up to date. Any fears that the tone of the original films might be lost as a result of all the time that has passed, should be put to rest swiftly.
As Furiosa leaves the Citadel, where Joe holds an oppressed population ransom to a mightily impressive man-made waterfall, it all looks like another jolly to the neighbouring Gas Town and Bullet Farm to pick up fuel, ammunition & other supplies. It soon becomes painfully apparent to Joe that things are not what they seem when Furiosa is spotted steering the brutish War Rig off track. Not only this, but Joe discovers that his ‘wives’ have also disappeared. Putting two and two together, Joe dispatches his army of ghoulish-looking War Boys to recover his stolen property. These men (and actual boys in some cases) are hell bent on serving their master, driven by faith that they will forever accompany him on the highways of Valhalla, should they happen to lose their meaningless lives in their quest. A startling reminder of how the concept of religion can be used and abused to serve the purpose of misguided & misguiding leaders.
How much more can they take from me? They got my blood, now it’s my car!
Accompanying the retrieval pack is Max, as the blood bag for disease ridden driver, Nux (Nicholas Hoult). Thus ensues a rip-roaring, explosive & stunt filled chase sequence through the desert, to the backing track of an epic musical score. Clashes with nature via a devastating sandstorm, other nomad & hostile tribes, and not least of all, the harsh environment, really takes it’s toll on the protagonists. The villains of the piece don’t fare much better mind you. Hell, even as an audience member, I felt like I’d been put through the mill. The whole adventure is a total assault on the eyes and ears, in the best possible way.
My first time watching this movie was in the D-Box screen, with seats that move along to the action & sounds of what you see. This extra sensory angle seemed to me, to have been purpose built for exactly this type of film. It added an incredible dimension to the whole experience. Second time around (because it really is that good and then some), I caught it in IMAX 3D where the sheer scale of both the screen and the sound system genuinely made me feel like I’d been a part of it all. Whilst it’s been some time now since this movie opened in cinemas, I’d say it’s well worth keeping an eye out for any revisits of the film at your local picture house. Or better still, lobby them to bring it back to the big screen. Of course, with the size of some people’s televisions nowadays, you absolutely won’t feel short changed by this epic, awe-inspiring, rollercoaster of a film watching it from the comfort of your sofa. Wherever you get the chance to see it, I would highly recommend that you do.
Reviewed by Darren Daly