Mad Max: Fury Road has turned into one of the more unlikely critical darlings in recent memory. George Miller’s long-awaited sequel/reboot to his famed Road Warrior character has received rave reviews from critics both here in the States and at the Cannes Film Festival, where the critics there gave the film a lengthy standing ovation. It’s almost hard to believe it, since the film has had a long and troubled story of getting on the screen. From delays either due to going over budget, weather, actors not getting along, etc, this film was destined to fail. But after a brilliant marketing campaign and support from fanboys on the internet, Mad Max: Fury Road is here, and I’m about to let you know if this is the film to end all films this summer or not.
Fury Road really isn’t a prequel or sequel to any of
the previous Mad Max films. It stands on it’s own, a lot like The Road Warrior did. The story this time around is that we’re still in a post-apocalyptic world, and we meet our titular character, played by Tom Hardy this go-around, who is captured by a group that holds what may be all of the water left in the world. Hugh Keays-Byrne, who you may remember as the Toecutter in the very first Mad Max film, plays the main villain of the film named Immortan Joe, and has a rather intimidating mask over his mouth, and forces Charlize Theron’s Furiosia to go on a run for oil. However, she decides to go off course and the rest of the film is one big car chase, with Max joining in on the fun.
Miller returns to co-write, produce and direct this film after years of dabbling in family fare, more recently with the Babe and Happy Feet films. After reading about all the delays and reshoots that plagued this film almost from the very beginning, it all sort of makes sense once you’re finished watching the movie, and in no way do I mean that in a negative connotation. With the exception of a few shots here and there, nearly all of the effects in Fury Road are practical, which is unheard of in our CGI-infused world. It’s such a wonderful and exciting breath of fresh air to watch this film, as you feel all the car crashes and explosions that go along throughout the film. I know that I sound like every other critic at this point, but is there really a critic out there that hated this film? Mad Max: Fury Road is a masterpiece in the action film genre. It’s quite possibly the greatest action film that’s been shot in decades, and is easily the best film of the summer and of 2015 for that reason.
One thing that I really admired about this film is that in the mix of all this chaos and bone-crunching action, there is a good deal of fleshed-out and developed characters, again something that’s almost unheard of in a big summer tentpole. Charlize Theron is practically the star of the film, as she’s the most interesting character of not only this film, but of the whole damn franchise if you look at it as a whole. It’s a great character and a great performance that Theron has put together, easily some of her best work. Tom Hardy is perfect as the often quiet and stoic Max, who is more than able to take the mantle that Mel Gibson held as this character throughout the 80’s. We also get a really unexpectedly great performance from Nicolas Hault, who plays a henchman in the army run by Immortan Joe. You go in thinking that it’s just a bit part for the young actor, but there’s a lot of meat to the character, which is great to have.
But everybody is praising the film for its action, and it never disappoints. Each action scene keeps getting better and better, and what makes it even better is that the whole film is practically one big chase across the desert. Warner Bros. somehow was able to get away with making a 150 million dollar budgeted film and give it a hard R-rating, which I’m not quite sure if the film would’ve worked as well as it did without that rating. The film is able to be as brutal and bad-shit insane as the previous Mad Max films, if not crazier. The film is a both a throwback to old school action films like The Road Warrior with its crazy camera shots and practical effects, but is able to make it all translate and transition well to a modern movie going audience. The only thing that scares me is that enough people aren’t going to see this film. Not only must you see Fury Road, but it must be seen on the big screen. I’d probably skip the 3D, as it didn’t do much for me, but you must see it in a theater. Films like Fury Road should be making a billion dollars during their entire theatrical run and not the Marvel films (not that there’s anything wrong with the Marvel films, but hopefully you get the gist).
I’m still a little speechless from the film. I honestly haven’t had that much fun with a film in at least a year or so. If you’re wondering why the content on this site has been a little light as of recent, a little bit of that could have something to do with the lack of enjoyable films coming out, because I don’t get screenings for most of these films, I pay for nearly all of them. But after seeing a film like Mad Max: Fury Road, I’m more than motivated to get back into the summer movie season. I’m more than certain that I won’t see anything as brilliant and exciting as Fury Road for the rest of the summer, or for the entire year if you think about it, but I’m back.