At the Movies with Alan Gekko: Mad Max: Fury Road

MPAA Rating: R/ Genre: Action Sci-Fi/ Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whitley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, Josh Helman, Nathan Jones, John Howard, Richard Carter/ Runtime: 120 minutes

When a few years back renowned Australian director George Miller announced a new Mad Max film would be in the works, it had taken over 25 years for the fabled project to fly off the development stages (as there was issues with production, locations and even script development over the years) and at long last audiences would finally see it on the screen in its final completed form. So, with much trepidation and anxiety, the questions all the fans of this truly iconic and quite legendary character had were this: would it be worth the wait of all these years that it took to make this happen, and not to mention would it be worthy enough to stand alongside the original trilogy which are seen as some of the best movies in the action genre? I am pleased to say then that upon seeing the film the wait and anticipation has really paid off for both the fans and the filmmakers. I say this because Mad Max: Fury Road truly is a worthy and wild action ride that packs punch, value and high quality into the trilogy that was established previously. Yet while it can be considered both a reboot and a sequel, this movie has truly enabled Miller to expand the wasteland universe and to further the life of the ‘Road Warrior’ Max. Indeed having seen the trilogy countless times, we are immediately aware of the production value it should carry, but with the film having the biggest budget to use (beating the trilogy’s separate budget values), Miller crafts not only an epic film in action and storytelling, but in terms of value, concept and direction he gives us a shining feature that stands strongly and respectively for the fans of the franchise.

The plot is as follows: Mad Max: Fury Road continues the adventures of former cop Max Rockatansky in a desert wasteland where humanity is broken, and everyone is simply trying to get the necessary supplies to survive. Shortly after the movie begins Max gets captured by an army called the War Boys, who are led by their cult leader, Immortan Joe, but after escaping the War Boys Max finds himself having to aid a woman named Imperator Furiosa, who is trying to get all of Joe’s five wives to safety from Joe while also trying to find her homeland where she knows the girls will be safe. Yet whilst Max is helping Furiosa, they subsequently find themselves chased by Joe and his War Boys, who are trying to get Joe’s wives back and thus begins one of the longest chases through hell you will ever witness…

Now casting for the film was absolutely fantastic, in particular because this marks the first time that a different actor has filled in the shoes and duty of portraying Max and that actor was Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Bronson and Inception). Indeed at the time when it was announced that he had won the role, quite a few fans disagreed with this casting choice as he was of British descent and because it was Mel Gibson that defined the role as iconic for both him and the franchise. Yet Hardy, despite all the odds, manages to give us a solid performance that makes us feel that Max has still got fight in him after so many years have passed since Thunderdome. Indeed Hardy really manages to pull this off with no flaws and in so doing makes him solid in the role of this film icon just like Gibson and a worthy successor to carry the character forward should any further sequels be made. Also Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron just does a brilliant and outstanding job playing Furiosa, a character that seems to take the leading action role as much as Hardy. Yet while there has been criticism from various anti-feminist groups that she is more dominate and more action-oriented than Hardy’s character on screen and thus making fans feel that Max is a secondary character I would politely disagree. This is because Max does play a major role throughout the story because not only is he assisting with Furiosa’s journey of redemption to bring the women into a safer world, but also because without Max’s assistance Furiosa would not make it as far in the movie as she ultimately winds up. The supporting cast also includes the talents of Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Warm Bodies), Hugh Keays-Byrne (From the original Mad Max), Rosie Huntington-Whitley (Transformers 3), Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Nathan Jones and Megan Gale to name some, and they all manage to turn out some truly great performances in their roles. Now from my eye and point of view, it seems like Hoult’s character is showcasing for us a sort-of tribute to the Gyro Captain (from Mad Max 2) and in the form of his wild boy character Nux it is a wonderfully manic quasi-showcase to present to us. Also Byrne’s Immortan Joe is absolutely dominate as the villain and is also a villain I might add that also kind of eerily bares a sort-of similar voice to Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. Indeed, like Bane Immortan Joe manages to just plain and simply fill the scenes he’s in with a high degree of not only tension and dread but just pure bad boy quality plain and simple despite the fact that there’s barely any dialogue from him or any of the other characters.

Now in terms of action, Fury Road is indeed a major contender for action quality that matches not only the quality from the previous films but takes it further in terms of stunts, practical effects and choreography work. Indeed from explosive crashes, high-wired acrobats, jumping and moving along moving vehicles and fist fights on top of tankers, the film does it with amazing eye for detail and realism using practical effects and stunt people whilst using minimal CGI to assist the action or landscape and the fast and clear camera work and editing makes the action sequences seem so beautiful, brutal and flat out insane that it leaves the recent Fast and Furious films in the dirt and in shame. Cinematography, sound mixing, editing and practical effects are all also top notch throughout the film as Miller and his crew give the action, story, its characters and its deserted environment a style that has been missing from the genre for some time (though a few today have occurred to be solid examples such as Furious 7, Kingsman and even some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films). Yet Miller reignites both the genre and his style of film-making that make it seem possible for the film to get Oscar worthy consideration in 2016 and if I had to take a guess I would guess it would be nominated for best cinematography, sound mixing/editing, visual effects and possibly direction. Also the amazing cars featured (including the signature Interceptor) are all real, detailed and seemed so based from the minds of Miller and his design team and it’s a true fact that 350 vehicles were used in the film, but who knows how many of them were destroyed during the making of the film?

All in all Mad Max: Fury Road is an epic action ride that delivers solid entertainment for both action fans and fans of the original trilogy. Indeed while it is no secret that Miller has taken quite a few years to get this franchise back on the screen, it is also no secret that when one finally views it the results we find ourselves seeing truly are some of the absolute best I’ve ever seen in filmmaking and not to mention the genre itself. On a scale of 1-5 I give Mad Max: Fury Road a 4.5 out of 5