by Jason Koenigsberg
Director: George Miller
From the opening shot of George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road you see a two-headed lizard on a desert landscape scampering away from the camera towards our main character who stomps on it, picks it up off the bottom of his boot and eats it raw. This is symbolic of what the audience is in for; bizarre things are going to be coming at Max (played by Tom Hardy) and he will simply chew them up and spit them out.
The next two hours are an action packed spectacle of pure insanity. Images that are simultaneously weird and intriguing occupy the screen. Mad Max: Fury Road has a unique quality in that it looks both very modern yet at the same time oozes with a retro self-confidence. It is comfort food for children of the 80’s while also being high-octane eye candy for the younger crowd with short attention spans.
Some of the visuals that stuck out the most were the porcupine cars, the guitarist who’s axe shoots flames as he plays during the intense chase sequences, and the scorched Earth “fury road” itself which serves as a visually sumptuous commentary about mankind squandering our natural resources and destroying the planet.
I could describe the plot but honestly that would be a waste of both of our times. The whole movie is one big chase with small interruptions for just enough exposition and character development. The plot really is irrelevant because Mad Max: Fury Road is a worthy entry into post-apocalyptic sci-fi lore. It also stays true to the character originally played by Mel Gibson as the reclusive hero.
Tom Hardy does a respectable job picking up the torch as the loner reluctantly forced into helping people he does not care for but will because it is morally just. Tom Hardy who reminds me more of Bane than he does Mel Gibson from the original Mad Max films, which is fine because it makes the character more of his own. Plus, I am starting to think Hardy has a think for blood transfusions, it was important when he played Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and is again featured prominently in this film.
The other performances are also very well done. Nicholas Hoult might actually have you convinced that he is out of his mind for the majority of the movie as he plays the Bruce Spence sidekick type of role from previous Mad Max films, and Charlize Theron stands out as an aggressive action heroine that Sigourney Weaver would have played twenty years ago. This is Theron’s least glamorous performance since her Oscar Winning role in Monster (2003).
The main villain is also one of the most memorable images of the film, covered in prosthetics and make-up he has been featured prominently in every trailer, TV spot and poster for Mad Max: Fury Road. The villain here and serves as a metaphor about our political leaders and how they have so much yet they give and distribute so little to the masses they lead.
Beneath its surface Mad Max: Fury Road is a smart picture if you are looking for more than just a really fun action packed thrill ride. At the same time, if all you want is fantastic car chases and action sequences in a post apocalyptic setting with great looking cinematography, well then Mad Max: Fury Road is also the film for you.