"Mad Max: Fury Road" Review
OK, now that the adrenaline has subsided a bit, I can finally get a few words out here...
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD IS INCREDIBLE.
As an independent blogger, I have no press credentials anymore, which means there were no early press screenings for me to attend. Had there been, I might have approached Mad Max 4 with skeptical caution and then proceeded to have both my mind and my low expectations blown to smithereens.
Unable to shut out the loud universal praise this film has received, I went into the theater with unbelievably high expectations. They, and my mind, were still blown to smithereens.
That's how phenomenal this movie is.
Most typical Hollywood summer fare can be nitpicked apart as viewers catch faults in narrative and character development. I kept looking for chinks in the armor here and found none of consequence.
Fury Road isn't a wall-to-wall, blood-n-guts romp like The Raid is, but that isn't a fault. The action lets up just enough in certain places to get some nice character development going. Otherwise, the plot is really an afterthought; it's nothing more than a chase picture in which Imperator Furiosa (a kick-ass Charlize Theron) hijacks her own convoy while on oil duty for the evil Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, in his second turn as a different Mad Max baddie). Once he realizes that Furiosa has betrayed him, Joe and his fellow warlords form a massive convoy of their own to retrieve the stolen oil tanker and kill Furiosa.
Through an edge-of-your-seat turn of events that I won't disclose, an imprisoned Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is thrust right into the middle of the conflict. The fight would've started without him anyway, but he has a profound influence on the stakes and the outcome of the conflict at hand. This is indubitably a "Mad Max" picture that does the character justice, despite what some viewers have said about him playing second fiddle to Furiosa. She's equally fun to watch though as Theron carves out a place in cinema history for another badass lady. Think "Ellen Ripley... Sarah Connor... Imperator Furiosa."
What else can I say? Roughly 80-90 percent of the film was completed through practical means. High-flying stunts, fire, explosions, deformed characters, wrecked cars... all achieved through makeup and rigging. No CGI overload here.
At age 70, director and series creator George Miller delivers a modern action masterpiece like the return of the Prodigal Son. Through the wholehearted realization of his unique vision, Miller schools us once again on what a blockbuster movie should be.
If you see one movie in theaters this summer, make it Mad Max: Fury Road. This is a glowing example of what can be achieved when a master visual storyteller is allowed full creative control. Throw every last dollar you can at this film to remind the studios of that assertion.
Written by Ben C. of The Reel