A one hundred and twenty minute adrenaline shot; absolute carnage in the desert and all shot with awesome grungy, violent and most importantly, physical, action.
Immortan Joe, a tyrant of a blasted and wasted desert after Earth suffers a nuclear apocalypse, controls all supply of water for his downtrodden citizens. He also holds sway over his Five Wives, imprisoned in his citadel. But when one of his subordinates attempts to rescue these women, he is led on a gasoline fueled chase across the open desert, while amongst all of this, a traumatised loner named Max gets pulled into the fray.
Back in 1983, Australian director George Miller redefined the action genre with his sequel “The Road Warrior” to the 1979 Mad Max, a film with so much vehicular chaos and destruction it was praised for its physical stunt work and world building. Now in 2015 we get Miller returning for a reboot/re-envisioning of the same story.
But fear not, this is Miller’s baby, and it is in good hands. Fury Road is exactly the film it should be. Like 2012’s Dredd, it is a one trick pony but the ace up its sleeve is undeniably astounding. Capturing the pre-computer generated age of the 80s and 90s, the film is a visceral and eye-popping spectacle of carnage of the highest caliber, made even more so by the current over-saturation of action films.
Tom Hardy takes on the titular role as Max, a man haunted by the death of his family (shown exclusively through jarring, nightmarish flashbacks) beside him is Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, the warrior woman with a bionic arm who defies a tyrant to free his slave wives. Immortan Joe is played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played the part of the villain Toecutter in Miller’s 1979 Mad Max.
All of the acting, asides perhaps the anger-fueled Immortan, is downplayed but not forgotten here. The film shows rather than tells with Hardy barely speaking at all outside of an opening narration, Theron’s Furiosa very well steals the show as the character with the most to lose. A worthy note should be given to Nicolas Hoult (X-Men Days of Future Past) who disappears into the role of one of Immortan Joe’s pasty pale War Boys.
People argue that there’s a lack of “characterisation” here, when in fact there is plenty to progress the story and make you understand their motives. What this film lacks is unnecessary quips, one-liners and exposition dumps, all which can bog a film down.
But the action takes centre stage here, and the budget delivered towards the vehicle, costume and character design and construction. Near everything is practical effects, you cannot watch it and not appreciate how everything looks, my eyes were on stalks just taking everything in.
I actually can’t think of anything “wrong” with it. It is a grisly film, a visceral film with such an astounding visual style that has been long forgotten about.
There’s a truck in this film covered in massive drums, amps, and on top a blindfolded dude suspended in bungee chords with a double-necked guitar that shoots flames! How… how can you NOT like that??
Additional Marshmallows: Nicolas Hoult, who plays the war boy Nux, apparently knitted Christmas presents for cast and crew during filming. Even while in full costume!