Film Review – Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road

In a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, two rebels just might be able to restore order: Max, a man of action and of few words, and Furiosa, a woman of action who is looking to make it back to her childhood homeland.

During grotesque warlord Immortan Joe’s chase of Max, Furiosa et al, one of the many, many vehicles is fronted by a blind bloke in a red jumpsuit playing a double-necked guitar that spews fire. For no apparent reason. And that pretty much sums up the absurdity of Mad Max: Fury Road.

They say never go back, but that’s exactly what director George Miller has done and there’s absolutely no signs whatsoever of him mellowing with age. Incredibly light on dialogue and exposition, Fury Road opts for retina-burning action instead, rarely giving you chance to catch your breath before the heavy metal soundtrack erupts and away we go again.

You feel sweaty and grimy, covered in dirt, sand and oil just watching it, and it feels great.

Its several action set pieces are visceral, brutal and simply spectacular, stunningly choreographed into a dance of death across the dystopian wastelands. Whilst undeniably impressive, the non-stop action does become a bit one-note and the film would benefit greatly from just taking the odd breather and fleshing out its characters a little more. Max himself feels woefully underdeveloped, and just giving us that little extra glimpse into who he is would have been welcome.

Charlize Theron as Furiosa

One of the main reasons the films works as well as it does is the aesthetic created by Miller and his cinematographer John Seale. Many post-apocalyptic films tend to have a rather washed out colour pallette but Fury Road is drenched in colour which just adds to the ludicrousness of the whole thing. And then there’s the vehicles and the noise and the make-up and bonkers editing – you feel sweaty and grimy, covered in dirt, sand and oil just watching it, and it feels great.

Whilst claims that Fury Road is some kind of visionary feminist masterpiece are somewhat wide of the mark, the film does do plenty to puts its men and women on much more equal footing than most other films of similar ilk.

For most of the film, this is Furiosa’s story, not Max’s – whether you want that is up to you.

You don’t need to look much further than Charlize Theron’s apocalyptic Ellen Ripley, Imperator Furiosa (Furiosa Road?), and her relationship with Max for proof of this. Furiosa enjoys just as much screen time as Max and we learn much more about her than Max’s Silverback grunts and gesturing ever give away. For most of the film, this is her story, not his – whether you want that is up to you.

At times Max does feel a little sidelined and this does bring about some issues, not because he has the right to be front and centre at all times, but because here we have a main character that, often, you struggle to really become invested in. Those who have seen the original Mad Max films may fare better here, but for those new to the series, there’s a good chance you won’t actually care that much about Max.

Whilst Fury Road is hardly the modern day classic some are labelling it as, it’s hard to beat when it comes to adrenaline-fuelled, fire guitar-wielding action. Its sheer vision and extravagance are to be applauded, and whilst a little more plot/character development wouldn’t have gone amiss, it’s a tremendous way to hopefully kickstart a new era in the Mad Max franchise.

Pros

  • Amazing action set pieces
  • Strong female lead in Charlize Theron’s Furiosa
  • Wonderful aesthetic and lore

Cons

  • Becomes too action-heavy
  • Could have done with more character and plot development

4 pigeons

4/5 pigeons

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17 thoughts on “Film Review – Mad Max: Fury Road

  1. sati says:

    I actually liked the amount of development for the characters – it made all of them feel mysterious which was very refreshing and Theron and Hardy made them easy to root for despite not much being known about them

  2. vinnieh says:

    Excellent review. This was an intense, action-packed white knuckle ride that I loved immensely.

  3. Good to have you back! And what a film to return with! Saw this the other day and it’s a cracker isn’t it?

  4. Nostra says:

    I don’t think it needed more development as so much is conveyed through visuals and short conversations. Never felt that the action was too much as it never became repetitive. Can’t wait to watch this one again so will be heading back to the cinema somewhere this week.

    • There were just certain things that got glossed over I feel, such as why Max was hooked up to Nux (if that’s his name, can’t remember) for his blood. It may well have been covered but if it was I missed it. I still absolutely loved it though, the action scenes just become slightly repetitive after a while for me.

  5. ruth says:

    I didn’t know this was to be Furiosa’s story but I definitely welcome it!! I also want to know more about that blood bag thing, but I think from what I gather, sounds like Nux is sick and so he needs to *feed* on blood to get stronger. In any case, I LOVE this movie, more so than I thought!

    • Oh yeah I was more than happy for Furiosa to be the major character here, she was amazing! I suppose that does make sense with Nux, I think it could have been better explained though. But yeah, it was brilliant, I thoroughly enjoyed it 🙂

  6. Excellent review Chris. I agree with you that it can be hard to invest in Max as he’s given such minimal character development but it’s great that Miller gives us such strong female characters here too.

  7. Paul S says:

    Amidst the hype it’s refreshing to read a considered review of “Mad Max: Fury Road”.
    I’m not sure how it will compare to the well-oiled machine that is Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

  8. Jay says:

    I didn’t see any of the originals, so I was just jumping into this and along for the ride!

  9. Hatmovies says:

    I have recently watched it, it is the best entertainment value film of the Mad Max series and of this year (till now). Action is awesome and brings excitement, and special effects are great, as expected. Screenplay is good, and it engages towards the film. The movie connects with the audience but lacks a bit. I agree with you but the heavy action feels good while watching. Also, Charlize Theron has played her role really well, she shows her versatility again. Overall, I enjoyed it a lot, and it is a perfect for me as a viewer.

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