Mad Max: Fury Road – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

mad maxMad Max: Fury Road – 4/5 – There is something to be said about action films.  When it comes to the thought; you have to take into consideration the context of what the film is when it is deemed in a certain genre.  Like comedies, horrors or romances; most action films have a lacking in some area (characters, story or focus).  Even so, the main draw of this kind of film is to do one thing.  It is suppose to provide you with a great spectacle of one or all of the following:

a.) Fighting

b.) War/gun battles

c.) car chases

If an action film can do this, it will inevitably drown out its flaws.  If it doesn’t, it becomes a terrible experience (aka Transformers: AOE).  Mad Max: Fury Road is an action film that succeeds at its job.  Even with its flaws, it provides non-stop action from beginning till the end.

Premise:  As the world succumbs to madness; and sanity is few and far between, two people are fated to find purpose in one another.  As these two rebels are on the run, they must find reasons to survive, even if they must overcome the fury of the road ahead.

At the heart of this film are the three main characters.  You have:

Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky

Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa

Nicholas Hoult as Nux

These three are very well known, great actors/actresses. With these people at the helm; they do a good job in providing power and focus in various ways.  Tom Hardy does a great job in blending his strong charisma (as an actor) within his and the overall film’s action.  He doesn’t have a lot of lines or screen time in the film ironically; but the power he gives is within the subtlety of his interactions with the set pieces or the other two leads.  Nicholas Hoult (of X-men fame) creates an individual who’s blind with crazed worship of the villain, but becomes the ‘change of heart’ character.  He is the most endearing and flawed of the bunch, but also the one character that creates a window of attachment for the audience.  Charlize Theron is the muscle, main protagonist of this film.  Out of the three, she takes the cake with her strength, bravado and passion within her drive (no pun intended).  Not only is she empowering through charm, but has strength as the leader and focal point in the film.  When it comes to the main antagonist, you have Immortan Joe (played by Hugh Keays-Byrnes).  His ‘worth’ is brought upon the solidified ‘caricature’ of his character.  That description is brought through the power of the ‘over-the-top’ but slick suaveness he has on screen.  Even when it does borderline on cartoonish; it never goes over the edge in saturation and stays consistently entertaining.  With the secondary cast, it is a mixed bag of awesomely colorfulness to ‘purposely’ plot device/driven characters.  For any other film, this would bring it into the realm of obviousness.  For this one (which knows what it is aiming for), the contrast of imagination with the spectacle is glued by the way the secondary cast stitches around the main characters, villain and ‘somewhat’ story.

With the way this film is setup, it doesn’t have a very strong story.  The direction based off a simple setup.  The world as we know it has become a barren wasteland.  It is a large desert, driven mad because of the lack of natural resources.  Those resources are controlled by one person; Immortan Joe.  He rules through blind tyranny.  Within this tyrannical struggle, one woman (Furiosa) feels it is time for a change.  From this point, we get to see it through the eyes of ‘Mad Max’ (in a way).  That is it for the film as it comes to any kind of plot/story elements.  There’s no strength in this element, as the narrative is driven by something else completely.  George Miller (director) draws the audience into this world through the ‘awe’ feeling of its own creation.  Through his creative genius (and probably a little perverted imagination), he creates a linear thread through one large car chase scene.  You are probably going to ask yourself, how can a film with nothing but this premise at hand not lead into the trend of ‘style over substance’.  The way that Miller goes beyond the ‘style over substance’ mantra is through the creative set piece design; precision execution of the chases and the subtle use of characters in the film.   Not one person (Max, Furious, Nux or the villain); pulls you through anything that would be consider ‘real’ character depth.  They pull you in through action and purpose of their situation within this world.  The irony is that with a ‘lack of’ story, you have your focus on the most important aspect; the action.  You get to see another way thematic elements are portrayed.  Within the outrageousness of scenes, you see a lot of themes of ‘finding hope’; ‘hiding flaws’ and ‘redemption’.  You see that there is enough here to create some kind of cohesion.  From beginning to end; it is non-stop pulse pounding action.  The thrill is intense; and the conclusions of each ‘conflict’ are gratifying.  There is one consistent tone, the pace is never unhinged and the directive of the set pieces is always précised.   George Miller shows how to grip the imagination, drive you wild through chaos but be heartfelt in that very same thing.  As much as the story elements aren’t important, it is still a flaw that will stand out throughout your viewing experience. Having a ‘lack’ of story does bring it down at certain points of the film.  Even so, by the end you’ll be completely enraptured by what you have seen.

The cinematography is probably the best I have seen in a film since The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Being set in the desert, there is something drawn out of the visual prowess of a simplistic landscape that creates so much allure.  The immersion is so pristine that it creates a backdrop for the action that’s luscious and strong.  This deserted wasteland gives you a sense of vulnerability.  You get a sense that not everyone can or will survive in the end.  Along with this, the use of ‘practical effects’ helps add another element of depth to the visuals.  There is a strange ‘rawness’ that creates a believable factor.  You get a real sense of the situation, which is strong but relatable.  When it comes to the melding of the effects with the visuals, you get a sense of real ingenuity, especially with the vehicles.  There are some creative feats with what is done to the creation of the vehicles, and not one has similarities to the other.   On top of this, you have one of the most ‘intense’ scores you can find in any film to date.  If the mantra of this review is precision, this can also be said about the score.  It is very much the kind of music that just ‘jumps’ at you, and creates a characterization within the action and visuals.  Pretty much, the intensity of everything wouldn’t have had that ‘power’ without the music.  It is a very heavy sound, one that pulls and tugs like you are at a heavy metal concert.

Overall, Mad Max: Fury Road is that film where it bleeds spectacle, fun and thrills, even with its minor flaws.  It is a creative, intense ride; one that is full of heart as much as it is filled with action.   If you’re a fan of action; this is one for you.  You will not be disappointed.

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