Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Movie Review

Mad Max: Fury Road is a thrill ride soaked in adrenaline and Guzzoline: 5/5

                They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And whoever “they” are, I agree with them. Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the few modern action films that tells its story, visually, instead of having to spell out every bit of character development and plot through dialogue. The average viewer will enjoy the beautifully filmed practical action. Clever viewers will embrace George Miller’s ingenious storytelling. Either way, Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the best films to come out this year.

The film shouldn’t have much of a problem representing its story. The simplicity in the film is genius, with the entire film hinging on a single action. A butterfly effect, if you will. The whole film kicks off when Furiosa (Charlize Theron) deliberately turns left too early when driving to get gasoline (or, actually, “guzzoline”) and water. So starts a thrill ride filled with explosions, chases, and gorgeous action that doesn’t allow you take a breath until the credits roll.

Though perhaps simplicity is the wrong word for it, in substance nor style. The film’s posters, trailers, and action sequences masquerade Mad Max: Fury Road as a Fast & Furious-esque flick, turn your brain off and watch, as it were. Though the true beauty in this film is buried within these giant action sequences, not outside of them. The action is over the top, yet always takes the time to be breathtakingly cohesive. Wide camera angles show us the intimidating capacity of the wonderful chaos, and close-ups show us the terrifyingly human experience of living in a world of constant danger.

If you have ever seen the original Mel Gibson Mad Max trilogy, you should familiar with the lone wolf character of Max and the post-apocalyptic hellhole where he wastes his life. Though Mad Max: Fury Road stars Tom Hardy as the titular character. He is captured by the cultish horde made up of pale-skinned warriors known as the Warboys. He is taken to their city called the Citadel, inhabited by thousands of Warboys and poverty-stricken starving people ruled by the terrifying Immortan Joe, who has a habit of harvesting children from pregnant women and genetically mutating them into his insane minions. Here we meet our main character, the aforementioned Furiosa, who is charged with transporting about five women to Gastown, to stack up on necessary resources. She takes a “detour”, taking the women to the Green Place, a Promised Land of sorts. Along the way, she picks up Max, and Immortan Joe chases after them, and, yes, then we get the gigantic death cars, exploding harpoons, and flame-throwing electric guitars.

You probably notice how I referred to Furiosa as “our main character”. This is not a mistake. This character is so well-rounded that I am sure that she will become a symbol of strong female characters in film. No disrespect to Max. Tom Hardy does an excellent job of playing a strong, albeit unfamiliar Max. He is not exactly Mad in the film, he is damaged by the extent of his insanity, making him a man of few words, but of many thoughts. However, I am not expecting an Oscar nomination for Hardy; leaving out Theron would be a snub of the highest order.

And, of course, I could not write a review for any Mad Max film without mentioning George Miller. With Mad Max: Fury Road, the man has propelled himself from the label of visionary to the title of artist. He defies Hollywood action film norms while constantly defining his own and others’. Car pictures such as Fast & Furious have become increasingly popular, and I think you can attribute the premise and idealistic over-the-top action to the original Mad Max films. Fury Road is set up to be a film to watch for any aspiring action filmmaker.

So I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Heck, I’ll say it as many times as I need to. Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the best films to come out in 2015, and one of the best action films of the decade. The film is endlessly strange but endlessly likable and fun in its strangeness. It transcended action films of its time, and I’m sure will age through the years like fine wine. And Mad Max: Fury Road in the scale of not only action films, but movies altogether, is a glass of refreshing, exciting fine wine.

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