By Ivan Mateo
Over 30 years since the first installment of
“Mad Max,” George Miller has triumphantly returned to his post-apocalyptic wasteland of a world to direct “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the fourth installment in the series.
This is the first “Mad Max” film without Mel Gibson in the titular role. Tom Hardy assumes the role of Mad Max Rockatansky, a survivor wandering around minding his own business until the War Boys, a nearby army, take him to the Citadel.
A tyrant named King Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) runs The Citadel, dictating the water supply and the fate of the women. (Fun fact: The actor playing the villain Toecutter in the first “Mad Max” film also plays the villain here.)
Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is front and center of all the action. She abandons the King’s directive of retrieving ammunition and gasoline, and instead rescues the King’s wives from his reign of terror.
Nux (Nicholas Hoult), a war boy, tries to make a name for himself. He and Max share many interesting, comical interactions.
The scarcity of dialogue in “Fury Road” clearly creates an atmosphere of a show over tell nature. This is spectacle at its finest. Max, a man of action, says very little, but when he speaks, everyone listens.
The frenetic, wall-to-wall pace keeps audiences at the edge of their seats. When action finally takes a break, audiences are afforded a brief respite to catch their collective breaths.
The stark contrast between the color palettes during night and day scenes is definitely a welcome change from the typical grey scheme in many other action movies. The desert wasteland landscape vibrantly shines orange, while the blue night sky provides a cool and mysterious tone.
There is very little usage of CGI and special effects, and the movie plays out much better for it ” especially in a movie landscape where practically everything is digital.
Various camera shots and attention to detail help achieve the overall massive scale. Almost 200 vehicles needed to be created for the film, and each vehicle has a distinct look on screen. From Furiosa’s War Rig to Immortan Joe’s Giga Horse to Doof Warrior’s Doof Wagon, each vehicle has a personality linked to its owner. The different camera shots and angles place the audience inside the heat of the battles and illuminates the grandiose nature of the chase.
The soundtrack melds perfectly with each crucial moment. Junkie XL created the magnificent musical score replete with war drums, a guitarist furiously riffing on his flame-spitting guitar (he’s part of the soundtrack, too) and aptly timed orchestral music.
I often found myself wondering, “What else are they cooking up?” and “They cannot possibly top that, can they?” They can, and they do.
The feats are nothing short of incredible, and the set pieces are jaw-dropping. From the explosions to the acrobatic war boys to the brilliant stunt work, the non-stop action cleverly disguises the fact this film runs for two hours.
Apparently there are complaints of this being a feminist movie. Who cares? There are girls who kick butt and guys who kick butt. There’s nothing wrong with this. There’s nothing wrong with Max encountering interesting, strong characters, whether they are women or men.
Miller’s commentary on the regulation of women’s bodies and water usage strike the heart of the important issues plaguing us today. This leads us to seeing “Fury Road” as Furiosa’s story through and through, and Theron absolutely steals the show. She acts as an agent of change and beacon of hope not only for herself, but also for others around her.
To end this review, I will borrow a line from Hoult’s character, Nux: “What a lovely day!” What a lovely day, indeed.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout and for disturbing images.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is in theaters now.
4.6 Stars (Out of 5 Stars)
Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
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