George Miller returns to the outback with the riskiest and biggest adventure yet.
Mad Max Fury Road is the culmination of years of planning and creative endeavour. Assembling some of the biggest set pieces in Australian film history, George Miller has set to celluloid one of the most epic and audacious masterpieces of recent time. Playing against The Avengers, domestically and internationally, word of mouth and solid marketing will likely push Fury Road through at the box office and it deserves it for the sheer scale of action presented.
Fury Road sees Max caught up in the rescue of a group of harem wives from the dictator Immortan Joe by his previously trusted general Furiosa. Originally as a captive Max is thrown into a chase comprised of all sorts of vehicles and a motley crew of tribes. Furiosa takes the lead for much of the movie, her motives to salvage the enslaved women to the green lands of her youth. There isn’t a huge amount of detail to the plot, it unrolls nicely and holds focus but the real focal point here is the set pieces. From the first minute of the film we are launched into a high octane chase movie packed tight with crunching metal, speed and danger.
Miller has orchestrated a road movie that never relents but also doesn’t grow tiresome. He builds the tension as we are introduced to more and more vehicular monstrosities as our heroes look to outrun the clutches of Immortan Joe and his minions. A variety of cars, bikes and trucks mixed with tribal specifications and terrain allow for a variety of action, long range chases mixed with hand to hand combat and much more. It is difficult to determine the extend that special effects were used but the action is raw and real, what seems like hundreds of stunt men taking falls, climbing and flipping amongst the sand and metal.
Namibia lent its sparse scenery to create the dystopian apocalyptic world Max lives in. Packed full of mutation and base human requirement, Millers landscape of survival and nothing else is brought to live with a limited colour spectrum. We are inundated with endless yellows and browns, even the water has a muddy hue to it reinforcing the evils man has done to this land. Costuming is subdued, medieval armour mixed with DIY scrap metal and vicious iconography complimenting the ghostly white War Boy minions and a counterpoint to the flowing white dresses of the wives, their elegant and subtle beauty the prize in an ugly world.
Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy share the screen, Theron’s Furiousa taking charge and providing a truly heroic and gritty femme leader, Hardy’s Max more stoic and calculated, playing for survival and little else. Both performances are exemplary, Hardy resembling many roles he has played before while Theron is transformed into an action star to great effect. Alongside them we see a cast of great Australian talent. From John Howard and High Keays-Byrne to model Megan Gale and wrestler come hulking beast Nathan Jones, the diversity a reminder about what makes Mad Max such an Australian classic series. Broad accents and colloquial phrases littering the limited dialogue in the piece.
Fury Road is not a perfect film, the plot occasionally seems clunky and may do with more exposition, but its the action taking centre stage that is prioritised for the betterment of the film overall. As a high octane thrill ride its audience may be viewed as more masculine but that would be stereotyping and there is lots to enjoy here for a wide variety of people, but an aversion to loud noises and violence could be a turn off.
Mad Max is a classic Australian character and Fury Road will help introduce the character to a new audience in the most exciting way possible as well as standing alone as one of the best action films since The Raid. George Miller is a mastermind, an iconic and important director in Australian film. Take the popcorn and get ready for a thrilling ride.