Film review: Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road, with Tom Hardy
Mad Max: Fury Road, with Tom Hardy

Joseph Austin reviews the Mad Max reboot/sequel Fury Road.

Fast-paced, frenetic and fuelled by an unquenchable thirst for chaos, George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road is exactly what it says on the tin.

After several years in development dating back to 2001, Miller’s latest foray into the nightmarish, post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max, brings Mel Gibson’s incarnation of the revengeful road warrior to an end.

Fury Road introduces a new Max played by Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Returns, Bronson).

Whether or not this is the same Max from the previous three films is entirely up to you, as Fury Road is as much a reboot as it could be a sequel.

Miller’s fourth film in the series hardly needs an introduction, despite getting one from Hardy’s gravel-voiced Max.

Bringing up to speed those who aren’t so savvy in the ways of this nitro-fuelled world of craziness, Fury Road starts as it means to go on - with twisted metal and burning rubber.

Max is taken prisoner by the War Boys, white painted, bald-headed punks, who serve the tyrannical and skull-masked Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).

Joe’s champion, the robotic-armed action-woman Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), leads a mission to collect much-needed fuel for his citadel.

But after Joe discovers Furiosa has secretely smuggled his young, innocent wives out of his lair, he sends his War Boys and surrounding armies (including a flame-throwing electric guitar-playing person) to hunt her down.

Sounds weird? It is.

But how does Max become involved in all this?

Nux (Nicholas Hoult), an ambitious young War Boy, uses Max as a ‘blood bag’ (a kind of weird blood transfusion) while tearing through the desert in chase of Furiosa.

Many intensely choreographed and visually stunning action sequences later, Max strikes an unlikely alliance with Theron’s Furiosa and her escapees, helping them free the clutches of Joe along the fury road with his armies in hot pursuit.

This unrelenting piece of cinema from George Miller is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

It has a real visceral quality about it, certainly more so than his previous Max outings.

With breath-taking action sequences, ramped up even more by the film’s penchant for practical CGI and in camera stunts, Fury Road is pure adrenaline flowing action.

Namibia’s deserts provide the perfect backdrop for this nuclear ravaged world, as clusters of motorised monsters rip through the sand in a blaze of fire and brimstone.

But sadly it’s nothing more.

Hardy’s Max is rather dull and Theron’s Furiosa is, well, also rather dull, leading her gang of models through the never-ending wasteland of outlandish characters and generic B-movie dialogue.

There’s no real story here, even to the characters, which seriously damages the film’s appeal.

To begin with Fury Road doesn’t appear to take itself too seriously.

Its cartoonish characters and ridiculously fast-paced narrative remind you of Wacky Races on speed.

But as the minutes tick by Fury Road sets out its stool as a one-dimensional, all-out action fest.

An undoubtedly surreal experience that has its moments, Fury Road is a disappointing joyride across a desert of what could have been.

Max went ‘Beyond Thunderdome’ in his last sequel. Perhaps he should have stayed there.