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MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (USA/Australia 2015) ****
Directed by George Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Nathan Jones, Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Review by Gilbert Seah
Aussie director George Miller, now in his 70s reboots his MAD MAX movies after decades with MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, a film that spurned two sequels and defined the anti-hero (Mel Gibson becoming famous in the process as a bad ass actor and human being).
The reboot is again set in a post apocalyptic future of a desert wasteland where petroleum is the needed commodity in which all tribes fight and kill for it. And water. The bad guy is Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) ruling his distraught tribe controlling their access to water. Imperator Furiousa (Charlize Theron) steals his brides escaping in a war rig. She meets Max (Tom Hardy) in a vicious fight but they become allies right to the end of the last reel.
What is marvellous about the film is that the story still manages to emerge despite the scant dialogue. There is no silly message but the characters do strive for hope and redemption. This is almost pure cinema where the audience gets everything, in true cinematic form.
The scenes of the various bikes, souped up vehicles and trucks chasing the war rig with warriors dangling on the poles trying to hop on to the rig are nothing short of spectacular. Inventive, scary, exciting and totally awesome! The stunts are for done with real vehicles and men without any silly CGI, according to the reports on the production sets.
This reboot is an American-Australian co-production unlike the original which is totally Aussie. But this film keeps the actors Australian with most speaking with an Aussie accent.
The word ‘mad’ never comes into the dialogue but the meaning is evident throughout the film, embedded in Max’s character. He looks completely mad (angry) throughout the first third of the film, forced to wear a mask that makes him look like a madman.
Miller’s film is complete action and chase from start to finish – a full 2 hours non-stop. The film’s camera work, atmosphere and look are excellent.
Miller’s name is synonymous with mayhem. His BABE IN THE CITY was so black darkly funny, it angered the financial backers and lost money despite being the most chaotic entertaining family film not for children. His first MAD MAX had the villain saw off his limb in order to survive and his American debut THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK was Jack Nicholson’s wildest. Miller has lived to his reputation with this reboot, though a reboot is hardly the correct term for this film. Though set in similar territory, the story, if it has one is radically different. And there is his expected mayhem all the way from start to finish. A cinematic treat of violence, blood and gore and of course, mayhem.
Compared to the original, FURY ROAD has achieved director Miller’s vision of heightened mayhem of his dystopian future. It is not a future one wishes for, but it makes great entertainment and a visual classic. Clearly, the best serious action film of 2015!
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