Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – Mad Max: Fury Road (Movie Review)

By Freda Cooper 15.05.2015 4

Image for Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – Mad Max: Fury Road (Movie Review)

Mad Max: Fury Road (UK Rating: 15)

Action movies took off in a whole new direction in 1979 with the arrival of George Miller's Mad Max. The post- apocalyptic world, the supercharged cars and the extravagant set pieces set a new standard and style. Thirty-six years and three films later, the fourth in the series, Mad Max: Fury Road, has at last made it into cinemas: it's been on, off and on again for the past ten years. Not only has it kept its power to surprise, it takes its audience on a spectacular ride in yet another new direction.
Image for Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – Mad Max: Fury Road (Movie Review)
Not that the Mad Max films are big on storyline or dialogue, so don't expect too much of either. The story, such as it is, has Max (Tom Hardy replaces Mel Gibson) wandering the desert alone, haunted by the loss of his wife and child, but he soon gets mixed up in a chase between Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne wearing an extraordinary mask-come-breathing apparatus) and his War Boys and a group of rebels. They're headed by Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), and they've stolen something valuable belonging to the Immortan. Furiosa is also trying to find her way back to The Green Place, where she was originally brought up… and so the chase begins…

A chase movie is exactly what it is, too. There are definite overtones of the traditional western, with the Indians chasing the stagecoach through the landscape, except that the plains are now the desert and the horses have been replaced by outlandish vehicles with ramped up suspensions, super-charged engines and enormous tyres - but they're actually created from clapped out old cars and trucks, painting a picture of impressively resourceful people who can re-create and re-use anything and everything when civilisation collapses. Take a look at the mask that Max has to wear for part of the film: the front section is an old garden fork!


 
What about that new direction, though? Well, Max might have his name in the title, but the film doesn't actually belong to him. Instead, it's all about Furiosa and her search for redemption. All the women, including the decidedly feminine Five Wives, are strong characters in their own right, more than capable of holding their own with their male counterparts. Until now, women in action movies have played something of a secondary role, be it the token female superheroes of the Marvel stable or the pitifully underwritten women that were always the weakness in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. George Miller has different ideas, giving a master class in how an action film can genuinely work with a woman in pole position.

As with the previous movies in the series, Mad Max: Fury Road is two hours of relentless, sustained action in a world that's gone mad - and that makes for some joyously crazy moments. The vehicle leading the Immortan and his War Boys in the chase is laden with a team of drummers - and, attached to the front of the vehicle, is a crimson clad solo guitarist, playing heavy metal for all he's worth. Then there's the War Boys on bendy poles: Miller calls them Polecats. Those poles are like the ones used by vaulters and they're a spectacular way of attacking the enemy, as well as being one of the most memorable images from the film.

Image for Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – Mad Max: Fury Road (Movie Review)
9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10
Mad Max: Fury Road is simply a juggernaut of a movie, a full blooded action movie, but with something that little bit extra. Not only is it intelligent, but it could easily be the start of a new trend in action movies that puts women centre stage. In the end it's one seriously wild ride - in the best possible way!

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I wanted to like this more, and I did enjoy it - there was rarely a moment of downtime and the set piece action sequences performed at high speed were brilliant - but I just came away wanting to know more about the world and characters. Supposedly, you didn't need to have seen the other three movies from 30 years ago, but I kind of want to now, in the hope of learning why the world ended up in the state it is in. I didn't learn anything about Max, and he certainly wasn't the star of the show (why is he even called Mad Max?). It was high octane stuff, but I was just eager to learn more. I guess it's as you say in this review - the series has never been big on story, so it's all about the action. Perhaps I'll check the others out at some point, and it might make me look at this one a bit differently.

Seriously feel like I've wasted my time with this nonsense. Just over an hour in and it's daft, without any decent story tying all the randomness together. Honestly, I'm stunned. This is very poor indeed.

I'm struggling to find the enthusiasm to get through the last hour. I'm now resorting to skipping the slow parts just to get it over with...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

That's pretty much how I (and the two mates I saw it with) felt. The fact there was just no story there at all made it feel pointless. Couldn't deny the action was non-stop and that it looked good, but the plot was nonexistent. It was basically a two hour road trip. Not sure why it got the attention it did tbh, unless it really did just ride off its action scenes, and that's what people paid to see.

So much of it was just like 'Huh?' and even skipping through the last hour to pick up the 'highlights' and see the conclusion didn't make it any more interesting.

I really, really don't get how this scored so highly and received such praise - surely people weren't merely swayed by it being a remake of a cult classic?

Action without much substance can work, which is why I enjoyed Taken 3...but this...wow, very glad I didn't go to the cinema to see it!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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