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Film review: Mad Max - Fury Road

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★★★★☆

Few films manage to live up to the hype. George Miller’s reboot of his insanely glorious Mad Max franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road is one of those few films.

Mad Max - Fury RoadWhat we get is a riot of stunning visuals, superb performances and sound in a high-octane, non-stop car chase. It makes Fast and Furious looks like ‘Slow and slightly peeved’ – this is an action-movie game-changer.

Miller handles this reboot cleverly, with just enough nods to the past to keep fans happy whilst moving the franchise into new realms brilliantly. For example, Max’s classic car starts the movie only to be wiped out within minutes and reappear later on as a vehicle Max must battle against – this sums up the nature of the whole movie.

George Miller’s madcap vision last seen in 1985’s Beyond Thunderdome benefits from a huge-budget and modern effects, and has never looked better. Like the best comic book art brought life.

But still this phenomenal spectacle is made all the more awe-inspiring by the fact that the majority of the stunts are real. Any schmuck can make things look cool with CGI, and Miller has opted for realism in his fantasy world.

There is no let up over two-hours of this awesome spectacle of carnage, with a clattering of supped-up junked cars and grotesque bodies battling the ‘Fury Road’.

Tom Hardy takes the reins as Max Rockatansky, the interceptor cop from the original movie, now a loner surviving in a post-apocalyptic desert.

Max is captured by local warlord Immortan Joe, who rules over a desert enclave of radiation mutants and surviving humans withholding food and water and enslaving beautiful healthy women in order to gain a male heir.

And it is this narrative that makes Fury Road truly groundbreaking for a Hollywood action blockbuster, and one that has had idiotic Men’s Rights activists in a tizz. Fury Road puts women front and centre, not as simply objects of desire or side-kicks but as the heroes, not only on a par with the men but rallying against them and kicking their asses.

Charlize Theron’s is exceptional as Joe’s chief “imperator” Furiosa, who in helping the overlords prize wives escape, sets off the ‘chase’ on which the movie is based. This is a Mad Max movie, but Hardy’s lead is matched in importance and significance by Furiosa – arguably the real hero of the piece.

She leads, she fights, she barks orders at Max and she earns his respect. Ultimately, this pair work together to triumph which in every respect is what movies have been needing.

Through the awesome visuals, great writing and great performances it is this feminist streak that makes Fury Road a must and a film that other franchises can learn from in progressive film making.

All hail the return of Mad Max, the all-action, visually stunning, progressive action movie we have been waiting for.




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