The Mad Max franchise resurfaces with a fitting fourth installment.
George Miller brings back the post-apocalyptic world of Max. The production design stays true to its roots with more creative ways to show the savagery of its dystopia, including a blood bag strapped to a car and women milked like cows.
The cinematography here is great, with yellow soaked days, cool purple nights, and somber vignetted departures of its characters. A simple mirage across the desert could easily be a barbaric horde.
The action sequences deliver the best of blockbuster fanfare, with more than just dusty old vehicles smashing into each other. Wide-angle shots capture acrobatic fighting sequences and devastating sand storms. Miller has also kept up with the times, using a fast stop motion trick for some of the action scenes.
The more experienced actors are able to lift up their thin characters. Charlize Theron steals the show as Furiosa, communicating both desperation and determination through her steely eyes. Nicholas Hoult rises to the occasion with the best character arc in the movie, embodying the religious fanaticism that human beings easily fall into in times of desperation. Tom Hardy is capable as the taciturn Max, a type of character that’s his niche.
Even though it has a Hollywood sheen, Mad Max doesn’t exploit its female characters and doesn’t have any contrived action scenes.
Overall though, it’s just one long car chase.
Its relentless high octane action can get tiresome, broken only by a few character moments.
Max takes a back seat to his own film, easily upstaged by Charlize Theron. The rest of the wives would have made more impact if they were filled in with better actresses. There’s not much to emotionally invest in and the film assumes you already know its iconic character.
But Mad Max: Fury Road isn’t here to ponder about morality and ethics in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s a worthy follow-up that gives us another look at a unique vision and consistently delivers it with an artistic conviction that you can’t help but admire it. Most importantly, it will make new audiences curious about the Mel Gibson franchise.
In the end, Mad Max: Fury Road tells us that the road to redemption is not always a righteous path and you may not be able to escape the inevitable, but sometimes it’s the journey that matters.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road is an adrenaline-pumping cinematic experience full of propulsive action and distinct imagery that will make you forget it's one long car chase.