Just under 30 years since the last Mad Max film - 1985's Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome - and, this year, we finally return to George Miller's world, with Mad Max: Fury Road, and it's just as fantastic as when we left it.
Returning to a franchise after 3 decades, with the film having been in the works for about 14 or so years, can usually only mean one thing: trouble. The fans have, typically, lost their passion in the franchise and it's always hard recreating the same magic of the originals, whilst keeping things fresh at the same time - especially in an age where technology and filming have advanced so much. Very few times has a filmmaker come back - after so long - to something so close to their heart and delivered such a fulfilling return to a cinematic universe.
I'm a big fan of action films. I loved the original Mad Max trilogy. The first one, back in 1979, was a wonderful revenge flick. Its sequel, Mad Max 2: Road Warrior, is an iconic landmark for film; one of the best action films ever. Beyond Thunderdome wasn't as good as both prior instalments but it was still a good film, nonetheless. Upon hearing of Mad Max: Fury Road, I was skeptical. Trailer after trailer, still after still, I began to get more and more excited for it until, in the last couple of months, it became my most anticipated film of the year. Well, now it's here and it truly does satisfy.
"My name is Max," Tom Hardy voices over as we get a shot of the abstract, amplified-in-colour desert landscape. "My world is fire and blood," continues Hardy - who has replaced Mel Gibson as the new face of our titular Max Rockatansky. He soon finds himself captured and tortured (used as a Blood-bank) by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played Toecutter in the original Mad Max) - a warlord who has control over everything in this hellish wasteland, from fuel and water, to even pure-gened humans.
However, his luxury of getting everything he wants is challenged when his lieutenant, Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa, decides she has had enough of his rules and rebels against him. Stealing The War Rig, a huge guzzling tanker, full of fuel, water and Joe's harbour of sex slaves - the Five Wives (of which consists of Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Courtney Eaton and Abby Lee Kershaw) - they are determined to get their freedom.
Pissed off by this, Joe sends out his personal hounds, The War Boys - a group of bald-headed psychopaths who live to die on the road - after them. Dragged along for the ride, strapped to the front of a spiked grill, is Max; present as the blood donor for the insane, pale-faced warrior Nux (Nicholas Hoult) who screams out things like the infamous tag line "What A Lovely Day" right in the midst of a blistering, blood-stained tornado and his desire to "die historic, on the Fury Road."
However, despite that, the plot is but Fury Road's smallest concern, very lightly dealt with. Ironically, it's the plot itself that is the macguffin of the blockbuster. The pinnacle of Miller's fourth film in the Mad Max franchise is in the title itself; madness and fury. If there's something this film has, it's that. From start to finish, this is one nitrous-soaked, heart-thumping hell of a ride that truly redefines not only the action genre but filmmaking in itself.
As far as the acting in this goes, everyone is magnificent. Tom Hardy is a great actor and he stuns (as always) as our protagonist, embodying the legacy Gibson left behind perfectly. They say action actions speak louder than words and that's clearly the case here as despite only having about 20 lines of dialogue during the entire 120 minute runtime, he brings a lot of depth, humanity and dark, witty charisma to the role of Max. Hoult is also a marvel too - playing one of the most compelling, intriguing characters in the film - as are the individual actresses that bring to life the Five Wives.
Although, it's Charlize Theron's bulked-up, bald, sweaty and fierce Furiosa that really steals the show here. She kicks just as much ass as Hardy and really dominates this apocalyptic era as a poignant, inspiring female leader. What I love most though about her character and the other female characters in this is just the reality of them. There's no 'stronger' males required for these women. They kick ass. There's some true feminism at work here and quite rightly so; it's these women that are the ones trying to restore order, wrestling it from the hands of the men that destroyed it.
This film is, naturally, driven by its relentless action and tone as much as it is its cast. From the moment this film begins to the second the credits roll, Fury Road is one furious, relentless, action-packed punch with one big, explosive sequence after the other. You can't help but grin at all the mass chaos and hysteria unfolding right before your eyes. The expression 'feast your eyes' quite literally comes into practice here; the cinematography is flawless and the vibrant visuals are truly striking.
There's a strange beauty to everything going down; from the sleek shots to the perfectly captured violence - bloodless, yet as brutal as the church scene from the recent Kingsman. It's made all the more spectacular by the fact that 90% of the film is all practical effects. Laden with stunning set-pieces and mind blowing sequences, the stunt work in Fury Road is simply astonishing and hard to come to terms with. You're sitting in the cinema thinking, they really did that? There's a child-like admiration to it all; to this whole film, in fact.
Bursting with ingenuity and screaming audacity, Dr. Miller's mesmerising return to the Mad Max franchise - now better than ever - is also a solid return to form for the mastermind director. Fury Road boasts in craziness and in spectacle and it also has some of the most astounding action to ever grace the big-screen. This is everything you want from a blockbuster and more. It's everything you want from a Mad Max film and more and it most definitely lives up to the massive hype and expectation.
One utterly insane, hysterical, adrenaline-fueled ride; Mad Max: Fury Road is fucking phenomenal. As an action, it's an instant classic. As a film, it's a genuine masterpiece.
About the Author
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.