"What a lovely day."Thirty years is a long time. Thirty years of rumours, speculation, redesigning and recasting before we finally reached this point. The trailers came, we watched in awe, now the Road Warrior roars back onto the screen in a triumphant, adrenaline fuelled path of carnage. He’s Max, and he’s Mad, and he’s back.
In a post apocalyptic wasteland deprived of oil and water, the warlord Immortan Joe rules over the area with an iron fist. Following the escape of his five wives under the protection of a mysterious woman called Furiosa (Charlize Theron), Joe sets out in pursuit, accompanied by his army and their newly found prisoner Max (Tom Hardy).
There’s no denying that Mad Max is a crazy universe to be in, it’s a wild ride from start to finish and rather than do what so many modern interpretations of a classic series have done by trying to make it dark and brooding we have a…. well, Mad movie in Mad Max. To be fair though, I say it’s not dark and brooding but don’t expect sunshine and flowers. This is a brutal, violent film but the action and eccentricity of it are astonishing to watch, they are unbelievable, they are completely amazing in every aspect.
Every generation has their action movie, the pone that defines the tone of filmmaking of their time. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Die Hard, Terminator 2 and now Fury Road. I honestly have not seen action made to this kind of standard for a long time and now I can finally say that yes, action movies are as good as they were thirty years ago. They can be classed alongside the most prestigious and artistic films of the day and they can win. This is the pinnacle of what it means to be an action film. Go away Three Days to Kill and Lucy and any other excuse for an action film, here we have the action film by which all others can be measured against.
Am I hyping this up too much, fine I don’t care. Do you expect me to give proper reasons for why I like this film instead of just fanboying everywhere? Alright then. The action is non-stop, right from the get-go Max is captured and then transported, caught in massive battles and torn between his devotion. George Miller is a firm believer is the purity of action films the visual nature is what drives it forward. The scale of scope of it is also completely immersive thrusting you into the world that is undoubtedly survival of the maddest. Despite the zany nature of it though, it feels like it’s assembled and designed in some way. Think of it as organised insanity.
Amid all of the action and excitement Miller manages to find some feeling and emotion within this. Charlize Theron’s character is more emotionally attached to the situation than she likes to admit and the tender nature beneath her tough exterior. Theron delivers in every aspect, bringing a humane element to the whole story and manages to raise the chases and carnage to a new level as (believe it or not action filmmakers, if you make us care about the characters, we’re more involved in the intensity even more) She is written to be the centre of the film and Max is just caught between them. Speaking of which, Hardy manages to embody that understated, physical acting of Mel Gibson that made the character so great. He may not have a lot to say but he speaks a language of a different kind with his physicality, almost becoming another cog grinding away against the rest of the world.
By using a silent method it means you can trust you viewer’s intelligence, unanswered questions remain unanswered. Which is good because otherwise it would slow the film down. Mutual friendships remain mutual and unspoken, nothing is declared, it’s just acknowledged.
It’s ironic that Rosie Huntington Whiteley as she was also in Michael Bay’s third Transformers movie, where she was filmed as an object, a model, something to gather around and save for some reason. But here, though she’s wearing less, she and the rest of the women are excellently adjudicated and involved within the plot and action.
From a certain standpoint, I guess that if you never saw the original Mad Max films then you might find it difficult to take this world seriously. My advice would be to watch Road Warrior, imagine that but with a bigger budget, more talented actors and a scope of epic proportions.
The best action film I have seen for a long, long, long time.