R | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Review - Matt Mungle - @themungle
In theaters May 15th.
Hell hath no fury like Mad Max: Fury Road. This new installment in the Road Warrior franchise is more brutal, disturbing, and visually assaulting than any in the past. If you like your action perfectly choreographed and wall to wall blunt force trauma then you will love every gear grinding moment of this one. Writer/Director George Miller doesn't miss a beat and picks up exactly where he left off in the early 80's. With a look at apocalyptic life that some would be too scared to even contemplate. But he uses it as a playground for sadistic characters.
Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) has been enslaved by the salacious Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Joe is dictator to a colony of brainwashed souls who look to him as their god and savior. He rules with savagery and keeps is subjects in tight order. But someone has had enough. Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) decides to use a standard fuel run as a possible means of escape for her and a handful of "breeders" that Joe keeps locked away for his own twisted purposes. But no one steals from Joe and soon Furiosa and a reluctant to get involved Max find themselves pedal to the metal across the desert with all sorts of mean and nasty vigilantes in pursuit.
It is hard to put into words how amazing this film looks and sounds. Miller shoots these films in a way that is unnervingly close and personal. The tight framing and saturation of tones give it a gritty and almost animated styling that is super sharp. Add that to break neck speed and tightly explosive action sequences and you get a masterpiece of chaos. The soundtrack includes chest pounding subsonic rumbles that almost shake your teeth loose. You will find it hard to breath at times.
Hardy is a decent Max but the star of this show truly is Furiosa. Her story is the most dramatic and has the most depth. It is her mission and she is the one with the motivation. Theron completely embodies the character and everything about her seems custom fit to the role. Even down to shaving her head. I think anyone could have pulled off Hardy's character here.
The wardrobe and mechanics of costumes create characters that seemed flushed from nightmare sewers. It is a blend of metal, steam punk, and venom. They are terrifying to look at. Then when you put them in the machinery they take on a form that is uniquely Mad Max. The cars and vehicles are almost characters themselves and the brilliant creativity that went in to making them should be award winning.
That's the good news. The bad news is that this is one twisted and sickening story line. The things that Joe has going on in his little compound is frankly a bit repulsive. This film pushes the envelope when it comes to graphic imagery and demented concepts. We understand the level of his depravity without having to actually see what we see. It can be eluded to with a bit more subtlety and still be an amazing thrill ride. The film lives and breathes in the chase and action scenes. Those have the same impact regardless of the other being there or not. Sure the repulsion may drive you to root more for Furiosa but honestly it wouldn't be missed.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is rated G. Just kidding.. It is rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images. This is hands down an adult film and one that is carved out for a select few who can stomach the themes and withstand the disturbing visuals. If all you care about is wall to wall fist pumping car chases with characters that are too crazy to be true then knock yourself out. I give it 3.75 out of 5 chastity belts. Simply because it is a fantastic companion tot he franchise. And not because I think we need to see some of the things that are here; and we sadly become desensitized to.