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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Mad Max: Fury Road | Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Nicholas Hoult | Review

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3sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCRE Judy Thorburn

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3lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCRE

 

Mad Max: Fury Road

Australian director George Miller, who cowrote the script with Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris and Eric Blakeney, brings Mad Max back to the screen thirty years after the last installment of the trilogy, Beyond Thunderdome, was released. In this re-imagined reboot to the series, Mel Gibson is nowhere in sight (not even in a cameo). Taking over the role of Mad Max is the terrific actor, Tom Hardy, although, truth be told, his Max is more of a supporting character, with little dialogue, whose actions speak louder than words.  The film's real star is Charlize Theron.  She dominates the screen, and is excellent as the smart, strong, kick ass, as well as  compassionate, female warrior, Furiousa.  In fact, because of what the movie entails, the film could have easily been titled, Fast and Furiousa.

For those who haven't seen the previous installments, this reboot can be considered a stand alone film. What little backstory given is narrated by Max Rockatansky (Hardy) a former cop, turned loner, wandering in the desert wasteland, reduced to a single instinct - survival, and haunted by visions of his late wife and young daughter that he was unable to save.
Set in a post apocalyptic world where the resources are scarce and scavengers, biker gangs and mutant inhabitants are on the prowl, maniacal warlord Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who was in the original Mad Max) rules his desert kingdom, the Citadel, where he controls the water supply for his enslaved people.

Before too long, Max is captured by a gang of Joe's War Boys who torture, shave, tattoo and then  hang him upside down for use as a human intravenous “blood bag” for Nux (Nicholas Hoult), one of the radiation poisoned War Boys, before being strapped to the front of a speeding car as a human hood ornament.  After eventually escaping, Max teams up with the one armed Imperator Furiosa (Theron), who has broken away from her tyrannical, sadistic ruler and fled with his five sexually exploited “breeder wives” (played by Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Zoe Kravitz, Abbie Lee, Courtney Eaton, and Elvis' granddaughter, Riley Keough) in a heavily-armored truck.

A violent chase ensues across the barren landscape to stop Furiosa in her attempt to reach freedom, her childhood homeland and for personal redemption.  In hot pursuit and promising to return the women to their “master” is Nux,  desperate to get in the good graces of the ruler he worships and wants to serve, and driven by the delusional belief that he will be rewarded by walking with the great heroes, ushered to the gates of Valhalla and attain immortality.

Be prepared to hold on tight for one long, wild and crazy roller coaster ride filled with violence, explosions and carnage at every turn. Miller goes full throttle, crafting relentless, over the top, high octane action sequences where trucks, rigs, motorcycles and bodies fly through the air in a sort of weird, mind blowing ballet, accompanied by a pumped up, loud music soundtrack by Junk XL.  Only here can you see pursuing war parties featuring a blind, crazed solo guitarist playing a flame throwing double necked electric guitar on the front platform of one rig, and be witness to another speeding vehicle where the Pole Cats, men atop 30 foot high arcing poles launch themselves in the air for an attack. Picture a combination of Monster Trucks, Fast and Furious, a heavy metal rock concert, and a pinch of Cirque du Soleil, and you get the idea.

No doubt, this is a chase adventure like anything movie audiences have ever before experienced and Miller takes it to a new level including spectacular staging, choreographed stunts, costume and production design and a stunning visual style.  There are few CGI effects, and most of what we see is real and splendidly executed.

Unfortunately, with the emphasis on non stop action, cohesive plot elements have been sacrificed.  After a while, the action got too repetitive for me and I wanted more substance. That isn't to say ardent Mad Max fans and/or action junkies always looking for more exciting, grander thrills and an adrenaline rush, won't love it.  This new installment should satisfy their expectations and then some.

 

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