Reboots of properties from the 80s are a dime a dozen, but very rarely do we get reboots from the 80s with the same original director. Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott have been toying with some of their previous properties, but they are producing and directing so constantly that it’s not all that surprising. The original Mad Max film was released in 1979. Starring Mel Gibson and directed by George Miller, the film was a huge hit in Australia. However, it wasn’t until 2 years later with the release of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior that the franchise became a hit in the United States and made Mel Gibson a star. Miller directs Mad Max: Fury Road, and while Gibson has been replaced by Tom Hardy in the titular role, Fury Road stands on its own, so watching the originals is a reward rather than a prerequisite.
Early on in the film, Max says that he has “been reduced to a single instinct: Survive.” That’s the gist of the story. Sure, there are motivations for the characters to do the things they do, but for the most part, the film is 2 hours of watching the protagonists try to not die during epic fights and car chases. While this lack of a story might throw some people off, it works very well thematically, and allows the movie to focus on creating some incredible action sequences.
As far as action scenes go, Fury Road really raises the bar. The editing for this movie is absolutely astounding. The frame rate is manipulated very frequently to give the film a distinct style and make the action clear, despite the often fast cutting. A majority of the film takes place through various car chases, but the constant movement doesn’t get disorienting, and it doesn’t get boring. This is likely due to the brilliant cinematography, which makes the desert seem strangely beautiful, and captures the action marvelously without making you feel like you’re watching a movie. The movie also utilizes a lot of practical effects, which help avoid the tragic fate of looking like an animated film. Fury Road is super crazy, but you never feel alienated by the craziness. The insanity of it all just goes to serve the tone of the film.
The performances here are astoundingly good, far better than what you come to expect from an action film. While the film lacks a detailed plotline, the characters are all extremely well developed. Tom Hardy is so mesmerizing in the movie that you forget that he’s largely silent throughout. Charlize Theron commands the screen as Imperator Furiosa, and Nicholas Hoult is surprisingly affecting as Nux. I’d also be remiss not mention that Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played Toecutter in the original Mad Max, absolutely dominates on screen as Immortan Joe, the antagonist of the film.
Mad Max: Fury Road is one of those movies that I feel would get even better upon a second viewing. The first time you watch it, you’re engrossed in the huge spectacle of it all, and then when you watch it a second time, you know exactly what to expect. There’s a great energy behind this film that makes it incredibly fun to watch. If you’re at all interested in this movie, see it in theatres. It is worth your money to have that sort of an experience. 9/10.