There was a lot of buildup for this new installment in the Mad Mad franchise. I recall sneaking into Road Warrior as a kid and being blown away (and frankly scared of being caught). It was probably the first glimpse I got of an apocalyptic vision since V hadn’t aired yet and I was only like 12 or 13. OK, well I had read Lord of the Rings, but that was pure fantasy, whereas this was a projected Australian landscape. Anyway, I was impressed with Mel Gibson and the cars and all the action (although I was way too young for the violence against women in that movie). Mad Max, the first one, was actually released after Max Max in the US as I recall and I only saw it years later. I believe it was inferior in production values and acting to Road Warrior. I think I can skip over the regrettable Tina Turner vehicle and come to the present Fury Road. I think it was a good sort of reboot of the Road Warrior story if a bit more optimist.
Fury Road starts out with a roar and the adrenalin pumps for about 3/4 of the film. It has a few slower moments and it comes close to the edge on pathos but pulls back just in time to satisfy our lust for speed and grinding metal (I loved the dude playing guitar strapped to one of the War Boys rigs – kick ass!). The cars were apparently all real as the director and staff tried to avoid CG as much as possible. I thought the cinematography was splendid – the shots in the desert and most specially the awesome sandstorm was absolutely gorgeous. The palette goes from green-yellow to yellow-red to blue to blue-grey and back to yellow-red and green-yellow at the end so it is interesting that the colors follow the story arc a bit.
As for the acting, either (a) he was a bit shy about acting in Gibson’s shadow (b) the part was poorly written or (c) Tom Hardy is not a great multi-faceted actor because I found his performance fell very flat with an emotional spectrum limited to sad and, well, mad. Contrast that with the amazing and powerful Charlize Theron (badass steering wheel grease on the forehead and all!) who carries the film start to finish with compelling acting, great lines and expressions, and just generally being a total boss. Her stunts were awesome. And for once, we did not get the typical Hollywood ending – OK, no spoilers but the final scene was very satisfying to me.
It has been out for a while now so you don’t have to mess with lines, so head out and see this one on a HUGE screen with MASSIVE sound and you will not be disappointed. Your eyes and ears will bleed and you will love it! 🙂