Mad Max: Fury Road

Apoc­a­lyp­tic Gear

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Cinema -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

15 | 120 min­utes Direc­tor: Ge­orge Miller Cast: Tom Hardy, Char­l­ize Theron, Ni­cholas Hoult, Rosie Hunt­ing­ton- White­ley, Zoe Kravitz, Hugh Keays- Byrne

Bonkers is not a

de­scrip­tion you of­ten get to ap­ply to filthy, dust storm- rav­aged tales of post- apoc­a­lyp­tic waste­lands and the peo­ple who live there, but in the hands of Mad Max direc­tor Ge­orge Miller, it’s be­come an apt one as this fran­chise has mo­tored along to in­creas­ingly sur­real places.

Now, 30 years since he went Be­yond Thun­der­dome, Max is back. Or, more ac­cu­rately, a “new in­ter­pre­ta­tion” ( Miller’s de­scrip­tion) is, with Tom Hardy as­say­ing a slightly dif­fer­ent take on the char­ac­ter than Mel Gibson’s Max Rock­as­tan­sky. Hardy’s ver­sion is even more feral, though haunted by sim­i­lar ghosts of peo­ple he couldn’t save. Twitchy, gut­tural and still driven by the need for sur­vival, this Max faces an even more bizarre, bar­ren world, al­beit one that should be familiar to those who have watched the other movies.

Fury Road is one, long in­tense chase scene, bro­ken up by brief breathers to let char­ac­ters re­coup. Max is cap­tured by the War Boys, a sav­age cult that comes across like a Slip­knot gig crossed with the kid from 1995’ s Pow­der cranked up to an in­sane de­gree, led by the wheez­ing, despotic Im­mor­tan Joe ( Hugh Keays- Byrne). His is a so­ci­ety where those not cho­sen to live and serve along­side him must plead for the wa­ter he pro­vides. The War Boys them­selves are fa­nat­ics, driven by the prom­ise of com­bat and glory, crazed and chaotic. And the women in his life are ei­ther there to serve as po­ten­tial moth­ers for what he hopes will be a pure set of chil­dren to start drag­ging hu­man­ity from its ru­ined state, or milk fac­to­ries. One ma­jor ex­cep­tion is Im­per­a­tor Fu­riosa ( Char­l­ize Theron), who has plans of her own to es­cape and take Joe’s “wives” with him. Theron holds her own against the men, prov­ing just as badass as any­one – even with one arm sup­planted by a metal­lic tool.

Miller, his co- writ­ers Bren­dan McCarthy and Nick Lathouris, and the stunt/ spe­cial ef­fects teams con­jure up all man­ner of crazed set­pieces as Joe chases down the des­per­ate women. There’s an im­pres­sive com­mit­ment to largely prac­ti­cal work here, with lit­tle in the way of dig­i­tal trick­ery when it comes to the driv­ing scenes. He’s also amped up the hy­per- real feel with dif­fer­ent cam­era speeds, leav­ing you dizzy at times, which is quite an achieve­ment in an era where block­busters rou­tinely try to im­press but come away lack­ing some­thing. The film’s also beau­ti­ful to look at, with scorched or­ange waste­lands dur­ing the day turn­ing cool blue at night.

If there’s a down­side to the propul­sive ac­tion, it’s that Fury Road doesn’t al­ways feel like a com­pletely co­he­sive film – and the story isn’t ex­actly the most sat­is­fy­ing of nar­ra­tives, more the hook for the mo­torised insanity. And for all that he takes it to the Max, Hardy never quite makes the same im­pres­sion as Gibson did back in the ’ 80s. That’s partly be­cause Max feels a lit­tle swept up in things in­stead of driv­ing the ac­tion ( pun in­tended, be­cause he does a lot of driv­ing), and even as his early fe­roc­ity gives way to a more mea­sured ap­proach later on, it’s tough to com­pletely feel for him. Still, Hardy gives it his all, growl­ing in a voice that shifts be­tween Aussie, Bane- like depth and some­thing an­i­mal­is­tic. Ni­cholas Hoult, mean­while, has a fine old time as Nux, a War Boy with big dreams of dy­ing a glo­ri­ous death who be­comes en­tan­gled with Fu­riosa and her mission, and learns that not ev­ery­thing re­volves around be­ing a white­washed, brain­washed lu­natic.

The direc­tor has man­aged quite the feat here – he’s chan­nelled the spirit of the first three films while turn­ing up the in­ten­sity, mak­ing the most of an en­larged scope and keep­ing Tina Turner well away. Mod­ern au­di­ences are used to spec­ta­cle, but we can guar­an­tee that you won’t see any­thing else quite like this at the cinema this year. James White The film was sup­posed to start shoot­ing in 2003, but was put on hold un­til 2009 over se­cu­rity con­cerns in Namibia.

The bungee jump went hor­ri­bly wrong.

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