Film review: Mad Max: Fury Road – Absolutely breath-taking

2015 is the year of the reboot and the sequel. With Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron proving that well-established brands sell tickets and Jurassic World coming next month, it’s shaping up to be one of the best summer seasons in recent history.

One series also not escaping the reboot is George Miller’s Mad Max – and after a 30 year break since its predecessor, expectations are high for Fury Road. But does it hold a candle to what came before it?

Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Photo by Jasin Boland / Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Photo by Jasin Boland / Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

Fury Road sees Tom Hardy taking over from Mel Gibson in the iconic role of Max with Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult making up the main body of the cast as Imperator Furiosa and Nux respectively.

The film follows the characters as they try to evade the wrath of their tyrannical leader King Immortan Joe and features all the thrills and spills the series has become known for.

However, what makes this sequel different to its predecessors is the vehicular action, and the volume, is turned up to 11. Miller crams thousands of practical effects into a breath-taking film that features some of the most beautiful cinematography ever brought to the silvery screen.

The baron post-apocalyptic Australian landscape is stunning in its simplicity with sand dunes and flat plains dominating the sweeping shots that utilise the vast locations perfectly.

Junkie XL’s exceptional score is one of the best I’ve heard in years and the orchestral sequences in particular work so well with the metal on metal carnage throughout the film.

Each of the actors gets stuck into their roles and despite Hardy’s lack of actual speech, his presence is felt throughout – much like his characterisation of Bane in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.

Theron is as excellent as ever but the real praise here should be given to Nicholas Hoult. It’s hard to believe this young British actor started out as a quirky pre-pubescent teen in About a Boy. From X-Men: Days of Future Past to his role here, he continuously shows what a brilliant home-grown talent he is.

Moreover, the lack of CGI brings a decidedly old-school feel to the entire production that only adds to its quirky, unique charm. Miller uses, wherever possible, a series of practical stunts that look incredibly real – simply because they are. It’s a nice change from the computer generated imagery that plagues the majority of blockbusters nowadays.

Nevertheless, it’s rumoured that Miller shot over 400 hours of footage for this $150m box-office behemoth and needed to cut the film down massively. This has meant that despite not being overblown, a run-time of 120 minutes is average, Fury Road does get repetitive after the novelty of the film’s unusual style wears off.

It’s also a shame to say that not a lot actually happens. Yes, the actors are all on-point and the plot is intriguing, but coming out of the cinema once the explosions have died down shows that behind all this, there isn’t really that much going on.

Overall, Mad Max: Fury Road is definitely worth the 30 year wait with Tom Hardy proving he can step into Mel Gibson’s well-worn shoes with ease. Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult are both excellent and Miller’s direction is absolutely mesmerising.

Unfortunately, the repetitive plot and lack of deeper story stops it from achieving perfection – but it’s close.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Rating – 8.5/10