Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.
Thirty years and one Tina Turner later, Max finally returns to our cinema screens - once again helmed by creator and auteur George Miller.
But not only is Max back, he is blazing that trail in style. Mad Max: Fury Road showcases what the future of modern action movies should aspire to be.
Taking over from the stalwart Mel Gibson is newcomer Tom Hardy, as the titular character Max Rockatansky - wandering the desert in his
iconic V8; haunted by the ghosts of his dead wife and child - themselves murdered by scavengers in this austere landscape.
Though some slight changes have been made within the origin of this Ďrebootí - Mad Max: Fury Road very easily fits right into the universe -
and without George Miller specifically making the distinction, it could very well take place after Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
For those unaware, the universe of Mad Max is set in a post-apocalyptic future; as thermonuclear war has devastated the planet, and those that
remain on the dustbowl are either irradiated, fighting for scraps from whatís left of this world or both.
Max was once something akin to a Police officer within this anarchy, protecting his small community from those that wished them harm and plunder
their resources. After the loss of his wife and child, he now traverses these harsh plains as a nomad - trying to survive just like everyone else.
And itís here that Mad Max: Fury Road begins, chewing on a polycephaly lizard whilst the fiery orange tones of the wasteland pierce the
viewer's eyeballs; those same warm colours remaining consistent throughout all the daytime shots, in stark contrast to the cool blues that
proceed the night - it looks fantastic on film and captures the two distinct moods completely - at odds with the more common use of saturated
colour palettes in modern films.
Chased down and captured by scavengers, Max is taken to the Citadel - branded a universal donor - and
referred to as a blood bag by Nux (Nicholas Hoult) - a half-life War Boy - given their names not only due to their short lifespans - from
the tumours coursing through their bodies - but also their insistent kamikaze mindset, indoctrinated into believing they will be reborn in
Valhalla - if they please their God of course.
And that God is Immortan Joe, perfectly encapsulated by Hugh Keays-Byrne who makes his triumphant return to Mad Max,
after starring in the original as main villain Toecutter. If there was ever an on-screen presence that instantly read villain
to the naked eye - it would be Immortan Joe - with his wild white hair and breathing apparatus in the shape of a human skull -
he makes Bane look like a pussy-cat.
Lording over his citizens - giving us a glimpse of scale that Beyond Thunderdome could only
dream of - with his vast reservoirs of water that he hoards, allowing his denizens just a taste of, to keep under thumb.
Itís here we also get to see Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) sporting a shaved head, mechanical arm and marked with the same brand Max now bears -
leaving us to only dream of what kind of circumstances she must of gone through, to rise through the ranks of where she now sits. Tasked by Immortan
Joe with a supply run to the amply named Bullet Farm and Gas Town, Furiosa goes off track - causing Immortan Joe to rally his war party and take
chase - with Max in tow of course.
What follows is a two hour blazing inferno of non-stop carnage and death. Mad Max: Fury Road is very similar tonally to Road Warrior,
giving us those iconic chase scenes of old, but this time on a scale and budget we have never witnessed within a film before.
Following suit with all the previous Mad Max films, everything that could be done through practical effects is; leading us to witness
the prowess of the most insane stunt team in the world - crashes decorated with explosions and bodies flying everywhere like a calling
card, itís a neverending visual feast that truly has to be seen, to be believed.
Itís only when the action subdues that the realisation dawns - it was one long inter-connected high speed action shot, that lasted over thirty minutes -
and then it ramps you up for the next one. Miller and his team worked from storyboards rather than scripts and it shows, any storytelling that
needs to be told within Mad Max: Fury Road, is done so visually - and itís never been done better.
But what truly heightens that action is the musical score, setting the pace of the entire film. Working in complete tandem - the visuals
and sound harmonise into perfection - building up with classical overtones and then blurting out the heavy metal when things truly go crazy.
If that wasnít enough they saw fit to include musicians within Immortan Joeís war party itself. With the in-house flamethrower-wielding
guitar player - who is worth price of admission alone - working with the drummers side-by-side to the overlayed musical track; it is something
I have never seen been done before, but it works beautifully.
And if that wasnít enough, the ensemble also becomes a kind of impending doom - from the point of view of Furiosa and Max - as we quietly hear
the pounding drums and guitar riffs slowly erupt from the horizon into fruition. Mad Max: Fury Road is jam-packed with excellent
ideas and decision making all around, truly creating a modern masterpiece.
And like the topping on a cake, die-hard Mad Max fans will be happy to know that not only are there plenty of easter-eggs and gentle nods to the
previous films, but George Miller has even adopted the visual style. From the slight fast-forwards - far more skillfully done after three decades
of experience - to the off-center angle views, its all here and youíll never be happier to be back in this world.
The lore likewise is still as odd as ever, with the nomadic tribes all emulating remnants of mundane creations from the old world, thrown together like
a bizarre amalgamated pic-n-mix. Miller has had plenty of time to ponder his creation and he has truly thought of everything - itís the kind of film
will undoubtedly inspire future filmmakers, revealing what is truly possible with enough imagination.
Ultimately the question isnít should you go watch Mad Max: Fury Road, itís when are you going back again? Like a rollercoaster the entire film
is a thrill-ride, and once it all ends and those credits roll, you will be wanting to get back in line for another go.
Mad Max: Fury Road is currently available to buy on Blu-ray & DVD via Amazon or on-demand via Amazon Video.
23rd May 2015
- 5 Out of 5 Stars