Saturday, May 16, 2015

Film Review - Mad Max Fury Road (2015)

Mad Max Fury Road is the fourth film in the Mad Max series and is directed by George Miller but this time Tom Hardy takes on the role of Max instead of Mel Gibson, the story this time sees Max captured by the War Boys of the overlord Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne who also played the Toecutter in the first Mad Max film) but secretly his Rig Driver Furiosa (Charlize Theron) smuggles his 5 wives (Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee and Courtney Eaton) away from his fortress and to the land of Green where they can be safe but Joe vows to pursue them across the wasteland.

I am a massive fan of the first two Mad Max films, their energy, imagination, storytelling and performances all blew me away and both films also had that very real Dinki Di true blue Australian feel to them but alas the third film in the series 1985's Beyond Thunderdome did not work very well for me and this new movie Fury Road has been a long time in the making and the first attempt WAS going to see Gibson reprise his role but alas that fell through and Gibson declined to return and now Hardy has taken his place plus the previews for this film left me feeling very skeptical about it.

But could this film actually deliver the goods for me or would it just be proof that we didn't really need another hero.

Well actually it was just okay for me, don't get me wrong I liked the film and do think it's well done but this was also a case for me where what worked really did work and what didn't badly misfired:

- First off the stuntwork and the action sequences are amazing to watch as like Mad Max 2 (which this film has the inspiration of running all throughout it) it really does feel like these trucks and cars and bikes are smashing into each other at high speed and some of those smashes really do make your jaw drop.

- The second is that the performances for the most part are pretty good, Theron invests a lot into her role of Furiosa and it was nice to see her back on form after a few misfires in recent years, I liked also the group of wives I thought they worked nicely together as a group and I also liked seeing Josh Helman and Nicholas Hoult as two rival War Boys plus we get to see a group of kick ass warrior women led by Megan Gale who shows what she might have done as Wonder Woman in George Miller's aborted Justice League film.

But alas as good as those points are there are some major negatives to counteract it:

- The first of those is indeed the feel of the film itself and frankly it doesn't really feel like a Mad Max film to me it feels more like one of the knockoff films the US, the UK, the Italians and a lot of other countries tried to make after the success of the first two films at the international box office and given how important that classic Australian feel was to Mad Max 1 and 2 to not have that feeling here just took a lot of the flavour out for me.

- The next one and it is massive for me and it has to be Hardy himself, I'm sorry but every time he was on screen I just kept missing Gibson as all Hardy does is mumble his lines through first a pretty bad Australian accent and then in his native British tongue and even then he just mumbled or grunted a lot of his lines and I just kept thinking to myself "I miss Mel Gibson" and that feeling hasn't changed and I think also that this is a danger for when a new Indiana Jones is chosen as Harrison Ford IS Indiana Jones and these roles are not like the comic books where it's a literary character and it doesn't really matter, Ford and Gibson originated those roles and without them then their respective franchises should be allowed to retire.

- And lastly the film did have that "more of the same" feeling in that Max is out in the desert and there's a powerful warlord who wants a precious substance and everyone chases the big truck with the substance and to be honest Mad Max 2 did this better for me and this time when I started to think about the film more after coming out of the cinema that feeling came to mind.

And so that is my review of Mad Max Fury Road which despite my skepticism I did like but it also has some big flaws in my mind but still as an action thrill ride I recommend it but with the warning to say to keep a check on your expectations for it, 3 out of 5.

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