Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road (Dr George Miller, 2016) wr. Dr George Miller, Nick Lathouris, Brendan McCarthy; Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Megan Gale, Courtney Eaton; filming 2012 Namibia, Sydney; Cannes

The fourth movie in the franchise follows Mad Max (Tom Hardy) as he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the wasteland in a war rig driven by Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). The mob has escaped a citadel tyrannized by the Immortan Joe, played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who was the Toecutter in the first Mad Max.

Mad Max: Fury Road is a masterpiece of kinetic action and screen dynamics that will be hard to top. The audience at last night's premiere frequently roared their approval. I've known George Miller since Mad Max 1 (1977), when he hired Grant Page, Australia's pioneer stuntman, who's career I managed in those days. George's signature low angle pulse pounding mount shots and wide angle tableaux bursting with complex action choreography reaches its zenith in Fury Road. He uses very little CGI, more for enhancement than creating the impossible as per the current crop of soulless superhero movies. In Fury Road, you know the colliding flipping vehicular mayhem is REAL! In the close quarter combat scenes, he avoids the style du jour - a disjunctive blizzard of tight shots - in favor of giving the audience the geography of the fight, so the tight shots have more relevance and impact when they come. Again, making it REAL. All aided by the superb photography of John Seale, (another old friend - BMX Bandits) who came out of retirement and shot digital for the first time. And what a feast for the eye he delivers. Amazing stunt choreography by 2nd Unit director Guy Norris ( also an old friend - Dead End Drive In). All in all, Fury Road is another triumph of Australian Cinema craftsmanship. We were guests of old friends Hugh Keays-Bryne & Christina Ferguson. Hugh played undercover narc Morrie Grosse in my Man From Hong Kong in '74. Then the Toe Cutter in Mad Max 1. Here he excels as the warlord Imortan Joe, providing a worthy opponent to Max and Imperator Furiosa. Actually Imperatrix would be correct Latin, but that's my only nit pick on Fury Road ... Brian Trenchard-Smith, Facebook

That adjective in the title is accurate. Extravagantly deranged, ear-splittingly cacophonous, and entirely over the top, George Miller has revived his Mad Max punk-western franchise as a bizarre convoy chase action-thriller in the post-apocalyptic desert. There are what seem to be dozens of huge rigs and chunky 18-wheelers driven by large, cross men with long hair and bad teeth, or no hair and no teeth, their rides pimped out with skulls and other badass accessories. Some of these assault vehicles have permanent armies of drummers on board, thumping belligerently and rhythmically away, creating the kind of scary and upsetting noise usually only heard on the streets of the Edinburgh festival. Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

One could plausibly observe that Fury Road is basically The Road Warrior on a new generation of steroids, and no doubt some critics will leave it at that; like the second and best film in the series, this one is mostly devoted to maniacal anarchic goons chasing Max and his small group of rebels across a scenically parched desert and leaving some spectacularly destroyed vehicles in their dust. The new film certainly boasts a higher percentage of flat-out amazing action than any of its predecessors, and that's probably enough said for most of its potential audience. Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter


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