Director George Miller Starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, Nathan Jones, Josh Helman

As of writing this I’ve not seen three of the four films in the Mad Max series. As a film buff you could say that’s sacrilege and as an Australian you could say it’s unpatriotic but it’s true; I’ve never seen any of the Mel Gibson trilogy. For whatever reason they’ve just not jumped out at me but at the same time I’ve heard so much about them because they’re so ingrained in pop culture that when I see of hear anything that’s related to George Miller’s films I instantly know the source. In a way I feel I practically know the films, I just haven’t experienced them.

To be honest, my early impressions of Fury Road weren’t all that warm, but when I saw the mass critical acclaim it was receiving I knew I had to see this thing for myself. How often is the fourth film in a series considered just as good as the original released over thirty years earlier? So I was in the minority of film critics who went into Fury Road as my first Mad Max experience, and I learned very quickly that they are very much an acquired taste but they are still one hell of an experience.

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Fury Road plays out much like I would assume a Mad Max film would. Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) wanders aimlessly through The Wasteland, Australian’s dystopian future, doing good deeds but forever a broken man thanks to all this world has taken from him.

After being captured by the War Boys, a cult lead by King Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), and used as a blood donor he crosses paths with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a War Boy who has absconded with King Joe’s five ‘wives’ (five women who are specially selected for breeding) and is smuggling them to her fabled homeland, the Green Place. But they’ve got a whole lot of desert to cross and some not-so friendly natives to contend with as well as Joe’s huge convoy chasing them down.

But other than that it’s all smooth sailing…

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That’s really about it when it comes to the premise. Fury Road is one big action-packed thrill ride full of smartly choreographed fight scenes and oh so many car wrecks, and every one of them is shot perfectly. The acting is a bit shoddy, but I have to give credit to Hardy and Theron. They still managed to carry this film right through to the very end, and though the majority of the cast had a single one-dimensional role to play they each added something to the piece that made it that much better.

I truly admire George Miller’s tenacity, I’ve never seen anything like this before, and from the little I’ve seen of the original Mad Max it looks like he’s just picked up where he left off but with the amps turned to eleven.

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This was one of the strangest cinematic experiences I have ever seen. It has its weaknesses but that may be due to my unfamiliarity of the series, which I can’t hold against the film because that’s my shortcoming. It’s also probably why I have very little to prattle on about; I haven’t got the other films in the series on which I can draw a comparison.

Miller really has the best of both worlds with Fury Road. It’s his tried-and-true method of action film making, so the regulars will return for a fourth outing, but he’ll attract a whole new generation (or generations, it’s been that long) of fans thanks to this a really solid action flick worthy of praise. I’m living proof, because Fury Road has sparked my interest, which is exactly what Miller set out to do.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and acquaint myself with a man named Mad Max.

MRD 8 of 10

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