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FILM REVIEW: Mad Max Fury Road

Mad Max hangs, chained, upside down in some bleak, cavernous dungeon, following his persual and subsequent capture by a gang of crazed lunatics.

Charleze Theron (playing Imperator Furiosa), drives a customised big rig as part of the lunatics’ convoy, but she’s just taken an unscheduled turn off course and is making a break for it, destined for her childhood ‘Green Place,’ both for her benefit and for that of the group of scantily clad girls she’s secreted away from the clutches of their one, tyrannous husband and self-acclaimed people’s redeemer, Immortan Joe.

Both Furiosa and Max soon become reluctant partners and fugitives in crime, fleeing for their lives in Mad Max Fury Road (MMFR), the re-booted fourth instalment of the bizarre, post apocalyptic Mad Max franchise.

The film is well cast throughout, with Max, a loner of few words played here by Tom Hardy and he makes a good fist of things.

Along with Theron and then latterly, Nux (played by Nicholas Hoult), a somewhat misguided kid intent upon a glorious entrance into Valhalla, there are a number of ‘heroes’ to familiarise ourselves with and they’re all vying for our attention and that really is my main criticism of MMFR; there are just simply too many wannabe heroes. The lines are subsequently blurred between each and as a result, the film lacks a true focal point.

Director George Miller’s intentions here it seems was to come up with a raw, gritty, break-neck speed road movie with a poignant sub-text, but above all an invitation to buckle up and enjoy the white knuckle ride.

To a large degree, MMFR achieves much of this, it’s true, but ultimately what Miller has delivered is one hyper-extended chase scene and a rather flimsy plot. Admittedly the chase scenes are full throttle and nerve jangling, to such an extent infact that when the engines are briefly switched off in the film’s middle section and there’s a serious attempt at reflection and soul searching, it just feels clumsy and contrived and completely out of kilter with the rest of the film, as though someone’s accidentally pulled the plug out at a rave.

The engines weren’t the only things that switched off at that point.

It’s not all negativity though, there are indeed some great touches. The heavy metal, shredding guitar gimp, for example, (think Yngwie Malmsteem’s post-apocalyptic, mutant love child), strapped to the front of the mother of all Marshall stacks, strapped to the mother of all big rigs is inspired and it’s this kind of far-out bizarreness that MMFR aspires to achieve yet somehow, on reflection,  falls short of.

Don’t get me wrong, the whole concept is in many ways off its head, but for those of us of a certain age that remember the original trilogy and the truly bizarre blueprint that it laid out decades ago, it’s arguable that MMFR adds nothing new to the pot other than admittedly top-drawer and even more elaborate special effects.

MMFR is a sort of high-octane, mutant whacky races with thrills and spills aplenty and if you’re an adrenalin junky and that in itself is enough for you, then I imagine that MMFR is going to press all the right buttons.

 

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