George Miller returns to his beloved genre-defining franchise with this excellent fourth instalment. He re-defined the post-apocalyptic genre once with the first Mad Max, and he does so yet again with Fury Road. It’s a truly horrifying vision of a future where mankind has plummeted into a constant state of frenzied insanity.
Fury Road doesn’t carefully point out the intricacies of its plot, it smacks us in the face with them. It takes a skilled director to tell a story with so few words, but Miller does it with ease. The story is propelled forward by a series of increasingly impressive action scenes. It basically equates to one long chase sequence, but there’s more story crammed into one scene here than can be found in your average summer blockbuster.
Running from the inescapable horrors of his past, the mentally unstable Max is chased and eventually kidnapped by Nux (Nicholas Hoult), a hideously obsequious servant to ruthless dictator, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a trusted minion of Joe’s, defies her orders and makes a break for freedom. Nux, with Max still his captive, gives chase. What follows is an enthralling tale of shifting loyalties, dashed hopes and redemption.
It’s unusual for a titular character to be a supporting one, but that’s essentially what Max is. It’s a bold move by Miller but it works perfectly. Furiosa’s quest for redemption is the heart of the story, whereas Max provides a firm foundation for every other character to build from. Excellent performances abound, most notably from Hardy, Theron and Hoult.
A triumph of practical effects, Fury Road’s stunts are second to none. There is no obvious CGI, no gravity defying vehicular stunts, everything is visceral and shockingly authentic. George Miller has seemingly returned to the genre to show exactly how it should be done.
Although it may polarise opinions, Fury Road is an unforgettable, unrelenting action spectacular.