Mad Max, Fury Road: The Valhalla of Action Movies

Score: 8.5/10

In case you were wondering which is Hollywood’s best action movie of 2015 – heck, maybe even one of the best since the turn of millennium – it’s Fury Road. Welcome back George Miller.

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In Norse mythology, Valhalla is a large, heavenly hall ruled by Odin.

Only it isn’t Odin. It’s George Miller, director extraordinaire.

Mad Max: Fury Road brings back Max Rockatansky – only this time, he isn’t Mel Gibson, but Tom Hardy. And if you thought George Miller couldn’t top his magnum opus that was Mad Max: Road Warrior… Fury Road turns out to be the real magnum opus.

And you know what’s the most ingenious part of Fury Road? Mad Max is almost a peripheral character. He’s not even the ‘hero’, to speak in Hollywood tropes. Otherwise George Miller would’ve named his action extravaganza Mad Max: Road Warrior: One More Time.

Instead, what we get is Fury, and she comes in the form of IMPERATOR FURIOSA – played by the one of the hottest and most capable actresses to come out of Hollywood – Charlize Theron. She’s the Road Warrior this time. From being the right-hand of the cruel IMMORTAN JOE – played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who incidentally played Toecutter in the first Mad Max movie – she becomes a symbol of rebellion and hope for Immortan Joe’s Breeders: his harem of 5 beautiful women, who he hopes will carry forward his bloodline. And one of them is actually pregnant.

That is the story in a nutshell – Imperator Furiosa’s trying to get these women as far away as possible from Immortan Joe in a post-apocalyptic Aussie wasteland, where fuel is scarce. And Mad Max just happens to be part of the action. Oh, he’s probably third in line in terms of badassery – there’s a guy who plays a flame-throwing guitar through most of the chase. His name is ComaDoof Warrior. And he’s the second most badass character in this movie, after Furiosa. Who plays a flame-throwing guitar while being strung from a monstrous Doof Wagon?

Is that all of it?

In terms of story, yes, that’s it.

But Mad Max isn’t just about a story, is it? What George Miller has done here is – he’s distilled an action movie down to the bare essentials and gives us a 2-hour adrenaline-filled car chase. It’s action, action and more action from Frame 1 till about Frame 99 (the last frame allows for a bit of breathing space). And it’s not brainless action – it’s an intelligent, thought-provoking action film, which is why it’s such a joy to watch.

Cinematographer: Best Actor in a Leading Role

Mad Max: Fury Road is a sight for sore eyes. It’s a resplendent melange of colours popping out from every possible inch of the big screen. John Seale captures intensity, emotion and atmospheric tension just by changing colour palettes and by making every frame look like a painting.

The Best Actor in a Supporting Role probably goes to Colin Gibson, who’s the Production Designer for Fury Road. Legend has it that George Miller told him to “Make it [the cars] cool, or I’ll kill you.” Guess he took that seriously then. Right from Max’s faithful Interceptor to Furiosa’s imperious War Rig, every machine looks mean, beautiful, and ready-to-kill. And they’re functional in real life.

All I’m going to say is – if you’ve missed this on the big screen, you’ve really missed one hell of an experience. It’s not your run-of-the-mill movie sir, and thanks to George Miller, we’re going to be raving about this for a long, long time to come.

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