Mad Max: Fury Road Blu-Ray Review

 

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Release: 5th October 2015
Cert: 15
Format: BR / DVD / DGTL

Haunted by his turbulent past, Mad Max believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. They are escaping a Citadel tyrannised by the Immortal Joe, from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the Warlord marshals all his gangs and pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows.

 

To say that Mad Max: Fury Road is an intense experience would be to seriously overstate the obvious. Once you move past the mania and peel back that chaos, however, you have a rather enjoyable yet pulpy action movie about religion, humanity, the distribution of wealth and femininity.

Fury Road pulses and roars as if possessed by a demon, but there is a kind of beauty to director George Miller’s unified vision. Admittedly that beauty is more in a poetic than visual sense. After all, between Immortan Joe’s scabby back, the rotting Warboys and a plethora of sideshow goons, Miller’s dystopian wasteland is damn near vomit inducing. No, Fury Road’s beauty rests in its intoxicating rhythms and cohesive environment. Look at what Peter Jackson did with Lord of the Rings or what Warner Bros did with Harry Potter, and you’ll find that Mad Max’s ever-expanding world is just as dense and tangible.

The selling point for Fury Road is not its insanity or its plot, but rather its deluge of action scenes. Clocking in at 2 hours long, Fury Road devotes at least two-thirds of that time to car chases and things generally going ‘boom’. So if it’s action you are after, then hold on to your hat because Fury Road is a wild ride indeed.

Taking the mantle from Mel Gibson as the new Max, Tom Hardy makes easy work of grunting and glaring his way through most scenes. In fact, it is hard to think of another actor in Hardy’s generation who could slip into the role so effortlessly. He brings humanity and credibility to a character who could so easily dissolve into farce. Charlize Theron is immensely badass as Furiosa. We are talking Ellen Ripley / Sarah Connor badass here; so that can only be a good thing. Personally, I’d like to see a Furiosa spin-off franchise. The gaggle of Immortan Joe’s ‘prize breeders’ function more as a unified three-dimensional character, instead of five separate people. Splendid and her ‘sisters’ seem central to Miller’s theme about the strength of women (most female characters in this world are strong and ‘good’), but it is only truly Riley Keough who gets to poke her head above the parapet and claim some decent screen time. The same goes for Joe and his Warboys (as a whole they work, but individually they are just desert gargoyles….even you Doof Warrior!)

Fury Road is true cinema Marmite. You’ll watch it 100 times or you’ll switch off after ten minutes. Either way, you’ll be discussing it for weeks after. What a lovely day, indeed.

Film Grade: B

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Special Features:
Fury Road comes with a reasonable clump of features that although short in runtime, manage to provide a reasonable overview of the film and its journey to the screen. Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road is the sort of ‘grandaddy’ of the group, proving to hold footage from pretty everything which follows. We learn that George Miller storyboarded the whole film, that tough times were had on set, and that Tom Hardy laughs a little bit like Ricky Gervais. The other short features are a mixture of insightful tidbits (Mad Max: Fury on Four Wheels), thinly veiled confessions of on set tensions (The Road Warriors: Max & Furiosa), odes to George Miller’s thorough eye and penchant for doll heads (Tools of the Wasteland) and a pat on the head for the five actresses who felt noticeably sidelined; with only one scene of note in the whole movie (The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome).

The Deleted Scenes are an odd bunch. With a heady count of three, they would have added very little to the overall film and rightfully saw the cutting room floor. However, one scene in particular DOES reveal the final fate of the tattooed old lady.

Finally is the Fury Road: Crash & Smash feature. This is essentially a chance to reinforce, yet again, that most of the film’s stunt were real. It’s all footage we’ve seen in the other special features, but it’s still nice to see the sheer insanity on display. This feature also hammers home just how amazing it is the Miller managed to stitch everything together is such a way as he did. Truly inspiring.

Special Features Grade: C-

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Summary:
Fury Road is at the very least a breath of fresh air that demands repeat viewings. It looks as glorious as ever on Blu-Ray, and will be a worthy addition to any collection.  Despite it’s flaws, there is something about Fury Road that refuses to leave you, and this can only be a good thing. With a decent yet so-so collection of special features, one cannot help but feel that the film has been short changed in its delivery to the home entertainment market. With a piece of cinema this insane and outrageous, there is at least space here for a more detailed exploration of its evolution and eventual production.

Overall Grade: B-

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