Sunday, August 30, 2015

Video review: "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Twice in my life I’ve anticipated a movie that I knew I was either going to love or hate, because of a deep personal connection with the source material. The first time was “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” based on my favorite novel. This year it was “Mad Max: Fury Road,” a sorta-sequel to 1985’s “The Road Warrior,” a cherished cinematic touchstone.

Luckily, in both cases my fears were unfounded, the movies magnificent.

“Fury Road” is set in post-apocalyptic Australia, portrayed here as a shriveled, hardpan desolation of greed, death and human suffering. Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is an ex-cop just trying to survive and make sense out of why he wants to.

Captured by the despotic local warlord, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), Max finds himself thrown in with a group of women escaping his clutches, led by the fierce one-armed lieutenant, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). They’ve liberated a giant “war rig” and are steering it toward a fabled “green place” somewhere in the east.

It’s essentially one long chase scene, with Joe’s braying, death-obsessed War Boys nipping at their heels, along with a few other various mongrel clans. It’s an orgy of car crashes and death-defying stunts, carried out with minimal assistance from computer-generated imagery.

The action is just jaw-dropping in its spectacle and intensity.

Along the way, Max and Furiosa learn to trust – or at least tolerate – each other’s presence. And Nicholas Hoult has a surprisingly touching role as Nux, a fading War Boy who finds himself disillusioned by his short life of deity worship for Immortan Joe, a decrepit figure held together by his armor and the cult of personality he’s cultivated over the years.

Brutish and thrilling, “Mad Max: Fury Road” proves you can go home again.

Bonus features, which are the same for DVD and Blu-ray versions, included some deleted scenes and a good spectrum of making-of featurettes. Titles include “Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road,” “Mad Max: Fury on Four Wheels,” “The Road Warriors: Max and Furiosa,” “The Tools of the Wasteland,” “The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome” and “Fury Road: Crash & Smash.”



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