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MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
3D Blu-ray Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton
Director: George Miller
Audio: Dolby Atmos 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 120 Minutes
Release Date: September 1, 2015

I am the one who runs from both the living AND the dead.”

Film ****

It’s always invigorating to experience a film these days that can serve as a redefining of a particular genre. It’s even more invigorating when the genre in question is that of action. And trust me when I say that’s even WAY more invigorating when said movie happens to be the newest installment in one of the greatest action movie franchises to ever exist; Mad Max.

There are only a handful of action movie series that have stuck with me since my youthful days. Among them were Indiana Jones, Die Hard and the James Bond series. But in terms of a series of movies that stood apart from the rest and operated on a whole other type of filmmaking extremes, it never got any better than the Mad Max series. Even at an age when I hadn’t yet appreciated filmmaking as I would later in life, I knew there was something particularly remarkable about the series of post apocalyptic movies that visionary director George Miller had created.

I can still remember first watching the 1979 original movie and feeling that initial bolt of adrenaline that was present from the opening scene until the final frame. I can also remember first seeing its follow up, The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2), and realizing that sequels could be even more outstanding than its predecessor, though we all know that happens every once in a blue moon. I also hold that sequel in high regard as one of the flat out greatest action movies EVER, knowing good and well that no future movie in this or any other series could surpass it.

Earlier this year, I was proven wrong…

I don’t know how Miller did it, other than a thirty year break from the series may have helped, but his retooling of his apocalyptic wasteland saga in the form of Mad Max: Fury Road truly one upped this audacious action movie series in every unimaginable way in existence. Not only is it the best installment in this series, but it now serves as the standard for which all future movies of this ilk will be measured up to, in addition to The Raid 2. It also establishes a grand example of how true action filmmaking should be executed, as so much of what is offered in this genre lately seems to be dominated by CG overdose.

The story continues the haunted path for the title character (with Tom Hardy making a more than fitting replacement for Mel Gibson), who now finds himself held captive amongst another crazed race of beings known as the War Boys. The tyrannical leader of this gang, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who also played the villainous Toecutter in the original movie), controls the most prized possession of all, water, and therefore controls the people. He is also obsessed with clean offspring, for which he has enslaved a number of females (or “breeders”) to provide.

As it turns out, those very breeders have been stored in a tanker truck and set free with the help of a strong-willed woman named Furiosa (Charlize Theron). Once Joe learns of this, he rounds up all of his clan and launches death-defying pursuit across the desert wasteland to retrieve his property. It is during this pursuit where Max, at first tied to the front of a car as a vehicular slave to his captors, will eventually cross paths with Furiosa and become an unlikely savior.

This is one movie that barely takes time to breath in between the monumentally jaw dropping action sequences, which are a treat for all the senses. Just the establishing shots of the endless army of vehicles storming the desert landscape will garner a reaction. And when the damage and body count start to pile up, as real bodies appear to fly in the air following one deathly collision after another, expect to have even bigger reactions!

Words simply cannot do this gargantuan experience of a movie justice! Mad Max: Fury Road is nothing short of a watershed action movie. The amazing action, almost completely ridden of CG, and the breakneck pace combined with the physical and dynamic performances from Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, who makes for one of the all time best badass female characters, along with the astounding level of filmmaking delivered by George Miller, make this a must see experience for true action lovers! It is also currently standing as my choice for the Best Movie of the year!

Video ****

And the praise doesn’t end there, my friends! Warner has indeed crafted what is sure to be the best looking Blu-ray release of the year! The Blu-ray 3D version boasts some knockout effects that will definitely have you ducking at some parts (I did on several occasions), and the 2D presentation offers some of the most amazing picture and color quality I’ve seen since the inception of the format. The bright orange of the desert landscape is juxtaposed with an eye catching blue tint of the setting at night, and that alone will stir the senses. A movie like this is precisely what Blu-ray was meant for!

Audio ****

The same can be noted for the sound performance, as this is hands down the best sounding release of the year thus far! The Dolby Atmos mix balances out the ferocious action set pieces with the heart pounding music score by Junkie XL. With a good surround sound system in tow, you will feel nothing short of immersed in all of the chaos. Dialogue delivery is extremely well handled, as well!

Features ***1/2

Quite possibly the best collection of extras displayed by Warner in really long time! We get a slew of featurettes, including “Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road”, which lasts nearly a half hour and covers a lot of ground regarding the production. There’s also “Mad Max: On Four Wheels” which looks at the extensive car design that was used. “The Road Warriors: Max and Furiosa” delves into how these characters were brought to life by the actors. “The Tools of the Wasteland” focuses on the many props that were used. “The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome” takes a look at the actresses portraying the pivotal breeder roles. “Fury Road: Crash or Smash” is a collection of pre-production tests as well as that of raw footage. Rounding out the package are three Deleted Scenes.

Summary:

Mad Max: Fury Road is a movie to be forever cherished, not only as the best installment to date of this movie series but as one of the absolute best action movies to ever exist! The astounding Blu-ray from Warner Bros. is also an absolute must own whether you’re an action fan or Blu-ray collector! Strap in and be ready to have your senses blown away on a massive scale!

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