MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Grips you in your seat!

In terms of film craftsmanship and the ability to create spectacle, Fury Road sets new standards.

Filip Jalowski

8 December 2023

Despite a relatively large number of recognizable names in the main competition of the Cannes Film Festival in 2015, the edition was overshadowed in the media by another installment of Mad Max. While wandering the streets of the French city, it was impossible not to come across posters featuring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. Their character-transformed faces greeted tourists even from the facade of the most splendid hotel in the city. The cost of such advertising space probably exceeds the budget of several Polish blockbusters. It is not entirely clear whether the brand itself was behind the marketing frenzy, considering that Miller resurrected one of the absolute cult classics, or if it was a sensible move by promotion experts.

However, all of this ceased to matter in the face of the film itself because Mad Max: Fury Road simply grips you in your seat, transfusing blood into high-octane gasoline.

In Miller’s film, there is basically no need to dwell on the plot. The story is childishly simple, and anyone who has encountered Mel Gibson’s exploits before knows its background. The world has gone bad. Explosions, radioactive fallout, and clashes between wild gangs have turned the Earth into a deadly desert. The new gods are steel and fuel. To survive, you need a reliable gun by your side and a car welded together from the scrap you find on your way. The most powerful one, of course. In such a world lives the titular Max, a typical hero from nowhere. A guy who just wants to survive.


Max’s life is a constant chase. Behind him, a dust storm created by the wheels of warrior vehicles working for Immortan Joe, a self-proclaimed messiah who controls human life through access to drinking water, constantly rises. After another capture, Max’s path intersects with the path taken by Imperator Furiosa. The woman rebels against the cruel ruler and decides to find the green oasis she remembers from her childhood. Immortan Joe begins the pursuit.

However, it is not a pursuit that can be described in terms present in cinema until now. In Miller’s new vision, the old Mad Max movies look like innocent playing with toy cars, and all creations like Fast and Furious are reduced to kindergarten level. Fury Road is essentially one, big, spectacularly and, I emphasize it again, SPECTACULARLY assembled chase for Max and Furiosa’s massive truck. Dialogues are limited to a minimum, serving only to present the specifics of the world and understand the motivations of the characters. However, the true center of the film is the engines heated to redness, the sound of destroyed tons of metal, and exploding hectoliters of fuel.

The rhythm and editing make the two-hour chase, evolving over time into a strategic game between Max’s team and Immortan Joe’s army, never boring for the viewer. During the screening, the whole audience clapped and cheered several times at the end of each crazy sequence, which depicts desert destruction with clockwork precision. Enthusiastic reactions are entirely justified. The excellent visual side, paired with the stark but well-capturing atmosphere of war on wheels and the mechanical horse music by Junkie XL, often speeds up the pulse and gives the viewer shivers.


In terms of film craftsmanship and the ability to create spectacle, Fury Road sets new standards. It will be hard to surpass.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning something about Max himself. Hardy is not outstanding; it’s not the same power as young Gibson, but there is no reason to criticize him for that. It’s difficult to measure up to cult classics; it’s rare to create a performance that overshadows the original. Hardy won’t go down in history with this role, but he certainly is the right man in the right place. Moreover, between him and Theron, there is a certain chemistry that contributes significantly to the spectacle.

Leave all those Ultrons and other flashy blockbusters to the kids. Grab the keys, step on the gas, and head to the cinema for Mad Max. It is one of the best, if not the best, revival of a legendary series in the history of cinema.