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'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Review: Post-Apocalyptic Perfection

September 1, 2015Ben MK

At a glance, 2015's crop of summer movies would seem to suggest a year just like any other, with your usual assortment of sequels, blockbusters and even a few indies. But really, the past few months at the box office have been different from any in recent memory. And it's all because of one movie: Mad Max: Fury Road.

The brainchild of co-writer/director George Miller, this third sequel in the Mad Max series plunges filmgoers headlong back into the down-and-dirty world first brought to the big screen in 1979's Mad Max: an arid, post-apocalyptic future where water has become an invaluable commodity, and where those who control it — men like the demonic-looking Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) — are worshiped like gods.

So what makes Fury Road so special? For starters, how about the fact that the entire movie is basically one continuous action sequence, triggered when one of Joe's most trusted lieutenants, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), liberates five of his wives (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Abbey Lee, Zoƫ Kravitz, Riley Keough and Courtney Eaton). From there, it's practically a non-stop multi-vehicle chase across endless miles of scorching desert, as Joe, hellbent on recovering what he perceives to be his property, dispatches all his available war parties in pursuit.

Then somewhere in all of this we have Max. His role in all of this is an interesting one, for despite having top billing in the title, he's really more of a secondary character to Furiosa. Played to almost mute perfection here by Tom Hardy (taking over the role from Mel Gibson), Max is essentially a reluctant participant along for the ride. Although that's not to say he doesn't get his hands dirty as the story progresses. Either way, this is Furiosa's show, and Theron plays the part brilliantly, delivering one of the most vulnerable, most fiercest and most convincing action performances ever captured on film.

Which brings us to an important question: is Mad Max: Fury Road pro-feminist? For some reason, this was a criticism leveled against the film by certain men's rights groups prior to its theatrical release; but while there are definitely such undertones to its storyline, to simply label the movie as "feminist" is to do it a disservice. After all, this is 2015 — what should gender have to do with anything? All you need to know is that this is one of the most visceral, action-packed and balls-to-the-wall works of cinema you'll ever lay eyes on. And anyone who takes a pass on it because of gender politics is only missing out.

With minimal dialogue, Mad Max: Fury Road is a film told primarily through spectacular, fiery visuals and a headbanging rock/electronica soundtrack. Thankfully, Warner's Blu-ray encode is 100% up to the task, delivering nothing less than a rock-solid high-def image. From start to finish, picture quality is undeniably flawless, with a color palette comprised primarily of dusty browns, sun-burnt oranges and gunmetal greys that brings to life every last grimy detail in the movie's gritty production design. And it gets even better when you factor in the movie's Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack, which will fill viewers' living rooms with the 360 degree audio chaos created by a cacophany of explosions, gunfire, ricocheting bullets, and vehicle after vehicle crashing and careening into one another.

Warner's two-disc Blu-ray release includes a DVD and an UltraViolet digital copy of the film, along with the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road (28:38) - A detailed look into how the movie was shot, from the storyboarding process to the challenges of shooting in dusty Namibia. This behind-the-scenes featurette also addresses the stunt work, the fight choreography and the emphasis on practical effects over CGI.
  • Mad Max: Fury on Four Wheels (22:37) - A piece spotlighting the movie's insane-looking, oddly-named vehicles, including their construction and their weaponry. Some of the wheeled monstrosities covered here are Max's XB Interceptor, the Razor Cola Caltrop #6, Immortan Joe's Gigahorse, the Excavator, the Doof Wagon, the People Eater Fuel Truck and the War Rig.
  • The Road Warriors: Max and Furiosa (11:18) - A piece profiling Hardy and Theron's characters and their relationship.
  • The Tools of the Wasteland (14:26) - A featurette that's all about the film's production design, from the props and the weapons to the costumes and the vehicle interiors.
  • The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome (11:11) - A short profile of Immortan Joe's top five breeders, The Splendid Angharad, The Dag, Toast the Knowing, Capable and Cheedo the Fragile.
  • Fury Road: Crash & Smash (4:02) - A compilation of stunt rehearsal video and raw film footage that showcases the impressive, real-life vehicular mayhem orchestrated for the film.
  • Deleted Scenes (3:20) - Three deleted scenes ("I Am a Milker," "Turn Every Grain of Sand!" and Let's Do It"), some presented with incomplete VFX.

Mad Max: Fury Road is available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as of September 1st, 2015. The Blu-ray features English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio, and French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. Subtitles are presented in English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The total runtime is 2 Hrs.

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