Reviving a franchise that people lost interest in more than 20 years ago is quite an endeavor. Doing so without acknowledging the star that made the franchise famous or relating the film to any of the originals might be considered crazy. But everything about MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is insane, from the very fact it ever got made to each nutty character and mind blowing stunt. Fury Road might best be described as a two hour long chase scene, but that simple breakdown doesn’t do the film justice.
Max (Tom Hardy) is a loner in a desolate, post-apocalyptic world where water is a premium resource and everyone is out for themselves. He’s taken prisoner by a gang of outlaws working for Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and used as a blood supply for Nux (Hoult). When Imperator Furiosa (Theron) goes rogue in an effort to rescue a handful of sex slaves on her way to her childhood home, Nux and a large posse go looking for Furiosa and bring Max with them. Eventually, Max breaks free and teams up with Furiosa, setting off what might be the greatest chase scene in cinematic history.
The original MAD MAX was an incredible film, especially considering it was released in 1979. Its sequels, however, were a bit of a mixed bag. ROAD WARRIOR came out a couple years later and although it received some critical success, I personally wasn’t a fan. And then BEYOND THUNDERDOME was almost unwatchable. So there wasn’t much there to convince me that George Miller had any Mad Max magic left in him. And even his non-Max films made me question his talent. So it’s surprising that he had Fury Road in him at all and to pull it off like he did was impressive. But he was helped greatly by the talent he surrounded himself with including cinematographer John Seale and Oscar winning editor Margaret Sixel. The three of them combined made every chase and every stunt so impressive that you felt like you were sitting in a makeshift car, riding right alongside Max and Furiosa.
Tom Hardy loves to choose roles where he gets to do a voice, but his work in Fury Road might be some of his best acting because he didn’t get to say much at all. There’s a scene where one of the girls almost falls off the truck and he looks back from the driver’s seat and gives her a thumbs up. It’s a simple scene, but because of how well he pulls it off, we get to see a very brief moment of joy come from Max while he’s embroiled in this horrific car chase. A lesser actor could have flubbed a lot of those types of moments, but Hardy nails it, proving he’s one of the best actors working today.
With 10 Academy Award nominations and 6 wins, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD has received the critical success it so rightly deserves. Couple that with a whopping $153 million box office gross and the film is easily the surprise success of 2015. So it’s no surprise Warner Bros. wanted to take advantage of the hype with their first 4K UHD release.
This 4K Ultra HD disc was viewed on a Sony XBR-850C Television using a Samsung UBD-K8500 player
Video: There’s a lot of talk about studios taking 5K sources and downconverting them to 2K sources for the theatrical release, then upconverting to 4K for the 4K UHD release. Obviously, transferring a true 4K source to a 4K disc is ideal, but the truth is in the picture. The real question is; is this transfer of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD better than anything we’ve seen? And the answer to that is a resounding “yes”. The scene that stood out to me was towards the end when the guitar player was driven through some dirt that was kicked up. On the Blu-ray, the scene was fine, but detail was subdued due to the extreme number of colors used. But on the 4K release, detail was crystal clear and you could see every color as it shone through every particle of dirt. This is an impressive release.
Audio: Although extremely impressive, the audio improvements are slightly less than the video improvements.
There are no additional special features included on the 4K release. However, it does come with the Blu-ray disc and you can click here to read our review: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Blu-ray Review.
Click 4K Ultra HD to read more of our 4K reviews.