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Why Mad Max: Fury Road is the maddest movie in the franchise

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Not long to wait now before Mad Max: Fury Road thunders onto our screens. It's the fourth movie in director George Miller's cult Mad Max series, the long-delayed and eagerly anticipated follow-up to 1985's Beyond Thunderdome – and it seems the movie has been well worth the wait.

Tom Hardy takes over from original star Mel Gibson and appears alongside Charlize Theron. So does the movie live up to its title? Of course it does – here are the reasons why Fury Road is the maddest movie in the franchise so far. Hold on tight!

Reviews say it's genuinely insane


"Grand Theft Auto meets Hieronymus Bosch," is how The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw describes the movie. (Google it.) Meanwhile, Variety's Justin Chang calls it "two hours of ferocious, unfettered B-movie bliss." And David Ehrlich in Time Out raves: "Marrying the biting frenzy of Terry Gilliam’s film universe with the explosive grandeur of James Cameron, Miller cooks up some exhilaratingly sustained action."

One thing's for sure – the critics love the sheer madness of Miller's violent, intense road opera, and it could be on course to become of the year's best-reviewed films. Want more?  Click here to read the Rotten Tomatoes reviews of Mad Max: Fury Road.

The danger is real


There's no squeaky-clean CGI in Miller's movie. When you see a souped up car spiral into the air and explode into a fireball, chances are it was done for real on set. As Miller himself explains: "We crashed a lot of cars; every stunt was done, if not by the cast then by some very fine stunt men; and it was shot on a real location."

Who needs greenscreen when you've got that?

Tom Hardy was pushed to his limits


Hardy takes over from Mel Gibson as mysterious road warrior Max Rockatansky. However, the making of the movie was no picnic, with the star frequently injured on set as he carried out his own dangerous stuntwork. 

"Everything's metal. You're on wires with very little clothing on, and you've got a harness," Hardy says. "It's very sweaty and hot and you're getting wrenched in the air and trying to bounce, smashed against metal, day in, day out, for six months. I got battered. I mean, it was bad."

It's a feminist movie (apparently)


Hardy might be the star of the movie but reviews have suggested that Charlize Theron's metal-armed Imperator Furiosa steals the show. More than that, there's also an unexpected feminist edge to all the chaos and carnage...

Don't take it from us. Here's what Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler told Time about her role on set as a production consultant: "I think George Miller is a feminist, and he made a feminist action film. It was really amazing of him to know that he needed a woman to come in who had experience with this."

The set-pieces are crazy


At one point, Max is strapped to the front of a car and used as a mobile blood bank by shaven-headed Nux (Nicholas Hoult). Elsewhere, terrifying, masked villain Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who appeared in the original Mad Max movies) uses enslaved women for... Actually we can't say. Either look it up or wait for the movie itself.

Sound good? Then click here to book your tickets for Mad Max: Fury Road, which storms Cineworld screens from this Thursday.