Mad Max Fury Road (2015)
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zöe Kravitz
Directed by: George Miller
Synopsis: The fourth installment of the post-apocolytic adventures of Mad Max Rockatansky who is thrust into assisting runaway “brides” of a megalomaniacal and psychotic overseer get to better pastures.
What work(s): The action. Sorry THE ACTION!!!!! Since the opening credits this film is basically non-stop action, thrills and spills. It’s like tantric-action. Once a chase scene ends there’s maybe 3 minutes to catch your breath and then fight scene and back again to more chases. I’m barely exaggerating here. There’s maybe 15 minutes of exposition in this 2 hour high-octane thrill-ride. This film is on Red Bull, speed, 5-Hour Energy and nitro. And it is all FUCKING great! Edge-of-your-seat chases? More like edge-of-your-sanity!! I have never in my life experienced such an action film. It’s like all those 30 years of George Miller waiting to make another Mad Max movie built up in his gonads so extreme that he unleashed the biggest mach-10 filmgasm of all time.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the actors. Mel Gibson is too
racist old to play Max any more so Tom Hardy fills in his shoes and does a bang-up job. I know we ragged on him playing Bane in The Dark Knight Rises but I still always liked him enough to see him play another comic-book-esque genre character. But the most praise goes to Charlize Theron in this flick. I cannot state enough how much she rules as Furiosa in this movie. It probably sound like a nitpick to say that this is her movie and Max is just supporting but it’s true and it honestly works. The other gals in this movie all all great as well. And Hoult and Hugh Keays-Byrne, who plays the psychotic cult leader, Immortan Joe are fantastic as well.
What fail(s): NOTHING!! Seriously, I cannot find too much to complain or nit-pick at all. Maybe wish Max had more of a starring role but because Max is always a catalyst for events surrounding others’ dealings this is par for the course. In The Road Warrior he was just helping that small village from attacks by the Humungus and Beyond Thunderdome he basically just helps those kids out too. It’s never just a Mad Max story but who is Max helping out now sort of deal, like Clint Eastwood in the Man With No Name spaghetti Westerns or The Kung-Fu TV show. Hero shows up in new locale and gets in the middle of other peoples’ business. Hardy segued nicely from Gibson’s famous shoes and I look forward to seeing play Max again. But I honestly cannot find one thing to complain about after my initial viewing. I’m just pissed it’s been 30 freaking years since Miller made an action movie.
The only other little thing that I can kinda nitpick is this film in a series from 30 years ago makes no attempt to catch up the new generation to who Max is, how the world got to how it is or what demons are torturing Max and giving him sleepless nights. And the film somehow makes that work in its favor truth be told. It frankly would’ve bogged down the pacing and wouldn’t have mattered. I saw this film with someone who was uninitiated in the Mad Max lore and she enjoyed it just fine. She had questions after the movie but frankly, there wasn’t much to explain anyway. Mad Max is a post-apocalytic hero set in the barren wasteland with freakish and cartoonish denizens who all are just trying to survive or conquer. Fuel is the only tie that binds all of the films together (last 3 anyway if we’re being honest) and none of the previous films try hard to harken back to the previous installment so why start now. I remember seeing the Mad Maxes in reverse order and it didn’t matter in the least. Did I care that this current Max keeps getting flashbacks to a little girl whom he failed to save? Nope. I got the gist of his pain and suffering fine enough and I think every other view will too without the need for a lofty and boring flashback. That’s how an action movie succeeds.
Overall: This film made The Avengers look like a saturday morning cartoon by comparison. It’s balls-to-the-wall action and I forgot how a great action film used to be made. It’s lean on cheap talk and unnecessary exposition and gets the job done. At times I thought I was watching a very nicely made exploitation grindhouse feature from the 70s it was so brutally honest and in-your-face. You have to laugh at how absurd some of the characters are and what they do at times but in the end, you’re cheering them on and asking for more. As an example, the cult who is in pursuit of Furiosa, have a war drum truck with about a half-dozen drummers in the back pounding away the charge and in front is a mangled-looking heavy metal guitarist thrashing out chords on a fire-spitting double-neck like he was Hendrix on bath salts. The War Boys, the young albino-esque troops to Immortan Joe want to die in battle as a sacrifice to Joe and before death will spray paint their mouths chrome in preparation to enter Valhalla.
If you’re a fan of the Mad Max series and have been apprehensive to seeing this long-awaited sequel, Don’t be! It’s probably my favorite of the 4 so far. Just based on the characters and the so-simple-yet-perfect-story. There’s still a very human and taciturn hero Max and great odd characters that he encounters with silly Mad Maxian names like, Nux, Rictus Erectus, Toast the Knowing and The Dag! The costume/make-up, vehicle and set design are to die for and fit perfectly into the Mad Max mythology. The music is great as well as the cinematography. In those rare quiet moments between bombs and bullets and car crashes there’s the beautiful desert landscapes and dream-like locales (West Africa doubles as Australia this time around). I cannot give enough praise to Miller for what he achieved here and I hope more Mad Maxes are filmed asap. In a summer filled with Marvel superheroes, Dinosaurs, Terminators and other loud and destruction-laden popcorn flicks, Mad Max Fury Road will be tough to beat. So if you fellas out there who were forced by your female companions and significant others to see Pitch Perfect 2 last weekend (we’ve all been there, no worries), do yourself and your testosterone a favor and go see Max NOW!
Score: 11 gallons of pure adrenaline mixed with nitro-glycerine and dragon-venom!!!! (out of 10)