Mad Max: Fury Road

fury-road-alt-poster

Release: Friday, May 15, 2015

[Theater]

Written by: George Miller; Brendan McCarthy; Nico Lathouris

Directed by: George Miller

For a lesser population, what a lovely day it is indeed, a day in which a franchise is reborn. To anyone else not attuned to what was once a legitimate excuse for Mel Gibson going crazy, Mad Max: Fury Road feels like what a Michael Bay action sequence wants to be when it grows up.

Before dealing with the flack I’m going to inevitably receive for that comparison, may I remind you that Bay, despite himself now, has a knack for building enthusiastic, explosive entertainment. Whereas the aforementioned splurges on expense, George Miller ingeniously . . . well, he splurges too actually. Except here a $150 million budget is appropriated toward some mind-blowingly technical stunt work that is liable to leave most breathless, begging for more.

Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is seen at the film’s deceptively quiet open recounting his days of hardship via a gruff narrative, briefly reflecting upon a troubled past before being snapped up by a passing horde of baddies, undoubtedly the inspiration for some of this year’s most popular Halloween costumes. Behold, the War Boys. He is taken to a strange and desperate civilization known as the Citadel, a relative oasis presided over by the tyrannical King Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) who keeps most of the communal water and greenery to himself and his minions.

Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa, a shaven-headed, fearless amputee with a face covered in soot, finally has had enough of living in such conditions. She goes rogue, fleeing the Citadel in Joe’s ‘War Rig’ and down an indistinct but narratively significant path of sorts, bound for a better way of life. On board the Rig are Joe’s Five Wives — a collection of beauty that recalls Bay’s casting sensibilities. But Bay doesn’t go for talent, really. He just stops at ‘good-looking.’

Perhaps that’s the only thing Joe cares for as well. Enraged by the knowledge of their escape, he sicks the War Boys on the Rig, igniting a thunderous and violent chase across remote desert landscapes and into a sand storm that makes The Perfect Storm look like a gust of wind. Valleys become death gauntlets, their outer limits patrolled by bikers who are expecting a shipment of gasoline be delivered by Furiosa in exchange for her safe passage through. As sure as a Michael Bay car chase, more disaster awaits there.

Miller and Bay are both adrenaline junkies — the former addicted to cartoonish madness; the latter to closing the gap between CGI spectacle and cinema-related migraine. One of these addictions is healthier (at the very least, artsier) than the other. But the constant raucous atmosphere can be overwhelming for newcomers to this depraved world of half-dead humans clinging to life however they can. For a good portion of this ride Max is used as a blood bag to nurse Nux (Nicholas Hoult) back to . . . uh, health. And one of the Five Wives is very pregnant. This isn’t a thinking man’s movie, but if there’s one thing Fury Road is adept at other than delivering non-stop thrills, it’s showing humanity’s will to endure some crazy shit.

With Hardy replacing Gibson in the titular role, one that strangely bears less significance when put beside an iconic Charlize Theron, Fury Road threatens to abandon its cult classic status, exploding into potential box-office behemoth territory. Despite an outrageous, gothic dress code this costume design will likely remain one of the hottest topics of the summer. Maybe all year.

Apparently The Avengers: Age of Ultron is still playing in some theaters. Well, now there’s a new kid on the block and his name is Mad Max Absolutely Ridiculous. Decorated in war paint, yelling at the top of his lungs he demands you know his name. After spending two hours with him you aren’t likely to forget it. Perhaps that’s the most significant distinction between these auteurs of the action spectacular.

When you realize you left the GPS at home . . .

When you realize you left the GPS at home . . .

4-0Recommendation: Decidedly one-note when it comes to plot, Mad Max: Fury Road is still a unique experience — brutal and relentless action combined with beautiful visuals and a gung-ho spirit that fails to dwindle. Having seen the originals isn’t a necessity but I’d imagine it would help round out Max’s character more. Action junkies and fans of George Miller’s brand of filmmaking must see this movie. It’s a curious thing, too: there are two films coming out later this year (one this summer) with as much potential to deliver the goods and both indisputably appealing to larger audiences, but I wonder if these films will be as successful in recruiting new fans as Miller’s latest has been.

Rated: R

Running Time: 120 mins.

Quoted: “Hope is a mistake. If you can’t fix what’s broken, you’ll go insane.”

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.southfloridafilmmaker.com; http://www.imdb.com 

Advertisements

36 thoughts on “Mad Max: Fury Road

  1. Pingback: Dope | digitalshortbread

  2. “…once a legitimate excuse for Mel Gibson going crazy…” – You really can crack me up!

    Was so happy to finally see this yesterday! I know that the plot was flimsy at best, but the visuals and the sheer madness of the movie was enough to wow me. I had a real blast! Great review Tom!

    • Thank you so much! I debated a bit over how to talk about this. So much has been said and analyzed and what not and in the end I kind of went a different route, but I honestly believe if Michael Bay just let up on the CGI mayhem in some of his forthcoming movies he can get back to making genuinely thrilling action epics. That’s all Fury Road really is, Geoee Miller just knows how to do action right. That’s really struck a chord with everyone who has seen this.

      • There we go! Agreed! The story is lacking quite a lot, no denying that, but hell, this movie was put together so well you can roll with it!

        • It’s such a beautiful looking apocalypse isn’t it??! And those war boys!! Spraying silver paint on their mouths! haha its all just perfectly ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I mean, you come to expect Mad Max is going to be thin on plot, but I couldn’t help but talk about it. I think I give this a high rating because it may not do EVERYTHING amazingly, but what it does well (shoot action and pump up the adrenaline; stun visually with cinematography) — this it does EXTREMELY well. I remember your review of it and I totally get why it is off-putting to some people.

      I also don’t agree with the 98% rating on RT. That’s just crazy to me.

  3. Fantastic review, Tom! Ever since its trailer debuted, I had been waiting desperately for this vehicular carnage n now that I’ve seen it, can say with absolute certainty that Mad Max truly lives up to its hype. What a 2 hour of jaw-dropping ride this was!

    • Thanks man! I tend to think it’s a pretty overhyped film but it was fun indeed. Thanks for your comments

    • You have an interesting one to look forward to Mr. Mark. I really do love that poster myself. There are some great ones at posterposse.com. Well worth a look over there.

  4. I think you’ve summed it up well dude…this film is insane. I don’t think I’ve seen so much action in a film before. A good thing and a bad thing in my book, but I can definitely see the appeal and why so many people have loved it.

    • Yes the action is definitely all there is to Mad Max. Plot was a little lacking in my opinion — hence holding it back from the perfect 8/8 score. I debated FOREVER btwn a 7 and a 6 score, but in the end went with the higher one as the action sequences — the thing that Miller was really going for — was absolutely crazy. Mad, really. 😉

      • It’s funny this scoring business…sometimes I think about dispensing with it completely, but I’m nearly 300 reviews in now so it seems like I shouldn’t stop now!

        • I know, putting a number/grade to the films does in some sense seem pointless but I enjoy it. My pie rating system is more of a scale of relative enjoyment, at least that’s how I’ve begun to see it. When I first introduced it I was using it far more as a critical component of the reviews but now it mostly represents how much I enjoyed said film. 😀

  5. Pingback: Update on the Decades Blogathon | digitalshortbread

  6. Nice review dude. I went on a total impulse on the first day it was showing and was totally surprised, I thought I’d hate it. But its the total opposite of blockbuster stuff, its grimey and bloody. I loved it, and I never love these type of movies!!

    • Idk man, this feels like a total blockbuster to me, not at all what the original Mad Max series is all about. But with that being said, this is a good blockbuster. Jurassic World has a lot to live up to.

      • Oh yeah its totally a ‘blockbuster’ movie. What I meant was I usually associate those sorta movies with viewer-friendly stuff and inoffensive humour. For a blockbuster movie this is insanely bloody and brutal, not at all like other big films I have seen. I liked the Apes movie last year but this is darker and bloodier than that.

        It will be very interesting indeed to see if Jurassic World can come even close to the awesomeness of Fury Road!

        • Yaeh, good point man. I’d agree. Esp apt comparison with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Perhaps a more fitting term to describe MMFR is ‘mainstream.’ It’s most certainly more accessible than the old ones with Gibson, a sense I’ve gotten even having not seen any of the originals. (Which I need to hurry up and get going on!)

  7. Fantastic review, Tom. This is one of my most anticipated of the year and I really think it won’t disappoint. Can’t wait!

    Also, just sent you my Decades review.

Comments are closed.