‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Movie Review – More Miller Mayhem
A few months ago, I finally watched the original Mad Max movie in preparation for this weekend’s reboot, titled Mad Max: Fury Road. The result wasn’t pretty. In fact, I ended up bordering on despising the film, almost swearing off George Miller’s latest. Time heals all wounds, and I decided to skip slugging through the rest of the franchise – which, yes, I’ve heard gets better – and give Fury Road a fair shot. This result, on the other hand, ended up far closer to what I was hoping going into my first Mad Max viewing – pure, unadultered chaos.
The fourth film again follows Max Rockantansky (played this time by Tom Hardy) as he tries to survive the barren apocalyptic wasteland in Australia. “Barren” is about the only way to describe the setting because people are starved of water, food, and resources (namely oil/gas).
Miller essentially created a world where the human population has devolved into packs of violent lunatics.
Max is one of the “good guys” in the fight, though, providing a little bit of a moral compass in a story that’s pretty much devoid of it. In the latest iteration, Max finds himself right in the middle of a feud between a badass female renegade, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and her cult leader, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who, yes, is “Toecutter” in the aforementioned Mad Max). Due to some pretty handy circumstances, Max teams up with Furiosa in order to help slow down the sadistic leader, who has an infinity for essentially harvesting sex slaves.
Although I’ve admitted my feelings for Mad Max’s origin, I do have to give props for Miller’s scope when it came to action.
In Fury Road, he makes perfect use of updated technology to essentially create a non-stop two-hour chase scene. And while you’d think this would get monotonous after some time, it somehow never does. There are at least two things that really help the movie seem “fresh” despite the fact that we’ve seen something similar: setting and tone.
I already mentioned the setting a little bit. However, I wanted to spend some more time talking about it because it’s nice to have a reprieve from the usual big-city action film. Being set in Australia has it’s benefits and it helps set a movie like this apart from the rest of the blockbusters. The setting and tone kind of go hand-in-hand, too, because without the barren setting, it’d be hard to imagine some of the different characters we get.
Which brings me to the overall tone. Being known for being abrasive, loud, violent, and in some cases, kind of comical, Fury Road continues exactly what I presume most fans love about the franchise. In this particular story, I really latched onto the psychology behind the “War Boys” (one of which was played by Nicolas Hoult) and the entire cult. Without creating this psychotic race of characters, none of the action scenes would’ve worked.
We’ve seen plenty of cool action set pieces from Transformers to The Avengers to, well, pretty much any summer blockbuster nowadays. That’s not enough to propel a film into being a “must-see.”
However, Mad Max: Fury Road is a must-see. To me, the best comparison brings me back to one of my favorite movies of all-time: The Dark Knight. There’s an extended scene where the Joker is riding through town in a semi-truck trying to get who he thinks is Batman, all the while laughing. Fury Road is that scene extended over two hours. It’s that psychotically fun.
In terms of adrenaline, George Miller’s latest film, Mad Max: Fury Road, deserves to be in the same conversation as 2012’s The Raid: Redemption. It’s pure blood-pumping thrills. Fury Road also touts a more-than-decent story (one that has garnered some controversy from male groups) that’s just another reason to go see the movie today. Take it from a self-proclaimed Mad Max hater: this one is well worth it.
Mad Max: Fury Road opened in wide release this weekend. Check your local listings for play times.
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