June 1, 2015

Theatrical Review: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392190/
(aka Mad Maxine)
Release Date: May 15th.
Country: Australia.
Rating: R.
Written by: George Miller & Brendan McCarthy.
Directed by: George Miller.
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Abbey Lee, and Courtney Eaton.

Masterpiece.

That's really the only word in this review that matters, because that's exactly what Mad Max: Fury Road is; a masterpiece. The phrase "Best Post-Apocalyptic movie ever made" matters a lot too, because Fury Road is that, as well. Fell free to read the entire review if you want to know what in the world possessed us to use a world like masterpiece in refernce to an action flick like this, but just know this; Mad Max: Fury Road is big, insane, and it's damn near perfect.

When we last saw Mad Max Rockatansky (in Beyond Thunderdome), he was saving the lives of a bunch of kids, who then promptly abandoned him to wander the Post-Apocalyptic Outback alone, while they made their escape to a new life. That probably left him with all sorts of trust issues. I mean, they couldn't have circled back and picked him up or something? They had a Plane!

"THANKS FOR THE HELP, MAX. ENJOY THE WALK!"
Anyhow...

The modern day incarnation of Max ends up running afoul of the War Boys (the shiny, chrome army of zealots who do the bidding of tyrannical ruler Immortan Joe), and is captured by them to be used as a human blood bag for an ailing War Boy named Nux. While he's being sucked dry of his lifeblood, one of Immortan Joe's most trusted leaders (Imperator Furiosa) heads out with a heavily armored war rig to exchange a tanker filled with mother's milk for guzzle-ine, in nearby Gas Town. Did we mention that Immortan Joe has a little breast milk farm set up in his impenetrable fortress? Because he does.

CREEPER.
When Furiosa deviates from her course, and takes off into the desert in search of some Green Place that used to be her home, Immortan Joe and his entire War Boy army, along with the boys from Gas Town and Bullet Town, give chase. It's not the hi-jacked milk or the stolen war rig that he really cares about, no; you see, Immortan Joe also has a little breeding farm going on back home, and Furiosa just took his five hottest baby-makers along with her, and he wants them back.

IN ALL FAIRNESS, I'D WANT THEM BACK TOO.
From here on out, Fury Road is one big bat-shit crazy car chase that involves dozens of cars & vehicles that not only look cool as hell, but that kept our eyes glued to the screen as they were flipped, smashed, blown up, and destroyed. Yes, they stop now an then, but it's never long before they're driving and fighting again. It's crazy.

...AND ALL THE WHILE, THE DOOF WARRIOR SHREDS WITH HIS FLAME-THROWING GUITAR.
Will Max save Furiosa and the baby-makers, and get them to The Green Place? Will Furiosa save Max, while also saving the baby-makers, and get them all to The Green Place? Will Nux save everybody, and get himself a hot girlfriend in the process? Far be if from us to spoil things for you here, but suffice it to say that not only does our favorite character in the movie die, but no one ever sees this damn Green Place. Was it all a lie from the start?

WHAT DID YOU DO, FURIOSA?
Fury Road starts off in high gear, and yet somehow manages to end in an even higher one. We enjoyed this movie so much that any praise we laud on it is going to sound like a bunch of over-exaggerated Fanboy hyperbole, which sucks, because we hate that sort of thing. Our immediate reaction to Fury Road was that this is one of the best action flicks that we've ever seen. Those are big words, and they could be applied to any number of action flicks that have come out in the past 10 or 20 years, but that doesn't make them any less true. This movie rocked, and it rocked hard.

By the time Max & crew drove into that massive, F5 Tornado-filled sand storm, we were hooked. I can't even describe what it felt like to see a bunch of massive tornadoes swirling around in a storm of that magnitude, but when we saw it, we knew that this movie was going to be something special, at least from an action standpoint. Lucky for us the movie also gave us some likable characters, and a story that we could get behind too.

YOU CAN BET YOUR ASS THAT HE GETS IT NOW THOUGH.
Fury Road is a visually stunning movie, from its locales to the intricate and kinetic car chases, to the camerawork that captured it all. As drab and dead as the surroundings were in this movie, George Miller used a ton of colors throughout, and to great effect. The world he created comes to life in vibrant, odd ways, and is filled with many freakish delights.

The stunt work in this movie is so crazy and plentiful, and there was so much going on on-screen at any given time, that it overloaded our minds. It was in a good way, but we were hit with so much rapid-fire action and incident in this movie, that we felt like a speed-bag at times. So crazy was everything, that even Tom Hardy admits to being frustrated with George Miller while filming, because he didn't understand what the guy was trying to do. He actually apologized to Miller for not "getting it" until he saw the finished movie, and not understanding his level of genius until after the fact. And genius it is.

IT'S EVEN MORE TERRIFYING INSIDE.
The thing that's always been cool about the Mad Max sequels, is that they were never really about Max, but Max showing up in other people's stories, and them recalling it through their eyes; in The Road Warrior, it was The Feral Kid, and in Beyond Thunderdome, it was Savannah. There may be no narrator in Fury Road, but make no mistake; this is Furiosa's story, plain and simple. Max is right there from the very start before we even meet Furiosa and her charges, but her quest for redemption is what drives the movie forward. It's almost like Max is a cowboy from an old western who rides into town, helps the townsfolk fend off the bad guys, and then rides off alone, because that's just his way.

THEN AGAIN, THE MOVIE IS JUST AS MUCH ABOUT MAX'S REDEMPTION TOO.
Tom Hardy makes a great Mad Max. I don't know if I can honestly say that he's as good as Mel Gibson was in the role, but then again he really doesn't have to be. Hardy brings a completely different "thing" to the table with his portrayal, which kind of makes comparing the two futile anyway. Hardy's Mad Max comes off as actually being mad (as in not right in the head), which makes him different in a good way. Just as great in her role is Charlize Theron as Furiosa. If Max had died in the first 10 minutes of this movie, she could have carried the rest of it by herself with ease. Not one time did her toughness come off as fake or forced. Together, Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron make one of the best on-screen duos that we've seen in a long time.

It actually surprised us how good the girls who played The Wives were. In most moves like this, the  pretty girls (and the roles they fill) tend to be little more than window dressing, or they exist solely as plot devices for the main characters to feed off of. In Fury Road though, they each had a personality, and they each got to display some stunt & action work that was actually essential to the plot. They were impressive both together, and individually.

And we have to give a quick nod to Nicholas Hoult. He's been a favorite of ours since he was on Skins, and he's frigging great as Nux in this one. He was the perfect mixture of odd and sincere. He was bright and shiny indeed, and it was our pleasure to have witnessed him!

"I LIVE, I DIE. I LIVE AGAIN!"
If there's one thing about the movie that we could throw rocks at, it's the fact that the rig that Max & Furiosa were driving kept working after taking so much abuse. I get that if it broke down or was disabled, there would be no movie, or it would have at very least been a very different one, and for that reason I have no problem suspending my disbelief; most action movies, after all, tend to operate on a level of reality that isn't very realistic at all. Are you telling me though that they couldn't have shot out the war rig's tires early on, and just watched as it ground to a dead stop?

THAT GUN COULD HAVE SHOT OUT EVERY TIRE!
Why did _____ have to die? We really liked them. I say that if there's a sequel (which there probably will be), that they bring back the person who played _____, only in a different role. They did it with Bruce Spence in The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome, so they could easily do the same thing here.

ANGEL, DON'T GO.
People are shot, torn apart, stabbed, and killed in all kinds of creative ways in this one, but it never gets to the point where the gore is truly over the top. The scene with the baby was pretty nasty though.

There is a bit of partial nudity throughout this one, but it's nothing graphic at all. There is that disturbing milk farm scene too...

THAT'S IT, GIRL. CUT AWAY THAT PROHIBITIVE CHASTITY BELT.
Hot chicks are worth more than gas or water in the Post-Apocalyptic world. Also, Furiosa and Max should just get married and repopulate the world with badasses.

ETERNAL, SHINY, AND CHROME!
It's been a long time since any movie has blown us away like Mad Max: Fury Road did. From start to finish, this one is wall-to-wall, unrelenting action, and it boasts some of the best stunt work that we've ever seen committed to film.... and we're talking practical stuntmen doing real stunts here, not a bunch of CGI B.S.

You're crazy if you let the opportunity to see this one in theaters pass you by, because movies like Fury Road are why huge, silver screens exist in the first place. Head to the theater, pay the extra few $$$ for an IMAX ticket, and bask in the action-packed glory that is Mad Max: Fury Road.

A+

Mad Max: Fury Road is in theaters now.

It was the ladies who truly ruled Fury Road, and if you'd like to take a closer look at them, then check out their Horror Hotties post HERE.

5 comments :

  1. Another great thing about this movie is that, in an era of reboots, it's pretty much as close to a direct sequel as we could have hoped for. I'm glad George Miller had more story to tell, but I worry about sequels trying to up the ante.

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    1. Good point, Gordon. It did kinda feel a bit like a sequel in some ways.

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  2. @Gordon It definitely felt like it was picking up where the last left off. Miller had the bravery to say "these people existed before you got here", which flies in the face of most modern movies and certainly "half-reboots".

    I was floored by this movie. You touched on a lot of the positives but I'd add the music and editing were impressive. The music flows in and out of the reality of the film organically (there's a name for this that I can't remember), and Miller gives the audience cues to pay attention. It's like he's saying "music matters in this," and I listened and loved it.

    Regarding the editing: save a scant few moments where it wouldn't have made sense, every thread of action is maintained and upheld. There is pay-off to every little moment. A guy falls from a pole, you see his body rolling under a rat rod in the next shot. Max, the girls, the old Green Women, Nux, and Furiosa are all doing something different, and yet I never lose track of who's where, or why. I can't remember the last time I watched a movie and was actually stopping to admire the editing, but there I was, drinking my snuck-in bourbon and loving every minute of it.

    I would have loved to see Max's car a bit more, to see him driving around as the solitary Road Warrior I picture him as. They didn't totally drop it, and I guess the videogame will focus heavily on the car, but I missed it. My more stylistic critique is that the blue-night shots felt a little oversaturated. I think Miller could have achieved a cool, calm-down effect without going blue (a blue-gray might have been a tad less hyper-real, but not as distracting for instance). Nonetheless, the night scenes hit the right notes otherwise, giving a sense that the movie was in a lower gear, but still throwing set-pieces at you.

    Thanks for the review guys.

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  3. Unlike action directors of the plodding sort, George Miller doesn't ask you to understand the deliriously strange world into which he throws you headlong. He just wants to change the parts you recognize.

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  4. You'll love this movie if you are brain dead.

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