Review of Mad Max: Fury Road

madmaxfuryroad

After a thirty-year hiatus Mad Max is back. This time however the titular Road Warrior (Aarrrggghhhhhhhh… What a Rush) is played by English actor Tom Hardy. Mel Gibson is still in the doghouse, so he doesn’t even get to make a cameo appearance in Fury Road. Perhaps I am being too nice but don’t you think sufficient time has passed, since Mel’s much-publicised misdemeanours, that we should give him a second chance? Most of us have done foolish things under the influence of alcohol after all. Even I have been known to perform gymnastics, on the concrete pavement, after one too many ciders!

OVERVIEW

War never changes. That’s what I thought when Fury Road started, because the movie is set in a post apocalyptic Earth reminiscent to the world depicted in the Fallout games. During the opening scene Max is captured by a band of War Boys and turned into an involuntary blood bank. A tyrannical cultist named Immortan Joe leads the group responsible for Max’s abduction. He’s a nasty chap that appears to have borrowed Hardy’s respirator from the last Batman movie. After an unspecified amount of time Max is able to escape from the War Boys’ clutches and joins forces with a badass chick named Furiosa, who has absconded from Joe’s citadel – taking his harem of wives in the process.

Joe is naturally miffed that the ladies, who are carrying his unborn children, have been taken so he gives chase. Gorgeous women are a precious commodity he can ill afford to lose – especially when you consider that most of the populace in Mad Max are either deformed, toothless, missing limbs or all of the above. What follows is a 120-minute vehicular pursuit between Max/Furiosa and Joe’s convoy of follicly challenged henchmen. There isn’t much plot in Fury Road, but to compensate for the lack of narrative you get copious amounts of blood splatter instead. No one should be surprised by the visceral content given that George Miller directed the movie. His previous writing credits include video nasties such as Babe and Happy Feet.

VERDICT

My rating for Mad Max: Fury Road is a three out of five. In retrospect I think I went into the movie with overly high expectations, which had been inflated by the film’s bevy of Oscar nominations and positive reviews. The movie is a solid action flick, but not the exceptional tour de force some people had led me to believe. Due to the script’s minimal use of dialogue I found getting attached to any of the characters a difficult task. The story is also disappointing. A simple premise followed by a chain of action set pieces. On the plus side the gunfights, car chases and fisticuffs were all exciting to watch. Said sequences are all the more impressive when you consider that they were supposedly recorded using practical effects and little CG.

Feminists may wonder why Max Rockatansky gets top billing in this movie. Make no mistake; this is Furiosa’s adventure with Max tagging along for the ride. Charlize Theron handled the physical demands of the role very well and was very much Hardy’s equal in terms of ass kicking. When it comes to strong females, who can pull off a buzz cut and dish out pain, Furiosa is right up there with the likes of Ellen Ripley and Britney Spears. Mad Max: Fury Road may not have wowed me, like it did for some people, but the action alone made it a worthwhile two hours spent. I wouldn’t be averse to checking out another Max sequel. Hopefully we won’t have to wait three decades for the next instalment.

29 thoughts on “Review of Mad Max: Fury Road

  1. Charlize Theron was absolutely amazing in this movie, and you ate quite right about this being her film, and not that Max was just tagging along. I do miss Mel Gibson, even though Tom Hardy did a great job. Luckily Mel is getting back into things again. He directed the brilliant Hacksaw Ridge, and starred in the great film Blood Father, which was a bit of an underrated film in my opinion.
    This movie was essentially a very long chase movie. I quite liked it, but do think it was a bit overrated. The visuals though were really amazing. Great review as always! 😊

    • It does seem that after a lengthy Hollywood exile Mel Gibson is being allowed back into the fold. Hopefully he has used the time to conquer his demons and can now focus on making good films. Love him or hate him the guy is a great director.

  2. I agree that expectations were unrealistically high for this, but if you take it for what it is – an enjoyable, over-the-top 80s throwback, then it’s great. It was so OTT and in your face that I likened it having someone stand in front of you, shouting at the top of their voice whilst repeatedly punching you in the face for 90 minutes… only in a good way!

  3. Gotta agree with you on Charlize Theron being the star. She did a great job here. I wouldn’t give the film full marks either, though it was beautifully shot, and the action in particular was well done.

  4. This is one of those films where you begin to question if you’ve become too jaded towards Hollywood penchant for style-over-substance excess because of all the rave reviews, or if it really is just a decent action flick and only you can recognise it. Fun but not the paradigm shifting classic some would have us believe it is.

    • I like stuff with deep characters and a solid story (like Cat Planet Cuties) which is probably why I was harsher than most on this film. Not a bad movie mind you. Compared to other style over substance flicks Mad Max is leagues ahead of something like Transformers.

    • I watched one of the older films yonks ago, but my memory is so terrible that I can’t remember which one it was. Glad to hear that Mad Max veterans liked Fury Road. I wasn’t sure what they would think of it, given that the title character plays second fiddle to Furiosa a lot of the time.

    • I imagine that Wasteland/Fallout were inspired by Mad Max so we owe George Miller, in part, for those awesome games. Speaking of games, maybe I should give the Mad Max game a chance. Some people really like it.

      • To some extent, actually, it was. There’s a reason the leather armor in Fallout has only one sleeve, and Dogmeat was modeled after Max’s dog. There’s even a bit of a reference to Max when you first meet Dogmeat in the original game. Seems he wandered into that part of the wasteland, but that wasteland didn’t like him.

  5. I loved this movie. However, I went into it thinking it was going to a load of rubbish. So I might have just been surprised, that it wasn’t beyond awful hehe 🙂

    It’s kind of scary to think, that in the mad max world, I’d have to be a complete bad ass or I’d end up in some creeps toy box or in a milking parlor 😦 Even scarier, with the amount of young war pups that man had and lack of females. I’m guessing there’s a third worse option, that eventually ends in a very painful death.

    The vehicles in this movie are awesome but. I sort of want to build a mad max car now hehe 🙂
    Great post 🙂

  6. This movie was cool. I think a big reason why, was that the original creator was working on it for so very long. I liked the effects, the acting was terrific, and even when things got silly, they still managed to somehow be believable. Case in point; the Heavy Metal band playing live, mid carnage, and death car chase. In any other movie it would have been an “Oh come on!” moment. But here, it just comes off as awesome.

    • The original creator being involved was certainly a big boon. If Warner Bros had made a Mad Max movie without Miller it probably wouldn’t have turned out well. Usually when a film is in development hell for many years it ends up being rubbish, but Fury Road bucked that trend.

  7. I find that this movie used a lot of hard metaphors, mostly left-leaning. A lot of it was meant to be allegorical, like how Immortan Joe represented the patriarchy, women were used for breeding and milking(literally being valued for their breasts and genitals, and on a more metaphorical note, being reduced to livestock), and the brainwashed warboys, doing a rich man’s bidding because they’ve been misled to believe there’s some greater reward in the afterlife if they sacrifice themselves in defense of their country being an obvious riff on not only our own military, but also with heavy inspiration from the middle-eastern idea of jihad.

    My favorite part was Joe’s feelings on giving people water, which mirrors a lot of wealthy peoples’ ideas about charity… “If you just give away what I had to work for, you’ll spoil people, who should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and work for success like I did.”

    The message at the end, with Furiosa and her girls attempting to flee into the desert and find a new world, only to realize there is no real world, is just that… We only have one world, and in order to take it back from the 1 percent, we have to work together… Male, female, young, old, veterans, pacifists, all of us… If we want anything to change.

    I don’t personally believe in everything it’s saying, but the way it’s all said is fascinating.

  8. Methinks you falling under the bottle and performing advanced calesthenics is a bit less egregious (and far more hilarious) than being anti-Semetic, but that’s just my humble opinion. I’m of the mind that we don’t say what’s not “there,” and alcohol removes the veneer, but people with more letters after their name then I (alas I just have a B. A.!) might be better able to weigh in.

    I was a fan of the movie because it didn’t scream his feminist it was as of the creators were trying to earn points with that; it just was as if that was the normal flow of things. I also likes his Furiosa was disabled, and it wasn’t remarked on, it just was with unnecessary comment.

    Agreed about lack of major story. I haven’t seen any other MM so I have no idea how it compares. A thousand cosplayers are rejoicing though in having Furiosa as a subject 😆

  9. Nine times out of ten when someone bases their excitement for something solely on the hype and praise it got it doesn’t live up to the hype. I liked it a lot personally because I knew what I was getting myself into, having marathoned the first three movies.

    It’s a road rage movie much like the previous MM films, though it does have some nice little development.

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