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Film Review No.371: Mad Max: Fury Road


Mad Max Fury Road 1

Jesus Christ Mad Max: Fury Road is one loud film. Not loud like, say, Transformers. This isn’t just noise filling the soundscape to fool you into thinking exciting stuff is happening. This is more the sound of the world of Mad Max. A world ruled by the roar of a V8 engine and the screams of the insane. This film will rattle your eardrums and melt your face with how violently hard it rocks. And there I go. Recommending the film highly right out of the gate. Can’t be helped. Mad Max: Fury Road is just that good. Click the link below for me gushing for around 1,000 words.

Fury Road takes place some point after the apocalypse with no real time frame. Which is fully in keeping with the previous Max films. The world is still destroyed but some form of society has started to develop in small pockets of the outback. By society I mean a whole lot of down trodden people being ruled by fear and people being treated as things. Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne – Who you’ll remember as Toecutter from the first Mad Max) is one such ruler. He has a supply of water that he occasionally pours onto the lowly peasants living in the dust below him. He has an army of men he calls his War Boys that worship the mighty V8 engine. He also has women either being milked like cows or being used as his brides to father his offspring. One woman amongst his group called Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is in charge of making gas runs with a tanker truck referred to as the War Rig.

Really looks like Gerard Butler here.

Really looks like Gerard Butler here.

Today Furiosa has a different plan. Instead of doing her job like a good piece of property belonging to Immortan Joe, she’s gonna bust his wives out and take them away to the green place she remembers from her youth. This kinda annoys Joe who sends all his War Boys after her with all they’re cars modded in a manner that you would expect if Xzibit to were he living in a post apocalyptic wasteland. There’s, like, at least 50 stereos on one of these cars. So how does Max (Tom Hardy) fit into all of this? The same way he always does. He happens to have ended up in a bad situation which leads to his path crossing with Furiosa and a shared interest in doing the right thing leads to them going on a near 2 hour car chase. I’m not kidding. The film is mostly car chase. It’s so awesome.

The action in this film is relentless. The film opens with Max being chased down and captured by a group of Joe’s War boys and soon made to be a literal blood bag for a terminally ill War Boy called Nux (Nicholas Hoult). Nux is so into the idea of dying a warriors death, so he may pass to Valhalla, that he straps his blood bag, Max, to the front of his car so he can join the chase for Furiosa. This means the films first huge action sequence is a multi-car chase with a man stuck to the front of a speeding car like a hood ornament. The complexity of this sequence is baffling. People are flying all over the place, from car to car. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes as the result of explosions of gun fire. The stunts and action feel so real. Mostly because a large amount of it actually is. There are a lot of effects shots in Fury Road but they’re almost all there to accomplish the look of the surroundings or to add a few flying bodies in places no stuntman could survive. If you want an idea of how digital effects were used compare the teaser trailer to the first full trailer. A few shots were repeated with composite effects added in and it took the trailer from being something that looked cool to something that blew me away. This is how you handle digital. As a way of accompanying the insane effects you’re pulling off for real.

There are a few moments over the course of the film where the action is held back for moments of world building and character progression but these are more bookends to set piece after set piece. You’d think that this would make for a brain dead film, but it really doesn’t. Story is conveyed efficiently through sparse dialogue and simple actions. This isn’t unusual for the series at all really. Max barely says a word through the final act of the first film and he had all of 16 lines in The Road Warrior. He’s a little more talkative here, but not much. That’s kinda helpful cos Tom Hardy doesn’t have the strongest Australian accent. Stronger than Charlize Theron’s accent though. I don’t think she even tried to sound Australian. That doesn’t make a difference though. The world is weird enough as it is without wondering how a woman raised in a post apocalyptic Australia would grow up to have an American accent. Which is really odd when you consider that Charlize is South African. I did like Nicholas Hoult’s accent though. He feels like he’s stepped right out of a 70s Ozploitation flick with his fractured sentences and thick accented, borderline crazy voice.

The film tackles the themes of women being used as possessions and commodities quite well, making it clear what Joe wants them for and the toll it has had on them, condemning him from the start. As it should. Furiosa wants a better life for the women being used for breeding. She’d like a better life for everyone, but that’s way beyond her means. Like all Mad Max films Max is the force of good battered and worn down by society that rises to the occasion when he is needed. He’s essentially our will to succeed. The world has beaten him down and taken everything from him, but he always gets back up and his involvement is enough to help turn the tide. That’s not to say the women are helpless. They kick just as much arse as he does. Maybe they could have done this without him. They certainly started without him. But that’s part of the point. He’s the last remaining example of the human will to survive and he brings that to others by showing no fear to those that would oppress and do harm.

Oh look. Here's a member of some MRA group!

Oh look. Here’s a member of some MRA group!

And as for the recent talk by certain groups on the internet, claiming Mad Max: Fury Road is pushing a feminist agenda, I have this to say to you.

Ahem.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOOOOOOOOUUUUUU!!!!!

This is what a film with varied people being treated as actual characters looks like. Woman isn’t a character. Disabled person isn’t a character. They’re the shells within which characters exist and characters are what makes film compelling. If you can’t handle the idea of a woman being portrayed as having their own goals, their own ideals and being able to handle themselves then you need to go back to the cave you crawled out of you pathetic worm.

So yeah, Mad Max: Fury Road is excellent. Really, really excellent. Hell, it’s the most refreshing action film I’ve seen for years. It almost gets to the point of being tiring to watch, but like a good cup of coffee, it keeps perking you right up with interesting events, unique set pieces and characters that, even when on film for only a short time breath extra life into every moment. No film should be able to be this full of automotive action and explosions without sacrificing something. There is no sacrifice here. The film is superb. It looks rich and textured. It sounds amazing. The score is just fantastic and has a slight feel of being a throwback to a time when scores weren’t afraid to take over. The characters are compelling and the plot picks you up by your neck and pulls you along. Hell, you’ll feel like Max probably did when stuck on the front of that car. Except fun and not highly life threatening. Go see this. Like, now. Go!

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About lvl54spacemonkey

Just a dude who likes movies and games and has delusions of working in one of those industries. Write screenplays and work on short films in my spare time. Most of which never get finished. View all posts by lvl54spacemonkey

3 responses to “Film Review No.371: Mad Max: Fury Road

  • misty

    How is this crapheap of a movie getting so much positive review?

    Naked feet in the desert sand don’t burn?

    People survive 80 mile an hour car crashes get up and do it again?

    Thousands of people wanting water do not push up against the people in the front of the cliff face to get to it? Ever been on the front row of a concert? Not only do they not push forward there’s a 10 foot gap between the gatherers and their rivals.

    The power ranger wanna be bad guy’s vehicle is low geared enough to climb rocks jump across the other side but high geared enough to catch the semi who has a good 45 minute head start. Let’s not forget the vehicles with multiple engines and 16 cylinders would get about 1/2 a mile a gallon on gas yet they drive across the desert with no fill ups at all.

    The semi has solid rubber tires? Why else would the porcupine cars spiking into the tires (don’t say it has armor the armor doesn’t cover the tires) not be able to penetrate it.

    Tuskan raider drivers? Jawa motorcycle drivers?

    Did they suffer from the Mcdonalds drive thru syndrome i.e. lets put the dumbest person in the commander position and let hime have at it, why else would it take him until his whole gang was on top of him to realize, “oh shit why are you doing this? Can’t you stop?” OMG.

    How does the hydraulic strap on arm function on the amputee?

    Ever ridden in a semi? Even with the windows up and the air on and today’s mechanical technology, the damn things are loud. This one’s not. Nope no loud thunderous roar screaming through the…. Oh wait the damn thing doesn’t even have windshields.

    Kill switch sequence?… Really?…. Did it have 6 distributor caps?

    Who prepared this mission? Ammo count. (paraphrasing here) “ we have a few good rounds and a whole lot of shoot your fingers off rounds.) Well that makes complete sense, let’s not load the semi with the death on impact explosive spear rockets the half lifes had in plenty to destroy the spikey cars nooo for gods sake, grab the dehringer! And extra bullets man!

    In the beginning scene when power ranger wanna be bad daddy guy walks down the hall and realizes oh crap my breeders are gone he immediately heads straight for the old lady. Scenario.

    Power ranger wanna be bad guy, fat, slow. Old lady Armed with a double barrel sees bad guy coming at a 100 yards away. Wait for it… wait for it… wait for it…. bad guy grabs gun points it towards air. Ok NOW. Old lady shoots bad guy kills her. At least they ackowledge these guys are inbred because they surely belong in idiocracy 2 the sequel.

    Ever been in a sandstorm? It hurts like hell. That’s fully wrapped in heavy gear. Not only does the semi defy the laws of physics by plowing into the sand wall at full speed with no consequences but Mad Max casually pops his head up looks around in the storm while driving full speed while being plastered by 100 mph sand granuals. Ugh.

    “We have 50 tons of fuel and 10 something of nitro” again paraphrasing. Yet the nitro fueled semi motors catch fire do not explode or fast burn, gets a few hundred pounds of sand dumped in it and keeps on rolling. My Rc car won’t even do that.

    Ever put your hand on a diesel muffler stack after the engine excuse me nitro fueled engines has been running for an hour? DON’T it will melt your hand off. Yet somehow the pregnant chick slides smoothing around it within inches if not touch it with no problem at all.

    The PURE stupidity of Max. I’m only going to type 2 examples here because frankly that’s enough.

    1. Max thinking. Hmmm I’m chained, ok kick in survival insticts. Hmm ok great, bolt cutters, these are probably designed to cut 2 inch steel chains. Let’s see. Ok I know I’ll pick the weakest, most skittish girl of the bunch to cut the chains, yeah that’s a GREAT idea.

    2. Crud, ok I got out of the chains but how do I get this really thick steel brace off my face. Hmmm better not go for the skinny girl again what to do what to do. OH wait I know. I’ll use a dull file and I’ll file it off dooty doo. 3 scenes later Bam he has it, THANKS SHITTY director that’s believable.

    Hey Mad Max fans few more questions for you. Seeing how I left the thatre about an hour and 4 minutes into this masterpiece, I’ll just ask you guys instead of watching it again or maybe I’ll poke my eyes out with plastic sporks because that would be cheaper and more entertaining.

    The chrome spray, drug? Chrome color? Literal chrome? Why did the driver of the spikey car after shooting the half-life fellow in the face continue towards the semi at the exact same speed as his enemies even though the top of his car had been torn off. How does the power ranger bad guys gang get through the stone archway in the Arizona like area so quickly? He says they’ll have to dig their way through, yet 5 minutes later they are all through and caught up to the bad guy. When the bad guy gave chase why didn’t max and the amputee give the worthless screaming breeders in the back guns to shoot at said bad guy? And one of the best things ever. The half life driver who is anointed by bad guy and told he is going to be lead to the halls of Valhalla (are these guys of Nordic descent? If so why the Australian accents?) If he can recover the breeder pregnant with his child, and then given the magic not hot yet liquid chrome speed has just spent the last 20 minutes creating feats that would rival a super hero in any comic, yet he gets stopped by a dangling chain and a grate. Then he immediately becomes depressed. 90 mph moving vehicles No problem. Chasing down a semi with one shoe off in the burning sand SIMPLE. Surviving a huge crash, getting up and chasing down his target, check. Walking on top of a semi with a grate and a dangling chain DEAR GOD NO IT CAN’T BE.

    This movie is a complete crap fest and I’d imagine Mel Gibson is saying all the right things about it but secretly inside thinking, oh yeah just what I was hoping for. UGHHH.

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