In our Mad Max: Fury Road review, find out how director George Miller returned to his movie series 30 years later and still managed to make an action movie for the ages that’s like drinking a gallon of Red Bull washed down with a shot of adrenaline….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
30 years after director George Miller last took ‘Mad’ Max Rockatansky on a wild ride through the Thunderdome, he returned to the dystopian scene of the crime for the latest installment of his best known franchise and resurrected the former future cop turned vigilante once played by Mel Gibson and now embodied by Tom Hardy.
And what a ride it was.
Miller had toyed with the idea of doing ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ more than a decade ago before Gibson was best known as a foul-mouthed bigot who is now closing in on 60. Thankfully he waited because the new version with Hardy starring was the kind of octane fueled jumpstart this franchise had to have to engage a whole new fan base of 18 to 34-year olds who probably only remember Gibson from ‘Lethal Weapon’ 18 and maybe never heard of ‘Mad Max’ or ‘The Road Warrior’.
The result was a turbo charged chase through the desert complete with a war lord who looked like something out of a Rob Zombie horror movie, a war rig driven by a shaved-head, one armed Charlize Theron, a cavalcade of lovely ladies wearing bed sheets, and a grimacing muscle-bound Tom Hardy, who could probably write all of his dialogue from this movie on the back of one of his hands.
But words weren’t important to ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’. It was the action. The blood-pumping, fist thumping, pistons charging, rubber burning action that made ‘Max Max: Fury Road’ the adrenaline rush movie that fans have been missing while getting stuck with geriatric substitutes wandering around calling themselves Expendables.
First let me say there’s not much of a plot and it really doesn’t matter.
The story goes like this — Mad Max is taken in the middle of the desert by a group of painted up crazies called the ‘War Boys’ who want to use him as nothing more than a blood bank. Where he ends up is how this movie begins to unfold because a war lord named Immortan Joe currently employs the ‘War Boys’ as his soldiers as he reigns from atop a tower called ‘The Citadel’ where he rules over a society of people who spend most of their time begging him for water. Joe sends his raiders out to nearby towns to get supplies and his favorite driver is a woman named Imperator Furiosa (played by Theron), who is going out on a trip that day before she goes off course and makes a run for it.
But she’s not just running away — she’s taken five of Immortan Joe’s ‘wives’ who are made to bear his children and of course he’s willing to sacrifice anything to get them back. Max ends up on this high speed chase across the desert because the War Boy he’s hooked up to needs more of his blood so what better way to get it than to strap him onto the front of the hood like an ornament while they tear through the sun-soaked Australian badlands in search of Furiosa and her five escapees.
It’s not Shakespeare. Not by a long shot.
But the plot doesn’t need to be intricate. A woman turns on her boss and helps his captive wives escape, he gives chase and Mad Max ends up in the middle of it. That’s all you need to know and really even that much probably won’t give much or take away anything in regards to how watchable this movie is at the end of the day.
There’s not a lot to compliment or degrade when it comes to the performances in this movie. Really, everyone is there to act as cannon fodder for two hours as they battle in one giant chase scene back and forth from the starting point where we first run into Mad Max.
Theron is great at always and Hardy has definitely become a real action star over the last few years. He says maybe 100 words over the course of two hours, but none of that really matters when you boil down the reason to go see a Mad Max movie in the first place.
DIRECTING AND WRITING
This is where ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ gets a gold star. George Miller finds a way to bring back the classic 70’s and 80’s vibe to a movie released in 2015. Sure there’s CGI and effects in this new movie that he would have never been able to use in the original ‘Mad Max’ films, but really those sequences are few and far between and not that recognizable compared to so many other action movies out there today.
The chase scenes are absolutely intense as Max and Furiosa try to escape the clutches of Immortan Joe and his band of psychos who look like they are dressed as extras from a Kiss tour circa 1985. There’s even a drummer that keeps the beat as they barrel across the desert and a guitarist dangling from a hook while playing an instrument that shoots fire as he’s backed up by a wall of speakers to blare his sound to the entire cavalry.
It all sounds so ridiculous but the visuals are stunning and the visceral intensity felt as these two hard charging entities run and chase and then chase and run makes the two hours spent in the theater just fly by.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE MOVIE?
If there was one problem with ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ it’s an issue that shouldn’t really bother anybody going to see this movie in the first place but I’ll still lay it out.
‘Mad Max’ — for all the crazy stunts, big guns and even bigger explosions — was still about something. There was a story at the heart of the movies and while this film definitely has a purpose, it almost feels like ‘Mad Max’ himself is a secondary character to the larger plot.
‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ could just as easily be called ‘Fury Road’ because Max isn’t the central person anyone is paying attention to during most of the scenes. Actually what this movie felt like was an appendage to the main films. Like an offshoot story that Max got involved in before he got back to handling his own life and his own problems.
If you see the movie and witness how it ends, that statement will make a lot more sense to you than it probably did in this review.
Again these are minor quibbles and nothing that should deter you from going to see it.
‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is the kind of action movie adults have been waiting for since buddy cop movies are no longer edgy and ‘R’ rated and guys wearing capes and cowls are the only guaranteed fireworks you normally see on the big screen these days.
This movie won’t get anybody nominated for an award although Miller and the people involved in the visuals for this movie along with the pulse-thumping action beats certainly deserve recognition.
‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is a gallon of Red Bull mixed with a shot of adrenaline. Your heart will be going a million beats per second at the end of it and that’s just the kind of fun summer movie the world could use right now.
‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ gets 4 out of 5 on the Skolnick Scale