This movie. Is. The SHIT!
I didn’t get a chance to review Furious Seven when it came out and I doubt I’ll ever get to it, so let me just state my opinion right now: a moderate step down from the previous two films with not as much control over its testosterone appeal, action that is shot too frantically to the point that it frustrated me (especially during Tony Jaa’s and Rhonda Rousey’s scenes), and overall a disappointingly “okay” film coming off some of the best entries in the franchise, The Dark Knight Rises-style. I bring that up because whilst watching Mad Max: Fury Road in theatres, I kept thinking to myself “this is what Furious Seven” should have been. It has intense driving-based action that I can see clearly. It has likable characters who all get their chance to shine. And most importantly of all, it had Charlize Theron being hot even with her shaved head – and not just because the film takes place in the Australian desert and explosions keep happening all around her.
So after thirty years of being buried in the sands of time, Max gets thrown into an all-new desert adventure by getting kidnapped. Again. You know, for a famous action icon, Max sure seems to get into Princess Peach-levels of trouble a lot, doesn’t he? I understand he is supposed to be a relatively normal guy who ends up fighting off waves of gangsters due to circumstances beyond his control to the point that he might as well be a protagonist from the Red Dead series, but even John McTiernan at his peak would be laughing at the guy’s propensity for trouble at this point.
Anyways, his kidnappers are a desert army called the War Boys, led by Toecutter from the first movie now wearing a face mask and a lot of war paint whilst going under the name Immortan Joe. One day whilst using Max as a blood donor, one of the gasoline collectors named Imperator Furiosa sneaks out of their city with five women Joe utilizes to produce children – something that Joe isn’t exactly okay with, especially given how hard it is to live a normal life when living in a world that’s a thousand times more harsh than ours. He sends out his boys to get the girls back and Max ends up being dragged along, resulting in a car chase that frees Max at the cost of being stranded in the desert with nothing but chains and the company of pregnant women. Initially taking them hostage in order to get out of his situation, Max once again ends up acting as a protector to a greater cause that he has no real stakes in, and yet he plays a key role in fulfilling. You’d think by now the guy would just accept his role in life.
I’m sure most people who actually pay attention to the critics will notice that for an action movie with a simplistic plot, Mad Max: Fury Road has been getting glowing reviews that rival The Dark Knight or Pixar’s best. Some people might also have noticed the shitstorm it’s been getting from MRA nuts who feel threatened at the mere notion that women can kick ass because they know that they wouldn’t last two seconds in the same setting. Ignoring those fuckers, the question some people may be asking yourself is if this is the equivalent of Die Hard for a new generation. I can’t say for sure, but if there was ever an action movie that defined getting by on good proper execution and remembering that at the end of the day, I watch movies to be entertained, it’s Mad Max: Fury Road.
Whilst the plot is simply a two-hour long version of the vehicle chase finale from Road Warrior, the actual substance of the film is more Children of Men with a more hopeful outlook, but still plenty of deliciously grim despair to sink your teeth into during the ride, both literally and figuratively. Without giving too much away, there are plenty of scenes where Max’s viewpoints clash with the ladies’, leading to some brutal conflicts regarding morality and sacrifice that have understandable points regarding both sides, but in the end I have to secede to what’s right, and so do the ladies. Max’s main appeal has always been the fact that he’s just an outsider who does nothing but steer the true main character in the right direction, and Fury Road couldn’t have picked a better woman to act as the heart of the story than Furiosa. She’s like Sarah Connor except with a mechanical arm, and I think that’s all that needs to be said regarding why she works as a character and why she’s so important to the story.
On the fanboy side of things, the amount of action in this movie is just insane. George Miller really took advantage of the fact that we’re no longer living in a generation that grew up with Mad Max or knew Mel Gibson as a credible actor and takes full advantage of what we can currently do with the action movie genre to the extreme. I’m going to be cliche and say that my favorite character was the guitar guy, and I’d like to say why, but no description I give of him could possibly do him justice except that Krauser weeps at his feet. And honestly, neither can any real description of the action either. I’m not really much into describing the technicals of a movie, so all I can say is that after seeing this, I am in full support of Miller making another Babe sequel if he wanted to. I almost want to be in full support of him making another Happy Feet after this film. That’s how much goodwill he’s earned from me after making this movie. Me wanting another Happy Feet.
This is easily my favorite movie of the year and unless Brad Bird knocks it out of the park with Tomorrowland next week or I see some surprise foreign film that makes my balls expand to three times its size, I don’t see that changing for the rest of 2015. It’s practically the Wall-E of not just action films, but movies in general in that despite my many misgivings towards the medium, I continue to be a fan of it because I love how much can be conveyed solely through cinematography. The intensity. The emotions. The explosions. The relevant issues regarding post-apocalyptism and the fact that it’s pretty damn feminist is a nice touch too. Mad Max: Fury Road is just a beautiful movie in every way.
I need to see it again.