MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

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Here’s yet another film i have been looking forward to ever since i heard rumours about it 6 or 7 years ago. Once again i decided to keep myself in the dark about it almost entirely in order to curb any overly high expectations that i might build up for myself.

I will admit to failing in that a bit. After all, with a teaser trailer this good how could i not start building my dream Mad Max film in my head. The trailer’s slow build up and release had me hoping it would carry a dark somber tone like The Road Warrior but have a modern feel and have Hollywood production values. But my enthusiasm was clipped a bit when the theatrical trailer came out and it had a zany, stacatto, shut up shut up feel to it that was really off putting, and filled me with more than a little trepidation.

In the end i definitely got some of what i was expecting…

 

THE STORY

Psychos chase Max and Furiosa in the desert in giant cars. Explosions ensue.

 

THE GOOD

Holy shit is this movie loud. Action films have seldom been this constantly and literally explosive. The car chases and stunts put anything by Michael Bay and all the other hack action directors working today to shame. The glory of it all however is that all the chaos is crystal clear and glorious. This film strengthens my argument that action scenes shouldn’t have to have the camera waving around and cutting every half a second in order for it to be frenetic. The action itself should be the savagery and we get savagery in spades in Fury Road.

The film’s story is nothing more than an extended chase film, however Theron’s performance as Imperator Furiosa manages to provide much of the film’s heart and drive. She is perfectly cast in her role as a strong woman who isn’t overly motherly and can kick ass with the best of them.

 

THE BAD

When in the first 20 minutes a movie grabs me by the head and pummels me with incredibly loud noise, horrifically violent images, and incredibly big explosions i’m going to say that it has blown its wad a bit early. When i’m dead sure that after i just watched a Mac Truck made out of spikes try and saw another truck in half while other cars made of spikes are being blown up by screaming half naked guys in white body paint all the while being chased by another band of raving lunatics where there is a giant truck that actually has war drums being played on it and a man in a gimp suit strapped in and shredding on a guitar only to end in a giant explosion and climax with a giant enormous dust storm where more explosions and screaming take place that the end of the movie will not measure up there is a problem (and it didn’t).

I mean, don’t get me wrong, this movie is balls to the wall crazy and its awesome for it, but there’s only so much i can take before i zone out. I have to be able to comprehend what i’m seeing in order to be excited otherwise the movie feels like a stress test they give astronauts to see if they break under pressure.

Not to mention Max himself is lost in the picture almost entirely. He could have been written out and the film would have been just fine under Theron’s Furiosa and nothing would have suffered. Max is a passenger in his own movie, where in only 15 or so minutes does he actually drive the plot. Tonally he also suffers as a character for me as well, the whole schizophrenic flashes of a creepy dead girl, eye balls, screaming, and the film once again grabbing my head and smashing it into the floor while screaming “MAX IS FUCKING TORTURED AND CRAZY!!! EVERYONE IN THIS FUCKING FILM IS FUCKING CRAAAAAAZZZZZZYYYYYY!!!!!! doesn’t work for me when i compare it to The Road Warrior.

This near constant barrage in Fury Road highlights what i liked most in The Road Warrior, as so much was done with so little volume and so little talking. Scenes like Max finding a music box on the side of the road, and smiling because he might remember his son, or punching a guy who gets in his face when he mentions his family communicate the idea that Max is a burnt out tortured man far more effectively then bad acid trips in the desert. While scenes of quietness are not entirely missing from Fury Road, they’re either swallowed up by the constant insanity or are unecessarily melodramatic and ineffective. Its the abundance of quiet moments The Road Warrior that make the action all the more frenetic as they are the rule and not the exception in that film.

The setting itself while filled with all sorts of deranged detail and imagination, is a hard pill to swallow. Its so divorced from any semblance of reality that its hard to see it taking place in the same Austrailian deserts that the first two movies took place in. In fact that’s exactly the problem i have with Beyond the Thunderdome, only its exasperated here by the fact that the film does everything on 11.

Also Max talks too damn much.

AND he doesn’t get his car back. Fucking LAME.

 

THE UGLY

Mad Max: Fury Road is The Road Warrior on an almost lethal cocktail of bath salts, jager, and 100% pure adrenaline shot directly into the eye balls. This movie is literally sitting ass naked wearing a gimp mask in a some monster super charged V8 hot rod made entirely of chains and spikes driving 300 km/h down the road with its 10 000 watt stereo playing a cacophony of screaming, static, and guitar shredding, all the while giving the bird with one hand while waving a chainsaw out the window in the other. While i can’t say that’s really my thing, i can say that it sure looks like fun.

Don’t go to it if you don’t like loud noises or violence or explosions.

Only go if you do like loud noises and violence and explosions.

You’ll be in for one hell of a ride, and from the maker of the superb Babe, Babe: Pig In the City, and Happy Feet.

 

3 starsOUT OF FIVE

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