As a huge fan of the Mad Max movies, I had low expectations for Fury Road. It had been talked about for so long, and went through many iterations- or at least, the Internet rumor mill did. It was going to be all CG, like the Happy Feet movies! (also directed by George Miller). Mel Gibson would return! Or worse, it would take all the worst parts of Thunderdome and run with it.
Well, George Miller and company made a movie, that for pure action enjoyment, blows all the other three Max movies away. Now, The Road Warrior will always be my favorite. (I reviewed Mad Max, Road Warrior, and Thunderdome here). I saw Mad Max 2 when I was twelve, and it scarred by brain. Any car chase I write is inspired by its insanity. But side to side, there is no comparison. The stunts are bigger, the chase neverending, and the world of the film is immense. Road Warrior felt like one settlement was all that remained. Fury Road gives us a bleak continent.
The story kicks off with Max captured by the war boys of the Citadel, a water station run by Immortan Joe, whose young killers worship him like a god. He’s built a new mythology out of metal album covers and when his lieutenant Imperator Furiosa (Cherlize Theron) goes rogue, with Max along for the ride, the movie is a two hour balls-out car chase of war rigs, Big Daddy Roth monster hot rods on monster truck and battle tank frames, and hornet’s nests of nomadic bikers. The world, and the characters, are painted in such detail that the lack of exposition is no matter. This is a tapestry, not a history book. My favorite characters were a band of woman on motorcycles with rifles, young and old, survivors who fight like the Night Witches of World War II.
Tom Hardy makes a fine Mad Max. He’s a favorite actor of mine, daring, a fiery star of emotion, who’s played iconic British gangsters and violent men with incredible power. Here he wavers between ice cold killer and leather-clad Buster Keaton on an out of control murder convoy. The movie is equally his and Theron’s; as always, we get very little backstory on Max. If you want backstory, watch the other movies! Theron’s Furiosa is equally cryptic, and they make a brutal team of reluctant equals. The movie is relentless, but I’d watch it if it were twice as long. I’d watch a prequel about the bad-ass biker women. I’d watch another movie with Furiosa and Max. I’d watch George Miller set a bag of dog crap on fire and ring Hollywood’s doorbell, because he made a better action movie than the Marvel toy-selling machine and the DC grit-shit-show has been doing for the last decade.
Unshackle your imagination with bolt cutters and burn out on a fury road…
I wasn’t going to mention it, but some “man website” was trying to make manly real man-men boycott the movie because it’s “feminist” or whatever. The movie has bad-ass women in being bad-ass, and it made their peepees feel small. I don’t take “the manosphere” seriously (how can you, with a name like that?) but I found this takedown site hilarious. We Hunted The Mammoth takes down the boycotters’ whining here.