Movie Review: Mad Max – Fury Road (Super Smash Bros. Edition)

Mad Max

Genre: Action/Adventure

Director: George Miller

Running Time: 120 Minutes

From the Director of “Babe – Pig in the City” and “Happy Feet”

The Plot

In post-apocalyptic Straya, resources are scarce and closely guarded. Imperator Furiosa (Charilze Theron) is a lieutenant sent by our villainous despot, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), to collect gasoline. Unbeknownst to the tyrant, she has his 5 wives/breeders aboard her battle rig with her eyes and their hopes set on the “green place”. Max (Tom Hardy), at this point, has been captured, processed and deemed a “universal donor”. His blood is used in transfusions for Joe’s dedicated, delusional followers, the War Boys. In this case, he is used specifically for Nux (Nicholas Hoult). When Furiosa’s treachery is discovered, Nux rigs Max to (the front of) his vehicle to ensure an uninterrupted supply of blood while in pursuit of the betrayer.

Shit goes pear-shaped, Furiosa and the merry band of mothers are being chased down by Joe’s allies from the Bullet Farm and Gas Town. It’s all very dog-eat-dog with gasoline and shiny spray paint.

Mad Max Nux.jpg

Performances and Special Effects

I love Tom Hardy and would have his adopted babies in a heartbeat, and my boy didn’t disappoint with this one. He’s manic and shaky and gruff which is exactly what you expect of the character. But we know Hardy to be a good actor, so this is not surprising. I’m not a huge Charlize fan. Shocking, I know. I’m often expected to rallying behind her celebrity just because we share a nationality, especially when you consider that there aren’t too many famous South Africans (other than Madiba, Ernie Els and Trevor Noah). I’m usually left scratching my head after a Charlize performance, thinking: “that was alright…” but I’m never really blown away. I did enjoy her performance here though. She portrayed a strong, often stoic female lead and did so convincingly. I particularly enjoyed Keays-Byrne as Joe. He was just the right balance of charismatic, crazy and calculated.

We always knew that the special effects would be spectacular, it was expected, and Miller delivered. I could almost feel the grit and the dirt after the sandstorm, and the heat of the desert.

Mad Max Darude Sandstorm.jpg

The Review

Despite the strong cast, the beautiful aesthetic and cinematography, I was left wanting. I’m not sure what it is that isn’t working for me but I will say this; if it had been a through and through dude-bro movie, I could have gotten on board but as it is this tries its hand at a deeper story and I think that this is ultimately the problem. I loved the vehicles, weapons and, especially, the steering wheels used by each of the War Boys. The zealous fanaticism of Joe’s followers and the devotion they demonstrate with their lives through witnessing is fascinating. That said, I feel like the story was incidental. Instead of committing to the bro-ness of the film, they tried to give it heart and I cannot reconcile the two. It seems like this was all set up in order to engineer a way to have Mad Max running amuck in the wasteland.

The movie truly lost me when I saw guitar guy. Anyone who has seen him will know who I’m talking about. I’ve tried to figure out why he was included on this movie and the only reason I can think of is to ensure people would leave the cinema with an iconic shot and score in their heads. I mean, really? In a time of scare resources and tribal clans having to barter for fuel, water and munitions, why in the holy fuck would you waste precious gasoline on a flame throwing bungied guitar guy?

Mad Max Guitar Guy

I sat watching this, thinking: “This is fucking stupid.” I may have even said it out loud a few times. I call it the “Unobtainium” moment because the same thing happened to me while I watched Avatar. Similarly, the more I thought about this movie after it finished, the more I started to dislike it. It tried to be too human and have too much of a story for its humble purpose to entertain. Hardy portrayed Max perfectly and the character was conceptualised in just the right way. Taking that in to consideration, I like the fact that Max does not join the women, but disappears into the crowd. It’s almost as if he understand that this new society is not sustainable. All that aside, this movie would not have suffered if Max wasn’t in it.

My Rating: 3.5/5

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