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Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road

What He said:

He

Nobody seems to know whether this is a remake/reboot or a sequel. At one point, George Miller – director and creator of the franchise – said it was both. Sorry George, but that is simply not possible. He even admitted at one point that though he calls it a sequel to Beyond Thunderdome, that really doesn’t work. Still, he refused to call it a remake. Well, I’m calling it one. This is definitely a fresh start.  It’s a new interpretation of an old story; similar to how Battlestar Galactica 2004 was not connected to the older TV show.

The movie starts off with Max (Tom Hardy) being captured by a bunch of marauders/raiders/bad post-apocalyptic types who are known as the War Boys. They take him back their base of operations, shave him, tattoo his back – with is what is essentially a list of his vitals – and plan on using him as they see figt; which right now is as an involuntary blood donor. They worship - I mean work for – a guy named Immortan Joe. Joe is the tyrant who controls this section of the Wasteland. Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Burne) is a cruel man who takes whatever he wants – including people. He takes gasoline so that he can control the roads and send out war parties to gather more supplies. He takes people like Max to use as blood banks, organ donors, etc. He takes women to…well, you know (Eww). The point being is that he’s not a nice person. He and his warriors are the ruling class over the majority of survivors, who are weak and sickly. Oh yes, and he also poses as a god. He claims to be an immortal being who has returned to Earth to save people and bring order to the Wasteland. His men are very loyal to him, as he has managed to convince them that if they serve him, they will have eternal life in Valhalla (heaven).

Fury Road

One of his “employees” is a gal known as Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). Furiosa drives his War Rig, which is a huge armored truck that goes out in search of gasoline. Gas is like gold in the Mad Max world and she is viewed as an extremely important part of Joe’s operation. Furiosa has a card up her sleeve though. She secretly despises Joe and does not plan on returning from her next run. She has made a deal with another gang for safe passage through a canyon they control and is hoping to flee with some of his "wives" to a myhological paradise out there somewhere in the Wasteland.

Joe is furious when he finds out, especially when he realizes she took his wives. They are his prized "possessions". He has the sex with them and hopes they provide him with children and future heirs. Joe leaves the safety of his compound in order to catch Furiosa and reclaim his “property”. The rest of the movie is basically him trying to catch her in one long chase. It sounds simple - it is, actually - but it's fucking genius in its simplicity.

I didn’t forget about Max. Max is mostly certainly along for the ride. Remember how I mentioned earlier that he was being used as a blood donor? A sick War Boy named Nux (Nicoulas Hoult)is in the process of getting a blood transfusion when he and the rest of the War Boys get word of Furiosa’s attempted escape. Despite being sick, he decides to partake. He does not want to miss out on the opportunity to please his master and secure his place in the afterlife. He’s not fully recuperated from his last mission and is still in the process of getting blood from Max though. So, what does he do? He straps Max - who he is still receiving a blood transfusion from - to the hood of his car and brings him along. Despite this disadvantage, Nux actually manages to catch up with Furiosa, but is separated from the rest of his group. Max is able to free himself from his imprisonment and reluctantly joins forces with Furiosa. Nux wants to catch the both of them, both of them want to get away from - or kill - Nux, don't care about each other - and actually view one another as a threat - but decide the best way to get away from Joe and his gang of murderers is to team up and get the FUCK OUTTA DODGE.

This movie is quite literally one big chase scene. Whether on foot or in a car, someone is running from someone else about 98% of this movie. That might sound like so much action that it can get boring, but believe me, it is not. It's actually a fucking brilliant movie. Tom Hardy barely talks, the movie is little more than a near-constant chase scene, and has so much action in it that you might think it would become anticlimatic at a certain point, but the movie is like poetry on the big screen. It's fucking genius. The acting is top-notch, the action is extrmely entertaining, the style and imagery - aside from one really bad CGI sequence - is a visual feat, and the score is wonderful! This movie works on each and every level and I might just watch it again! 

Fury Road

 This movie is wicked smart too. It's an action flick, but it knows how and when to use that action. I know the action is almost non-stop, but allow me to explain. There is a lot of chasing and fighting, but even when it settles down, the characters are still literally running for their lives. The ingenious part of it all is that during these breaks in the fighting, the character development takes places. These people have the gas pedal to the floor, but this is when we get to know who they are, what makes them tick. The fighting has stopped, but they are running from the people trying to kill them - so things have only mildly calmed down - but this is when we get the chance to know them. It's a stroke of genius and actually makes me sad George Miller doesn't make more movies; because it really is a fucking bloody brilliant move.

Fury Road
The performances in this movie are absolutely fantastic too. Top fucking notch. I have heard some complain that Tom Hardy was a little too quiet as Max. Max is quiet. He is not a social butterfly, but I do have to admit Hardy's version is even more quiet than Mel Gibson's. But I'll be God damned if it doesn't work - and work extremely well. He talks less than Gibson's version of the character, but we see a little more about what makes Max tick. He is a loner who has lost his loved ones. He is constantly dealing with the emotional consequences of that. I don't know how these people died, but he obviously blames himself, is tortured by their deaths, and spends the remainder of his blaming himself for what happened to them - and just fighting to survive. Litearlly. The man has no life outside of existing. He eats and fights; for the right to live. He also tries to avoid people as much as possible. He will do the right thing if pressed, but he will go to great lengths to not have to put himself in that situation. He doesn't want to be responsuble for anyone but himself. He is quiet, but as his time with Furiosa and the wives passes, he understand their goals, and believes in them. It’s surprisingly touching for this kind of movie. It’s not sappy at all and you’re glad Max shows what little humanity he has left. It's really quite touching watching the character grow and regain some of his humanity.

I know Max is the title character of the franchise, but I’ll be damned if Theron doesn’t steal the show. She is kinda the main character. We get to know what drives her and she’s on-screen as much – if not more – than Max. She is a  complete and total bad-ass who is right up there with Ellen Ripley or Sarah Connor, you will definitely root for her. She is a good person trying to do the right thing in this absolutely horrible world they all live in.  I know it would be new territory for this franchise, but I wouldn’t mind a spinoff about her one bit. It might actually be a nice way to give a little longevity to this re-launched series.

Nicholas Hoult was also quite good as Nux. I won’t say a whole lot, but his character arc was very good. He was given quite a bith of depth for a henchmen.

I wouldn’t say Immortan Joe was one of the all-time great movie villains, but that doesn’t mean he was bad at all. em>The Road Warrior pretty much owns the title of best villains as far as Mad Max movies go, but I found him to be more memorable than the rest of the villains from the series; including a separate character played by the same actor in the original Mad Max.. His portrayal of this character is better than Toe Cutter in the original movie. Toe Cutter was a little rambly and not the most interesting guy. Most tyrants in this type of role simply boss henchmen around. Not Joe. He hunted Furiosa and Max with complete and total obsession. He was not going to sit by and let them get away with his prized posessions. They were not going to get away with his wives.

I don’t know all the names of the girls playing the wives – and I’m too lazy to look up all five of them – but I thought they were all very good too. They were basically Joe’s play things that he used to have children with and cement his legacy. They’re victims. But as time goes on, they start to contribute more and help Furiosa and Max when necessary. They all had different personalities that stood out at different times in the movie; and they were all good.

This movie also did a really good job of capturing the insanity and weirdness that is the Mad Max universe. This is a world without rules or morals. There is slavery, sexual depravity – I’m fairly “whatever floats your boat”, but some of the characters in this world are just plain sick – insane car chases, people screaming, and all kinds of mayhem. It captures this aspect of The Wasteland very well and kicks it up a notch without taking it too far like far too many action movies nowadays. Much like Terminator 2, this movie transcends the genre. I was skeptical about this movie, but I ended up absolutely loving it. If you have a hankering for a good action movie, this is your cure. This is the best straight up action movie in years. See it in 2D though, the 3D is nothing special and actually detracts from viewing experience.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on May 27, 2015. It was updated on August 10, 2020.

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