Oh, what a lovely, lovely day.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Director: George Miller
Produced by: Doug Mitchell, George Miller, P.J. Voeten
Written by: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton
Music by: Junkie XL
Plot: Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is doing the two things he does best: Wandering the wasteland that is the Australian Outback after some catastrophic event, and slowly letting his mental instability and past regrets consume him.
I had to take that shot. I just had to. I’ll be judged for it some day, but I don’t regret it.
During this adventure (Which I hear takes place between the events of The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome, but don’t quote me on that), Max comes across a group of loonies known as the War Boys, who, being loonies, capture and torture him. The War Boys are led by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who also played Toecutter in the original Mad Max movie), a terrifying Beetlejuice-Bane hybrid who rules his territory thanks to the personality cult that he imposes on his people.
While in the custody of the War Boys, Max gets involved in a conflict with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a badass warrior lady who has taken Joe’s “Breeder Wives” (Disturbing) with her in a giant truck, in a desperate attempt to get them to a better place. Caught between the two factions, Max is in for the most batshit insane ride of his life.
Raise your hand if you would have trusted a 70-year old man (Whose last project was Happy Feet 2) with a $150 million budget for a ultraviolent, batshit insane movie that includes scenes like, uh, this:
In case you can’t see, that is, indeed, an actual scene from the movie that involves a man that looks like a Mutant from The Dark Knight Returns dressed in a red onesie playing a twin-necked electric guitar that is shooting fire.
So, everybody who raised their hands? Total liars.
Actually, I think that picture is a pretty good barometer of whether or not you’ll like this movie. If you’re the kind of person who thinks that combining Mutants, electric guitars, flamethrowers and giant, threatening vehicles are awesome, then you’re gonna have a great time.
And if you’re not? I couldn’t care less, you should still watch this movie. Mad Max: Fury Road is fucking amazing. The only movies that I’ve seen since I’ve started reviewing recent releases that I’ve loved more than Mad Max are Birdman and Whiplash, and even then, I’d have to think really hard about putting them above this glorious movie. I truly believe that this will go down in history as one of the classic, genre-defining action movies, and I also think that it’s definitely the best action movie of the decade so far. It is that fucking majestic.
Credit for the awesomeness should probably be laid at the feet of George Miller, the aforementioned 70-year old director, who makes ageist jackasses like me look like total fools. Unlike other directors who return to their franchises after a long hiatus and succumb to the temptation of overdosing on CGI…
… Miller wisely decided to use as little CGI as possible, relying mostly on as many practical effects as around $150 million will get you. The result is a veritable goddamned smorgasbord of unhinged vehicular carnage throughout the giant action scene that is this movie.
That last sentence wasn’t an exaggeration, by the way. Fury Road is essentially a two-hour long action scene with some (Very, very well done) dramatic scenes interspersed throughout. You would think that a setup like that would be extremely tedious .
That is not the case with Fury Road. I never once grew tired of the relentless action. Why is that? Well, I’m not sure, but I’ll chalk it up to some combination of the skillful direction of George Miller, the terrific uses of practical effects, my own personal uncontrollable bloodlust, and the score from both Junkie XL and the freak with the guitar, who, awesomely enough, is actually incorporated into the score, to terrific effect.
Aside from being just a terrific score on its own, the music really contributes to an atmosphere of franticness when it calls for it. Believe me, nothing gets your heart pumping like a guiet score getting interrupted by guitars and drums pounding along at a relentless, breakneck pace.
An awesome action movie wouldn’t be awesome without some badass characters fucking shit up, though, and thankfully, Fury Road delivers awesomely on that front too. Tom Hardy is the supposed lead of the movie, replacing Mel Gibson as the titular character. He doesn’t say much, unsurprising, since Mad Max has never been the chattiest of protagonists, but his scowling, brooding, insane demeanor more than does the trick, selling the fact that he’s a goddamned badass who will tear your damned throat out if you so much as squint at him.
Nicholas Hoult is also terrific as a War Boy named Nux, who I’m not going to get into for fear of spoilers. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley does a good job of redeeming herself for Transformers: Dark of the Moon with a strong, badass performance here, while Hugh Keays-Byrne is suitably scary as Immortan Joe.
The real standout, though, is the arguable star of the movie, Charlize Theron, who absolutely KILLS it as Furiosa. The rest of this movie could have been total shit, and it still would have been awesome as a whole because of Charlize Theron.
And she pisses off sexists, so that’s awesome too.
Overall: Go see this movie. Just do it. You won’t regret it. Unless you’re epileptic, then maybe wait for the Blu-Ray release. I dunno, just watch the damn movie, alright?