[REVIEW] Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) – ManlyMovie

[REVIEW] Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)


Two action movies have stuck out for me over the past five years.  The first was The Raid, then last year’s John Wick, those to me were freak incidents that wouldn’t be topped for years.  After John Wick I thought, quietly, well, that’s it for another five years.  Won’t see anything like that again.  I don’t really know how or why I doubted the God, George Miller – maybe it was a personal worry that his Fury Road looked too outrageous to actually work.  Well, I’ve barely slept since catching this movie and all doubts were blown to hell.  This movie has left me slack jawed, to the point where I don’t even know if I should be reviewing it so soon after seeing it.

You don’t really need to now much plot-wise, for an animal like this.  We’re deep in the post apocalypse and a tyrant, Immortan Joe (played by Hugh Keays-Byrne) begins chasing a leader of a band of scavengers, Imperator Furiosa, after she ‘rescues’ his wives.  Joe was keeping the seed flowing, see, since humanity was on its deathbed.  Joe and Mad Max, the desolate shell of a man we know, but not the same Max from the original movies, have history, thus Max agrees to assist Furiosa’s crew and make good their escape.

I’ll get some criticisms out of the way first, but don’t worry, they could probably be interpreted as nitpicking.  First, I honestly had no serious problem with Tom Hardy replacing Mel Gibson as Mad Max.  But his while he is good in the role and someone worse could’ve easily have been cast, Gibson’s Max was superior and this is especially evident if you warmed up recently by watching the older movies.  Hardy’s Max is a little more twitchy and unsettled, not reflecting Gibson’s cooler, aloof Max.  Some of the flashbacks… also a little out of place.  Max’s lost child is now not a baby boy but a teenaged daughter.  This is a soft reboot and maybe variation is good, but these are things I would’ve changed.

A lot has been said about a supposed streak of feminism in the movie.  But to be honest, apart from Max’s kid being forcibly changed, I was having too much fun to care.  Yes, you could probably make the case for it if you want to, but to be honest you’d be stretching it with a movie like this, where everything on the screen is just so kinetic and primal. And really, Max, the former cop, is the pivotal character who more than once ultimately saves the day for bewildered women.

The film is an assault on the senses, George Miller pins you to your chair and slaps you across the face back and forth.  But in a good way.  The speed is there, you can feel it, and the movie is mostly practical apart from the occasional noticeable greenscreen.  When a car is wrecked in this movie, forget it – it’s written off in the real world.  This counts for gearheads, we need to smell that gasoline and pungent rubber burning.  There are monster trucks, there are black on black Interceptors and there are roaring engines that clearly need an oil top up.  There is violence that simply does not belong anywhere outside an ‘R’ rated specification.

After over a decade of watching movies with chase sequences that were so ineptly filmed that I often had to resist the urge to get up and walk out, George Miller shows ’em all how it’s done.  This is how real speed and action is put to screen. I feel quite elated and am having an urging desire to see this movie again.  But in 2D this time…

I made a mistake upon first viewing this movie.  I caught the film in 3D.  I was hoping that the experience would, in a sense, fire the movie ‘straight into the veins’ so to speak, that it would amplify everything.  Bad move, this post-conversion job is weak and that’s being generous.  The film is flat with few scenes actually ‘popping’ and no actual feeling of depth.  The final explosion actually looked completely fake and hacked up.  Maybe this will look different from a 1080p Blu-Ray 3D angle, but in my experience, if it doesn’t grab you by the neck on the big screen, the problem is irredeemable.

This isn’t the best Mad Max movie ever.  Nothing can touch Mad Max 2.  And I would’ve preferred a straight sequel, but it’s the best action movie of the year and probably for some time.  Nobody films a chase sequence like George Miller, he has restored my confidence in action movies and has made my week.  By comparison, Furious 7 looks truly pathetic.