Incredible chase sequences. Gritty characters with real depth. A score that gets your blood pumping and your adrenaline racing. An unquestionably evil antagonist and undeniably sexy protagonists. This movie has it all. It’s such an awe-inspiring visual feast of carnage and destruction. I couldn’t look away and I definitely didn’t want to. So much has already been said about this film and it’s completely warranted. What Mad Max Fury: Road brings to the table is more than just a non-stop action movie. There is so much going on here; in the lives of the characters, in what it’s telling us about the nature of humanity, in the way it’s not perpetuating stereotypes about all women being victims in need of rescuing from men. It’s a brilliant movie that you can take for face value and have an amazing time watching and there is also more to it if you care to look.
The main reason that this movie is so successful and it’s getting such overwhelming praise stems from the relatively simplistic storyline. As an audience, we are getting tired of the movies that have parallel universes and intersecting time lines and are the results of five different movies converging into one. There are so many remakes and sequels and prequels that are trying so hard to accommodate their predecessors that their own storyline becomes blurred and muddled. The result, a lot of the time, is a movie that is almost incomprehensible or, at the very least, hard to follow and/or filled with plot holes. None of that applies to Mad Max. Although it is a remake, it doesn’t try to outstrip the original and it doesn’t get too bogged down trying to connect the two or create easily identifiable story arcs. It is it’s own movie and that’s very refreshing. Furthermore, the storyline is so clean and easy to follow.
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, Mad Max: Fury Road takes place in a post apocalyptic world where Max (Tom Hardy) is enslaved by the tyrannical Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) to be used as a blood bag for his warriors. When Immortan Joe’s trusted warrior, Furiosa (Charlize Theron) rescues his five perfect wives in hopes of leading them to freedom, all hell breaks loose as Immortan Joe is willing to do everything in his power to stop them. When Max manages to escape his captors, he and Furiosa form a shaky alliance and do everything they can to outrun Immortan Joe and his men.
Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron were cast perfectly. Although they are getting most of the attention (and rightly so) the rest of the cast were so well suited to their roles as well. None of the characters seemed out of place and there weren’t any moments of, “Who is this guy and what is he doing here?”. I particularly liked the band of women called the Vuvalini, Nux (Nicholas Hoult) and Capable (Riley Keough).
This movie delivers such a positive and powerful depiction of women, which is very uncommon in action films specifically but across all genres as well. There are a lot of strong female characters out there, Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor and The Bride from the Kill Bill movies to name a few, but there are so many more strong male characters who’s goals are to usually rescue a woman. In Mad Max: Fury Road Furiosa sees something wrong and she does something about it; she holds her own and does what needs to be done; she doesn’t take crap and she’s just as capable, if not more capable, than any man. That’s a female character to admire. Also, the five wives, even though they aren’t warriors, have some real grit and don’t play the helpless victim throughout. They do what they can to contribute.
Lastly, this movie wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good without George Miller at the helm. When you have a director come back after twenty years and pick up right where he left off, you can trust that he knows the world well enough to do it justice. I cannot say enough about the design work that went into this movie. It’s so conceptually rich and every minute detail was taken into consideration. I fell right into the world of Mad Max and stayed there the whole time. All the elements came together to create a world more fully realized than I have seen in a long time. Another honourable mention goes to the score. The truck that boasted the war drums and the flame-throwing heavy metal guitar player? Pure awesome.
Overall, this movie is and amazing action flick with fantastic characters and a plot that doesn’t over complicate itself. It’s definitely worth a watch, or two… or five.