Movie Review: Mad Max Fury Road
Hey a movie review! And for a good movie!
Shortly after the apocalypse-or The Road Warrior-we find Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) still trying to survive and deal with his past. It's a little hard to do when you're captured by a group of "war boys" who decide to use you as an unwilling blood donor (or "bag" as he's referred). However Max soon finds himself in a mad odyssey when he comes between skull masked overlord Immortan Joe (Hugh Keayes-Byrne) and Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), the latter having stolen Joe's "five wives" from him in a dash to freedom. Cue wild car chases and death defying stunts galore.
As you can tell there isn't much plot to Mad Max: Fury Road and that's the way writer-director George Miller likes it. In fact for those complaining about the streamlined narrative it pretty much fits in with past entries in the series, especially The Road Warrior, making Fury Road match up well with the past. What seems to be missed though is that there is a story of survival, redemption and even hope that emerges, making it more than just another cynical post-apocalyptic tale. But let's be serious, the movie's main focus is those action sequences and Miller shows he can outdo men half his age (he's 70!) in this arena and still keep the focus on what matters.
I do agree with some of the criticism that has popped up though that the film is less Max and more Furiosa, which has its plusses and minuses. On the plus side Hardy does a good job when he is finally allowed to take center stage, most notably during the finale but it takes a while to get there. On the other hand having him play second fiddle for a while at least might reduce the comparisons to Mel Gibson's Max. The other plus is that Theron is good-great in fact-as Furiosa, a woman with a single goal in mind that makes her determined to survive and Theron brings a level of complexity to a female action character not seen recently (at least it's better than "I hate Tony Stark, that's why I'm evil" excuse for the Scarlet Witch or the really questionable Black Widow back story in Avengers: Age of Ultron).
The bad side of the film-hey nothing's perfect-is minor but there. Miller almost gets too carried away with the freak show aspects of Immortan Joe's commune that it is more of a distraction than anything else and ultimately plays little in the movie. Also some of the ideas are just plain silly-like that guitar playing dude and the war drummers. Seriously when was the last time someone brought their own personal rock band into a chase?
Even with that Mad Max: Fury Road is a romp, a full blooded ride into craziness that earns the full critical acclaim it is getting. It's lean, stripped and a nice alternative to the overcrowded types of Age of Ultron. See it if you haven't already. Rating: **** out of 4.