Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road (AU/US, 2015)

30 years after the release of 'Thunderdome' Mad Max is finally back. The lone wolf, the single warrior, the loner, the lone soldier, the outcast, the outsider, the man with no name...errr...named Max. The hype has been stratospheric for this one, I have gone into this expecting truly mind blowing things, the greatest action movie ever made? lets see, I will be brutally honest in every aspect.

So the bottom line, this is virtually based around one sequence from 'Mad Max 2' and made into an entire movie. We all know which sequence, the one with that bloody great gas tanker covered in gun turrets and spikes. That sequence was epic on so many levels, a truly award winning vision of distopian  science fiction...where all the goodies get killed, awesome. Now, in this tale Max has been captured by the War boys who are all led by Immortan Joe. Your standard gang of barbaric lunatics, only this time not kitted out in S&M gear, no this time they are all painted up in a tribal sort of way. Long story short, Max has gotta reluctantly help out Charlize Theron's character of Furiosa (with the help of Nicholas Hoult's ill War Boy character, Nux) in saving some damsels in distress from Joe whilst trying to reach some fabled lush green lands. This of course equals a whole load of vehicle chases across the outback which basically never stop.

The first sequence we see is Max's classic and gorgeous black pursuit special (the now famous 1973 Ford XB Falcon GT) getting trashed, wait what??!! I heard about this before hand and I have to say I don't like it one bit, I wanted to see that fucking car in action once again, damn it Miller! Not quite sure how Max's super fast special manages to get wiped out by the collection of clown cars chasing him but never mind, it bloody happened didn't it, ugh!

So one of the first things we see as the real story kicks in is Immortan Joe's citadel which appears to built into a fecking massive cliff. How the hell did they manage to do that? there's like some sprawling catacombs in this rock by the looks of it, I wouldn't of thought anyone had any time in between killing each other and building ridiculous killer automobiles. This is actually one aspect that didn't sit well with me, this whole idea felt way too grand and over the top for a Mad Max movie, it looked like something from the Lord of the Rings trilogy...only with cars instead of orcs. Then if I really wanted to be picky I would ask how everyone is so muscular in this dead post-apocalyptic world, meh don't question it. Its here we start to see the strange freakish array of characters that inhabit this new Earth, gotta say I loved what I saw here for the most part. Miller has always been good at creating these bizarre characters for this franchise and he nails it again here.

Most of the bad guys are just big rippling baldies covered in white paint for some reason (the War Boys), not much background given but they look intimidating for sure. Other citadel dwellers and bad guys come in various shapes and sizes such as the creepy looking Corpus Colossus, a physically disabled child of Joe with exceptional intelligence (a real person with a real disability). Rictus Erectus (Nathan Jones), a huge muscular mammoth of a man, dim-witted and another son of Joe. The Bullet Farmer who is some ugly aging bloke in a suit of bullets a farmer?, hence is name. The People Eater is a big fat bald guy (everyone is bald in the distopian future) who I guess eats people? Again hence is name and the reason he's so fat, he also looks to have lost his nose because he wears some kind of metal plate there. The Doof Warrior who is some crazy blind bloke that rides a war rig (the Doof Wagon) into battle strapped to some huge speakers and playing a fire spouting guitar. This guy seems to have become the new Boba Fett of the movie world but he doesn't actually do anything, in fact I fail to see the point of him or the drummers other than simply to look cool. Admittedly he does look cool, certainly unique with his mothers face for a mask (oh yes), but basically pointless.

Lastly we have Immortan Joe who is easily the most effective looking character I've seen in years. His mask appears to be some kind of breathing apparatus that is attached to some kind of bellows around his neck. The mask is slightly reminiscent of an old WWII pilots oxygen mask but with a terrifying line of big teeth like a skeleton. Not too sure about his ending though, was his mask like...attached to has face and skull? He also seems to wear some kind of transparent body armour with medals and whatnot attached, obviously he suffers from some kind of affliction or disease. Visually this guy looks fucking amazing, the makeup really tops it off with his pale ghostly complexion and silver balding, widows peak hair line. All in all the selection of characters gave off a very 'Dune-esque' (1984) vibe in my opinion.

The action is virtually constant here, its the trademark of the movie (and franchise), non-stop. The main bulk of the action centres around Max and co trying to escape on the tanker under a barrage of gunfire and explosions. Now yeah, we've seen this before in 'Mad Max 2' but this has been ramped up to maximum overdrive, its insane! There are vehicles being torn up and flipped all over, metal mechanical shrapnel shattering all over the desert, bodies are flying everywhere, War Boys are leaping around on pole vault type things hurling explosives, gunfire, stabbings, fisticuffs...all happening on and off various extreme vehicle creations. It all looks completely real (because all the stunts were real), its highly impressive and shows great achievement in both eruptive action and practical effects. On top of that the location work, scenery shots, panoramas and the crisp, bold colour palette really look nothing short of gorgeous, it almost looks too good for this type of movie. Gives you faith in movies again it really does.

That's not to say the action saves it completely, in my view. Amongst all this grade A action you do have to wonder how Max, Joe and others manage to survive some of the horrific fender benders they get into. The good guys battle their way away from the citadel, all that way, only to come back again and do it all again? wut?! The canyon sequence stuck out as a very daft cheesy notion. This biker gang that hides out there, living in and around the canyon walls, which they ride about on...with motorbikes? bit risky isn't it. Also, where did they all get their matching costumes? When the good guys come back through the canyon, do they go a different way? didn't it get blocked off. And it does all seem nuts that all this happens purely because Joe wants his girls back. He unleashes his entire armada and risks everything just for some ass? can't you find more girls in your citadel? Oh and in the end the citadel bad guys just let Max and co into their city and take over? huh? he just killed your leader.

The greatest action flick ever? hmmm not too sure about that, its certainly up there but I still find myself preferring the gritty cult classic 'Mad Max 2' with Gibson. I think Hardy does a reasonable job but he is no Mad Max if you ask me. One thing I hated actually was the deliberate lack of dialog from Max, it worked well in the older films (MM2) simply because there was less to explain, 'MM2' was like a bloody 80's videogame it was so straight forward. Here there are things that could use background information plus the amount of times Max gets into a situation (mainly at the start) where I [b]really[/b] wanted him to just speak! say something!! Explain your situation to Furiosa then she might not try to kill you...ugh! I found that actually frustrating and it didn't need to be like that.

Still, the fact that the goodies went back on themselves towards the end really made me groan frankly. Its like Miller didn't know how to end it so he just made them go back and run the same gauntlet all over again, easy option for more of the same. I won't lie and say I didn't like it, but I won't lie and say I thought it was a stunning movie, the action is monumental at first but after the initial hardcore, automobile, carnage sequence, things felt a little tamer. The initial visual shock and awe that hit my eyeballs, making them swell, started to ease off. So awe-inspiring visuals all round and some great characters...visually at least. Is this a good flick? yes, yes is it, its a very engaging solid action movie, buts lets not get too carried away. Its really a one trick pony if you're honest about it, big gas tanker with goodies fights off hordes of baddies, rinse, wash and repeat until credits. The only real difference is its Furiosa's story, and to a degree, Nux too, unfortunately Max is just along for the ride in his 30 year old reboot.


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