Movie Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

Posted: May 21, 2015 in Film
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I saw this film last Thursday, so sorry this has taken so long for me to post. My mind has JUST NOW stopped racing about it!

Action is a genre I have a love hate relationship for. It seems as though for every film that comes out there are about six more that are utter crap. And I’m talking traditional action, not mixed genres. Furious 7 upon further reflection left me with a bitter sweet taste for action films. While I did, and still really enjoy the film overall (especially for the ending,) when I started to think about it a few days after seeing it I actually realized exactly how much sexism was in the film. Now, objectification of women happens in ALL the Furious films, but it seemed to be REALLY pushed on the viewers in F7 and that made me think twice about not only how much I liked that film, but how much such things happen in action films in general. Think about it: action is a genre typically aimed at male audiences, and what do [a majority] or men like in their action films? Violence and women.

With actions films being so successful, why would anybody attempt to break that mold? Well, because it’s old and it needs to be broken. Action films can star strong female leads now, and the films can be more than just mindless violence. They can actually, gasp, have character growth and a story. ALL of this is present in Mad Max: Fury Road. 

Now, I’ll admit- when I saw the first trailer for this film I wasn’t sure I even wanted to see it in the cinema. I already had Furious 7 on my list of mindless action films for the year and wasn’t sure I wanted another one. But then the film started to gain some major buzz the weeks leading up to it’s release. So I decided, what the hell- I’ll go and see it. I had little expectations for what I’d be in store for. What I did expect was a two hour ‘splosion filled romp through a post apocalyptic wasteland. While that’s mainly what the viewers of Fury Road will get there is so much more that goes on with our characters.

We open on Max, who’s alone (as always.) He’s a man troubled by his past and not quite “all there.” He’s quickly picked up by  a gang of “War Boys” who follow the orders of the tyrant Immortan Joe who rules over The Citadel. Joe is a god, of sorts, to his people. Many worship him, while those who hate him stay silent. That is except for one. Imperator Furiosa is tried of Joe and his sadistic leadership. Along with restricting his people’s water supply and other resources, he has kidnapped many women over the years and uses them for his personal breeding purposes. His newest batch has had enough and wants to be freed. So Furiosa takes them in secret (while she’s supposed to be going for a fuel run) and plans to escape to her homeland where she was originally taken from as a child. She doesn’t get very far before Joe finds out exactly what has happened, and he sends a war party out after her. Max is now a War Boy’s blood bag, and has to be strapped to the hood of one of their cars. But through a series of events he manages to escape and hitches a ride with Furiosa and her “shipment.” While he starts out really not caring about what happens to Furiosa or any of the other women (as long as he’s able to escape) Max starts to form a bond with these women (and Nux, a War Boy who begins to understand how evil and untrustworthy Joe really is.) Can Max and Furiosa escape Joe and his horde, and at what cost?

6 Insane GIFs from the New 'Mad Max' Trailer

It may be weird to start off a pros list for an action film with how visually stunning it is, but DAMN- this film is BEAUTIFUL. Miller proves yet again that he can make a fantastic and visually pleasing action film. From the moment it started to when the credits rolled I was complacently consumed by this film and never taken out of it. The color palate is warm and chaotic, like a fireball engulfing you. Action is amped to utterly fantastical quality, and framed perfectly so that you never miss a moment of it in all it’s splendid glory. Obviously many of the moments in this film need a massive amount of suspension of disbelief, but is you kind of went in to a Mad Max film expecting realism then… well, you’re silly.

The action is also really well paced so that it revved up to get your heart pounding, but also will allow for ebb and flows so that some of the smaller action moments can happen. We have car chases but then on top of that you have gun gun battles, fist fights, and explosions. A lot of times in action films everything is framed of edited so that you’re really only focusing on one of those things happening. Not here. Every bit of action gets its moment in this film, ensuring that the viewer never misses a moment of any of it. It’s quite literally (and I know this is a cliche analogy) like being on a roller coaster.

I feel like the ebb and flow of the scenes is extremely complimented by the wonderful scoring done by Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL.) It’s a super charged score befitting of such an action film that has super intense moment while also having very contrasting feeling moments that get you to feel more than just adrenaline. I have to say though, some of my favorite moments in the score go to this guy:

The acting is splendid. I mean first off you have Tom Hardy as Max, taking up the iconic role from Mel Gibson. Hardy does an amazing job, as always. He not only brings back the isolation of the character that we’re familiar with but also adds more heart than we’ve ever seen before. We can see more of what’s ticking in Max’s head than before, and over the course of the film Max actually gains empathy for other characters and realizes that maybe he doesn’t always have to be alone and that maybe there is a road to redemption. 

Then you have Charlize Theron’s Furiosa, who is honestly one of the most amazing action hero/heroines ever created in any kind of medium. She drives the soul of this film from start to finish. Her struggle to free Joe’s captive “wives” and return to her home pushes her forward, even when things are looking bleak. It’s her compassion, rage, and drive that hooks us. That and the fact that she can kick some major ass!  The fact that film actually focuses on Furiosa and less on Max has a lot of people talking. Miller brought us a new Ellen Ripley of sorts with Furiosa. . We’re ready for more characters like her in action films. And she isn’t the only female hero in this film. We get a whole fleet of them by the ending. It’s wonderful, and Miller proves to us that women aren’t

just eye candy or “help.” I can’t wait for more films from him that feature such strong female leads, and hopefully more directors will take notes from this as well.

The makeup effects and visual effects in Fury Road were flawless as well. While there are moments from time to time during the epic battles that you can see some CG manipulation, it seems to fit with the overall visual style I think. The makeup and costumes of all the characters on screen fit the desolate world around the characters. Be it to show how diseased, and decrepit the characters are, or to have an intimidation factor the costumes and makeup all have a purpose and feel organic. Same goes for all the sets and, probably most importantly, the vehicles. The vehicles are war machines seemingly designed for one reason- to kill (or, you know, to seriously maim. ) All of these elements fit together like some sort of demented jigsaw puzzle for the final product.

I have a few final notes on the film. Overall I was stunned by how the violence was handled. In a R-rated film, which contains almost nonstop violence and action throughout, most of the worst stuff happens off frame, or it’s somewhat out of focus. I could probably only count a handful of times in the whole film that I saw real bloodshed or dismemberment. It was all… very tasteful. Which seems really weird to say, especially in a world where many of the R rated action films have no qualms about showing disembowelment, or blood squirting wounds this film. It was a welcomed change, and I’m someone who doesn’t really mind that. It shows that you can have a really good action film without having to have obscene amounts of gore.

Probably my only qualm with the entire film is that out of the cast I only noted one character that was not Caucasian (that being Zoe Kravitz.) There was a real lack of racial diversity, and I’m not quite sure why that was… but it was kind of obvious.

Overall though Mad Max: Fury Road is a film that I HIGHLY recommend to anybody who loves a good action film.  While the movie defiantly gets the blood pumping and is unrelenting on the action throughout, it does allow for some genuine character development and growth. The violence, while not overly gory (with the exception of a few scenes) does get pretty intense at time. Visually stunning, well acted, and directed Fury Road is defiantly a film you should treat yourself to see on the big screen. Overall it is an action film that has re-written what it means to be an action film.

  1. mediocrenick says:

    I firmly believe that Fury road is perhaps the best action oriented science fiction of the last decade.


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