What follows is a “relatively spoiler free” film review by long time friend and bar patron, Huck. Enjoy and tell us what you think, the bar is open.
I watched Mad Max: Fury Road a couple nights ago, and I am going to go ahead and say right up front—I liked it. The story is set in the post-apocalyptic world of the Road Warrior, which fans of the franchise are long familiar with. In this story, however, gasoline is not the resource of contention—humans are. Max, now played by Tom Hardy, is captured by Immortan Joe’s War Boys and used as a “blood bank” so that one of them can maintain his “half-life”. At the same time, Imperator Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, enacts a ruse to liberate Immortan Joe’s multiple breeders from their life of bondage. Joe and his War Boys, with Blood Banks in tow, give chase, and the hunt is on.
I have long liked, both, Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. While I admit, Hardy has, in the past, had a tendency to somewhat overact on occasion, I think he is improving with time as he continues to develop his skill as an actor. Even at his worst, I have enjoyed his several films, and find myself continually going back and watching his past work that I haven’t yet seen. Theron, on the other hand, has proven time and again that she is a top-quality actress who can deliver the goods in whatever type of role she takes on, be it drama or action.
There has been a good bit of fan confusion as to whether Fury Road was a remake, a sequel, or a prequel. Writer/Director/Producer George Miller, however, claims the story is meant to take place very shortly after Beyond Thunderdome. “It’s not precise chronology, because I never intended for there to be, but after the last one. AfterThunderdome.” As Miller explains, this was the main reason Mel Gibson was not recast in the role that made him a star. “…this is not a ‘Mad Max’ in which he’s an old warrior. He’s meant to be that same contemporary warrior. I guess in the same way that James Bond had been played by various people, it was time to hand over the mantle.”
While Miller’s admission does clarify the timeline, the imprecise chronology is exposed in a variety of inconsistencies that are contrary his stated intent. For example, Furiosa and Max are quite visibly the same approximate age. Yet, near the end of the film, we learn that she was born after the apocalypse, while prior films clearly establish Max’s existence before it all took place.
Another chronological flaw in the latest film is the re-emergence of Max’s famous Interceptor. The car featured heavily in the original Mad Max, and made an appearance at the beginning of its sequel. However, mid-way through The Road Warrior, the Interceptor met a fiery demise, and was not restored in Beyond Thunderdome. Yet, miraculously, the opening scene of Fury Road shows Max and the Interceptor, and the car makes other brief, yet noticeable appearances later in the film.
Timeline inconsistencies like these may turn off the die-hard Mad Max traditionalists, but for those who just want to see another chapter in the Road Warrior saga, they shouldn’t be deal breakers. Some of them may not have even been noticed, and you can thank or curse me later for pointing them out.
Perhaps some of the loudest noise—and that is exactly what it is—regarding Mad Max: Fury Road came from feminists and those opposed to them. Many feminists, including Vagina Monologues author, Eve Ensler, saw the movie, with its powerful female lead and plotlines that involve combating female exploitation, as a leap forward in the action film genre. On the flip side, there was at least one call by “men’s rights activists” to boycott the film because of its “feminist propaganda”. Personally, I find both assertions to be off the mark. The Mad Max world has never shied away from portraying women as strong and capable, whether it was Virginia Hey as The Road Warrior’s Warrior Woman or Tina Turner as the ruler of Barter Town in Beyond Thunderdome. Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa simply adds to what has already been long established—in the dystopian world of the Road Warrior, anyone, man or woman, can be a victim or a victor.
Ultimately, anyone looking for things to complain about in Mad Max: Fury Road will be presented with plenty of reason to do so. Frankly, that fact speaks more about our world of perpetual outrage than it does about the film. But if you are simply looking for 2 hours full of extreme action, outrageous vehicles, and death defying stunts, Mad Max: Fury Road delivers.
Run Time: 120 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
DVD/Blue Ray Release Date: Sept. 2015 (estimate)
Mad Max: Fury Road on IMDB