The ‘elevator pitch’ for Mad Max: Fury Road must have been this: A fourth Road Warrior movie, as a two hour car chase. And, what else do you need from George Miller’s Mad Max franchise? The question is why it took so long. Perhaps by the less action-y third Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, but let’s not go there. Anybody going to see it will expect that. And they won’t be disappointed. Being disappointed with a movie this fast-paced and just visually so fucking weird will be hard for anybody. The best Mad Max/Road Warrior movie of the first trilogy was always the second one, which was mostly a car chase featuring good people trying to escape from post apocalyptic punk-goths in tricked out horror cars. So too with Fury Road. But lest you think this is merely a dude action movie, consider Charlize Theron, who gets double-billing, and is featured as the main face in some of the movie posters. Because her character’s name is Furiosa: This is her road we’re on, and Max is along for the ride. Director George Miller (who directed the first three Mad Max movies) is giving us not only the loner Max that we loner fan boys love, but a badass female character equal in badass-ness to Ripley from Aliens. This is what many of us, male and female, have wanted, though I don’t know what to cleverly call it—A dude/chick action movie? A dude/lady movie? How about an action movie in which both a man and a woman form and equal partnership kick ass saving the wretched of the earth (male and female) from the Evil Patriarchy. And if that sounds weird, weirdness abounds in Fury Road, to an almost visually unsettling degree, and that from someone who has seen and loved the first three Mad Max movies. I expected bizarre-looking goons driving bizarre-looking vehicles, but in the first five minutes I wondered if it was too much, if the franchise had broken over into absurdity, where viewers would laugh rather than be horrified. But, in a weird way (everything about this movie is weird) it’s kind of like a Shakespeare play (I know, I know…) where the (visual) language is just so different it takes getting used to. But once you do, you’re in. For the whole fucking ride. Apparently, Miller brought Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues in as a creative consultant, causing much outrage amongst the macho fanboys. But I can’t see how that wasn’t the best decision made about this movie. The basic plot (and this is not really a spoiler at this point) is that Furiosa is helping some concubines/sex slaves of the local post-apocalyptic warlord to escape. Warlord is not happy, comes after her with his whole fleet. She has a plan, and gives the women hope, but one of the questions of the movie is whether hope is a good thing or not, whether hope might just be that last thing you have before everything goes to shit, which is interesting since HOPE was Obama’s campaign slogan. In the meantime, we get to see a variety of female characters, from the basically pretty helpless (though there are helpless men too) to some who find strength and ability once they break out of captivity, all the way to Furiosa, who seems to have been born to be bad(ass). The other big theme (or big-ish—you can content yourself with the fight scenes if you want) is redemption, which was always the saving grace of all the Mad Max movies, since in this post-apocalyptic world there are of course, mostly, either good people and bad people, and the selfish survive. But Max, as much as he doesn’t like to get involved, always ends up getting involved and redeeming himself, so that by this fourth movie it’s the weakest part of the story—“Come on Max. Just do it. Do the right thing. You did it in the last three movies.” But yes, Furiosa isn’t exactly ‘good.’ Or, she wasn’t. Or, she was when she was a child, but then she got kidnapped and forced to live in a patriarchy, which has (of course) ruined the world, and so she had to be bad to survive. But she’s really good, now, and sees a possibility (a hope?) that others might not have to live in a world of fear and hate. She was born there. She knows it’s possible. Or hopes. As for Tom Hardy as Max, he does a competent job, though to my mind doesn’t quite have the charisma of Mel Gibson. Though too, he’s not given many lines, nor much of the focus in the beginning. In fact, the movie really really doesn’t gain its true strength (which is saying a lot since violence begins about 30 seconds in and doesn’t hardly stop) until both Max and Furiosa are finally working together. Not romantically. They just understand each other, they’re on the same wavelength, and most importantly, the (grow to) trust each other. Again, without romance. Though that tension is there, it can’t help but be there, and of course they are the perfect couple, or would be if either one of them wasn’t so loner-ish and fiercely independent. I’m hoping this kind of action movie becomes more of the norm, where a date doesn’t have to be a compromise on the part of a woman in the hopes that her dude will then sometime see a chick flick/romance the next time. Instead, now that Hollywood and comic book companies are slowly learning that women like badass women characters, it’s an action movie for everyone. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)John's Rating4.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (1 Vote)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.