Every half-decade or so, the film industry gives us the antithesis to the over-reliance on CGI and actually dares to give the audience not only an action film that utilises predominately practical effects and phenomenal stunt work, but also team it up with superior and ingenious film-making that makes each one a modern classic. For example;
1981 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
1988 - Die Hard.
1991 - Terminator 2.
1999 - The Matrix.
2008 - The Dark Knight.
In 2015, we have been delivered Mad Max: Fury Road.
It’s hard to contain the sheer excitement I have to explain the experience of witnessing a film like this without sounding biased, or insane, but that’s the reality of it. George Miller has returned to the world he created and turned out what is easily the best action movie of the last five years, if not longer. Every frame of Mad Max explodes with excitement, energy, grit, violence, style, and purpose. It’s a surreal experience to be watching a movie of this calibre and realising that you’re watching something that is important. This NEEDS to be seen. Hollywood needs to know that there is a massive audience for this, and not another CGI shit-storm provided by Michael Bay.
As Lumpsky and I were walking out of Mad Max, I received a phone call from my business partner. After telling him where I was and what I'd just seen, the obvious question came up as to whether I'd seen the first three. When the truth came out that I haven't, and in what I can only assume in autistic fit of rage, Lumpsky tears the phone out of my hand and the following (one-sided from my perspective) conversation unfolded.
"Yeh it's fantastic."
"No, he hasn't seen the other ones."
"Yeh...I don't know what went wrong in his childhood either."
"Yes, it explains a lot."
So yes, I admit, I haven't seen the originals. Is it recommended? Probably, and I will get to them. Is it necessary? Well for someone with an IQ greater than a potato, not at all. In fact, that's one of the subtle, but satisfying aspect of Mad Max; while Lumpsky informed me that it actually made quite a few references to the original three films, for someone like me who doesn't know them, nothing felt out-of-place. In fact, I was just surprisingly relieved to have a movie in this day and age not fall into the trap of having to over-explain EVERY. SINGLE. THING. Implication over explanation. Take note George Lucas. Alas, I digress. What we have with Mad Max: Fury Road is something really special. Not only is it an important slice of Australian culture (not American, as one hysterically uninformed MRA advocate begging men to dodge the movie thinks), it's tonally spot-on, visually extravagant, brilliantly acted by its three leads, perfectly scored, and as previously mentioned, the action is impeccable. Everything about the action in Mad Max feels reel; the grittiness, the effort expended in the punch-ups, the ever-present danger; this film recreates the everyman with a protagonist that is in ever-present danger and for the first half of the film, actually LOSES… he is at the mercy of the enemy, and relies on wit and improvisation to get out of various predicaments, rather than sheer force.
It’s so difficult to contain the excitement I have after having watched Mad Max, let alone craft a coherent review that conveys an objective opinion, so I won’t even bother. However, I will say this; I am SO glad that Mad Max: Fury Road exists. Not as a Mad Max fanboy, but as a frustrated viewer of the CGI-drenched ADD fests we have thrown at us at the same time every year. I can only pray that it doesn’t fall victim to the same fate that happened to 2014’s excellent and bafflingly underexposed Edge of Tomorrow. Please…see this movie. It demands, and will respect, your attention.
Wow. I had high expectations for this film, and Miller blew them out of the water. The best Australian film of all time, almost every element works.
In celebration of Fury Road’s unconventional narrative (almost the entire film is centred around a car chase) and the fact that I have no time due to moving house, I have decided to forgo my fancy book-learnin’ and present my review as a BuzzFeed article. (Without the gifs, as I cannot be arsed to dig up pictures of Aziz Ansari pulling funny faces or 90’s Simpson’s quotes)
19 Reasons why you need to see; Mad Max: Fury Road
1) The film pops visually.
2) Tom Hardy fully embodies the character Max.
3) It’s been a long time between drinks. (30 years!)
4) Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa kicks all the ass.
5) Mel Gibson isn’t in the film.
6) Hugh Keays-Byrne (Toecutter from the original Mad Max), plays the antagonist.
7) The film passes the Bechdel Test if you are the sad type of person that needs to fill out a check-list before watching a damn action movie.
8) The film passes the Bechdel Test if you are the type of person who wants to piss off idiots on the internet by giving Fury Road a bigger box office.
9) Mel Gibson isn’t in the film.
10) Despite being ostensibly a dumb action movie, the film shows rather than tells, and respects its audience enough to assume we are smart enough to keep up. (For lessons on over-explaining, being condescending towards your audience and otherwise poor exposition see the last act of Interstellar)
11) Very little dialogue, suits a character alone in the desert.
12) There is a guy who stands on top of a car, playing a guitar through most of the action scenes. Oh and the guitar also shoots fire.
13) Despite being $100mil cheaper than Fast 7, much better car chases.
14) If Fury Road does well, Millar has already planned a sequel.
15) Borrows themes and aesthetics from previous films, while forging its own identity.
16) Isn’t a reboot, continues Max’s story.
17) The film for one reason or another is 80% less anti-Semetic.
18) There is a scene where a live body is strapped to a car, and blood is drained from their neck, down a chain and into the veins of the driver – in the middle of a violent car chase. (So ridiculous and OTT, that it is worth seeing it just for that.)
19) If you are Australian you will spend half the runtime, picking out background actors from Australian TV shows.
OK so that came in under word count. Here is a Haiku and Limerick on the film.
After thirty years
Max is kicking arse with Theron
Men's rights activists weep
There Once was a mad-man named Max,
Who’s previous actor hated Jews and blacks,
The decision was made to replace,
Mel with someone with grace,
And the new film is set to make stacks.
Looking back on George Miller’s filmography, two things stand out; 1) He knows how to direct Mad Max films. 2) He excels at talking animal movies (Babe, Happy Feet). You know where this is going; his next film should have a stony faced Max riding a smart mouth pig into battle against the evil Emperor Penguin Empire. Call me Hollywood, I have ideas. Until that acid trip of a movie happens though, “that’ll do George, that’ll do”.