As the release of Mad Max: Fury Road neared, I found my interest piqued. You see, The Road Warrior has a very special place in my nostalgic heart, and I’ve enjoyed all of the other movies in the series, so I had to check it out. I really didn’t know what to expect because, at that time, I just thought it was some kind of reboot, so my enthusiasm was tempered. Then I found out that George Miller, the man behind all the other Mad Max movies ,was in the driver seat, which made me feel a lot better. Then I found out that it was not a reboot, but the next installment in the franchise–another plus in my book. Then I checked out Rotten Tomatoes, the movie rating website that lets the viewers rate the movie instead of just the critics, and saw that the reviews were overwhelming positive. I was sold. I find that I put more stock into what the general movie-going public thinks of a movie than I do for any movie critic. The reason for that is simple: not all things appeal to all people. I can go to an art museum, see a work of art by a master, and think meh, while the critics rave about it. While a simple kid’s drawing I find fascinating. Many people who make their living by dissecting things sometimes have a problem accepting things for what they are.
I took my son, to see the movie at an early matinee, and I was blown away. Now let’s just get something out of the way right now. Mad Max: Fury Road is not high drama, and anyone that is going in expecting such, well, you’re just silly. The franchise has always been high octane, and full of Miller’s wired interpretation of a post-apocalyptic future. There are some meaningful things sprinkled throughout the movie, but in this kind of film, you go for the action, and the art that is its visual presentation. The plot line for the movie is so simple that you could write it on a napkin with space left over, but that doesn’t matter, because you are holding onto the edge of your seat the entire time. From the opening scene, the movie takes off at high speed, barely slowing down, and when it does, it’s only for brief moments, to let the story catch up, as much as it is for you to catch your breath. It’s a two-hour movie, but by the time the ending credits rolled, it seemed like only forty-five minutes had gone by, if that.
I’m not going to give you specifics, because that would ruin the show, but I will tell you this: it’s full of crazy characters, massively crazy hot rods, and unbelievable action. Of all the previous Mad Max films, The Road Warrior was my favorite, and for the same reason. It grabbed you by the throat and didn’t let go, and this film is cut from the same cloth, right down to Miller using the same cinematography techniques that he used in the first two films.
What I will talk about is the cast, and while I could gush over how cool it was that Hugh Keays-Byrne, playing one of the film’s villains, also played the main bad guy in the original Mad Max, the people I especially want to gush over are Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. Hardy is taking over the role of Max from Mel Gibson, and I was happy with that choice even before I saw the performance, but after watching the movie, man, did he nail it. Even with a limited amount of dialogue, I was sold with his performance of Max. What stood out the most was Hardy’s ability to capture the same mannerisms of Max that Gibson had built into the character. While Hardy did a great job, and I was pleased as punch with his performance, it was Theron who stole the show. I’m familiar with her work, but I never would have thought that she was possible of pulling off such a strong female lead character. She is a great actress, and her performance in Monster is a testament to hat fact, but man, she was a fistful of awesomeness in this film. Usually in films, especially action films, Hollywood grabs a pretty face, then tries to mold her into a badass, which (lots of times) just doesn’t work. Theron does have a pretty face, but after her performance here, there’s no denying that she can also be a badass in a totally believable way. I was so impressed with her performance that if Theron took the Liam Neeson route and decided to turn her career towards the action genre, I feel confident saying she would be the highest female action lead in demand.
To sum it all up, this was one-hundred percent fun. If you like the original Mad Max movies, you’ll love it. If you like action flicks, you’ll love it. I enjoyed it so much that I saw the movie twice, and I’m looking forward to seeing it again so I can catch all that I missed. Do yourself a favor, and go catch this one in the theaters where the booms from the stereos vibrate through your seat.