REVIEW: Mad Max: Fury Road

REVIEW: Mad Max: Fury Road

Ah, Mad Max… the film series that’s carved itself a nice little niche in the cinema world through its wacky characters, post-apocalyptic settings, and cool cars… arguably what the series is known best for, in my opinion.

Mad Max is a series that’s captured the imagination of the world. Especially so, considering that many elements of the series have influenced and found their way into many other stories of the genre.

While the first film hit the screens in the late 1970s, the latest installment, Mad Max: Fury Road, was released in 2015 and to say that it was a hit would be an understatement.

On its release, it was hailed as one of the greatest action films of all time.

And almost five years later, it still retains said praise.

With any movie that reboots a series, there are always questions and concerns of how it would stand to the original set of movies, but it’s safe to say that Fury Road cemented the series’ legacy in the 21st century.

That being said, let’s hit the road and get down to business.

As if there were any doubts, the acting is amazing.

Of course, the focus goes to Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron for playing the titular Max and Furiosa, respectively, but everyone slips into their roles here.

There isn’t a wooden performance in the house.

The meat on these bones, however, comes from the world building and the action, elements that Mad Max has always had a penchant for.

What sets Mad Max apart from other movies of the genre is how “weird” it is.

I don’t mean that in a bad way, the movies have always been weird in their creativity.

Whether it’s slight deviations from our reality, like calling gasoline “guzzoline,” inventing a completely different culture with its own lingo, or giving the characters wacky names.

I feel that no other post-apocalyptic series has really risen up to the same level of uniqueness.

And Mad Max has always done this weirdness well, it doesn’t seem cheesy or out of place, either.

This weirdness is honestly half the charm of the series, and Fury Road certainly doesn’t lack any of it considering the phrases for insults and admiration used by the Citadel’s War Boys, such as “shiny” and “chrome” replacing our “cool” and “amazing.”

It feels like a natural dialect for this group that’s been living in this cult-like community for however many years.

For the action, there are so many moments of this movie that are straight-up awesome.

I mean, what isn’t awesome about a bunch of desert-warriors speeding around the desert in souped-up cars accompanied by a heavy metal soundtrack?

Some of the soundtrack is actually justified in the movie by the “Doof Warrior” who shreds on a double-necked guitar that also shoots flames out of the tip… which the effects crew went out of their way to actually make.

Not to mention that the Doof Warrior is jamming out on his appropriately named “Doof Wagon,” which is a huge truck stacked to the brim with stereos and a full cadre of drummers.

I have no memory of any other movie that justifies its own soundtrack, but if that isn’t cool, then I don’t know what is.

It’s shiny, it’s chrome, and I love it!

Now, this movie may seem like a two-hour, testosterone-fueled, gasoline-chugging adrenaline fest, but that is only a backdrop for the story.

The story is very well-written, and while the whole “escape from the bad guys” angle has been pretty well-covered, Fury Road uses the beginning moments to explore the Citadel and show us why they are the bad guys.

In these moments we see glimpses of the brutish, warrior culture that permeates the Citadel and gives us a reason to root for Max and company to get away from them.

What’s even cooler about these moments is that they are shown to us and not told.

In just the first few minutes we see the War Boys capture Max, taking him back to the Citadel and involuntarily tattoo him before he breaks free.

The next scene plays on the primal fear of being chased, and in many ways mirrors the predator-prey aspect of nature as Max is swarmed by the ghost-like War Boys… the wasp in the hive of bees.

What’s even better is that there is very little dialogue which allows the brain to completely engage itself in the movie.

And as the title screen appears to instruments that sound like revving engines, you’re hooked.

Since the last Mad Max film (released in 1985) it’s clear that in that 30-year span, director George Miller hasn’t lost his touch.

Final Rating: A

I could go on and on about the whole rest of the movie, but it would be criminal to rob you, dear reader, of experiencing the spectacles of Fury Road for yourself.

Whether you are new to the series or not, I highly recommend giving Fury Road a watch as this is one movie that definitely lives up to its praise.