Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
The future belongs to the mad
Have you felt the HYPE? A modern entry in a movie we haven't seen anything from outside of repeats on television in 20 years being heralded as the "best action flick of all time!" Could it be that even with a change of casting on the titular hero the movie could really outshine even it's predecessors? Can a movie about a wasteland and crazy looking cars really win over such a huge modern audience that always seems to get upset about the dumbest things? Is it shiny and chrome, or will you find it mediocre?
Max lives in a pretty desert wasteland. It has dirt, low stores of water and fuel, and a whole lot of angry quasi-mutated hot rod-ers that are willing to blow up your car and string you up as a giant blood bag for a quick pick-me-up. Turns out, Max is having a rather bad day, as just that ends up happening. Sure, he tries to make an escape from the would-be blood bank, and he's actually having a rather successful time of it if it weren't for these haunting visions from his past that keep blasting into his head at the worst times. Needless to say, he's re-caught and caged up.
You might think that this story is going to be about Max, but we take a moment to introduce a few more characters here - the 'owner' of everyone in this particular place and one of his finest drivers. A speech ensues, as he does a bit of rallying before sending said driver and a caravan of guards out to barter with Fuel Town for some gas. On the way there though, the driver takes an unnecessary and unknown left turn, and our little dictator finds himself rather anxious about why his best driver would do such a thing. After rushing to a vault, it turns out that all of his best breeders are missing - and this is one man who is very serious about the loss of his property (or "wives" if you could call them that). Rather furious about this turn of events, he gathers up a war party to go after the renegade driver. Not to be left out of the action, we see that Max (now being used as a blood bag) gets strapped to the front of a car as it's lacky owners set out to prove their worth to their leader.
Some vicious car acrobatics and explosions go on, and it isn't before long that Max finds himself in another car wreck, dragging his would-be transfus-ee through the desert to the very truck they were just pursuing to try and get free of his restraints. Outside of his muzzle, he manages to do this - but he doesn't get far after stealing the truck, as it's rigged with a series of switches that require specific timing in order to operate. Thus, Max finds himself rapped into the driver's quest to deliver the would-be wives of the dictator to a safe place surrounded by green in a desolate wasteland. It's not going to be easy though - not only is that dictator chasing them, but he's summoned reinforcements from both Fuel Town and the Bullet Farm - led by two characters just as crazy as himself. Wrap all of this up with the already dangerous path the drivers plan has plotted for them, and it might just end up a miracle if any of them make it out to see another day.
As always, any movie that tries heavily to use practical effects over CG ones is after my heart. Stunts in this movie are great, providing plenty of fanfare moments for fans of action and some intense chasing acrobatics of various vehicles in a multitude states of destruction. The overall look and vibe of the movie should be enough to actually satisfy the fans of the previous Max films as well, at the very least in terms of things going out on screen. The lead characters all have a distinct vibe when it comes to the three 'enemy' leaders and our two main hero characters, although admittedly a lot of the "fodder" types can get a little lost in the crowd. In that respect, the actual cars themselves could be argued to have more character and uniqueness to them than most of the human cast - something of which the fans of the second Mad Max should love.
Actors do a pretty good job in their roles, at times leaving a bit of room for a little camp to set in and make you feel at home with what you are expecting out a movie where gas is scarce and yet everyone gets around in big honking cars with turbo-chargers and nitrous and ten tons of spikes. If your into character development, some of the characters do have it there - arguably how much character you can get into is really going to be a person-by-person basis on this one. I wouldn't go as far as to say any of these characters break any given molds, but there's enough there that most should at least find one character that they can like. Oddly though - and this really only effects those who've traveled with the series as it's gone - Max seems to have some issues as a character this time around. Remember how he had a daughter that died? Oh, you don't? Probably because he never did - even though that's what it would seem his flashbacks are trying to tell us. You could argue that he's gone so mad out there in the desert that he doesn't even remember his own kid, but that would only serve to make things even more confusing if you tried to fit it between or after the other movies. Granted, we could just treat it as a complete reboot as far as his character goes - but then it becomes a little sad that we've gone through all the trouble to put in all these references to the past movies. Beyond that, it sometimes feel's as though the presence of Max is a bit of an afterthought - but that isn't necessarily a down side from a stand-alone movie point either.
Plot is simple. It's straight forward. I really don't know what else to say about that to be honest. The audio team did a fine job with balancing things so in most instances you can understand actors even over all the revving engines and explosions. Soundtrack wise, it's pretty good stuff. You won't really remember any of the songs necessarily, but you'll at least remember "that one cool flamethrower guitar guy that played that one song that went dundundundundundun." Either way, the soundtrack fits and helps add to the scenes precisely as a soundtrack should, so no complaints there.
Was it an awesome and fun movie? Without a doubt. Right here, however, is where the boos and hisses start chiming in - do I think it's the best action movie ever? No. For having nothing in twenty plus years, the fact this movie feels as Mad Max as it does is a phenomenal feet that a lot of series getting reboots and rehashes just can't manage after two or three tries. It has some awesome car action, and lots of well done effects - it's a monster of a car action post-apocalypse movie. Can I say without any doubt in my mind that this movie is better than something like John Wick, or that stellar scene in Kingsman, or brought me as many memorable moments as Terminator 2 or Aliens? No, I really can't. For sure, I'd say that dang near everyone should check this movie out - as it is one heck of a fun movie to watch and well put together - but to lay claim to it being the best movie ever would be lying from my own point of view, which isn't to say that everyone else has their own opinion that's equally as valid for themselves. Go grab it on a rental if nothing else, and witness yourself a high-octane action extravaganza!