"So I exist in this wasteland, hunted by scavengers" - Max Rockatansky
Max is still mad after all these years and ekes something of a life out of the wastelands. Unfortunately for Max he's captured by the War Boys of Immortan Joe, who have need of blood transfusions to hold back the ravages of cancer. Yeah, say what! Max makes a break for freedom but is eventually brought to heel in The Citadel, Immortan's imperial palace. Meanwhile Imperator Furisoa is making a supply run in a "war rig", large truck as last seen in Mad Max 2, with a number of other vehicles in support. Furisoa decides to make a detour which brings her band into conflict with various enemies, which surely does whittle down the War Boy escort. Seems the Imperator is making off with Immortan Joe's wives and hopes to reach "the green place", where the desert stops and the crops begin.
Naturally Immortan Joe isn't going to allow his prized wives to flee the nest and unleashes his entire army in pursuit of the rebellious Furisoa. Along for the ride are Nux, a War Boy who is using Max as a "blood bag", which leads to Max being chained to the front of a supped up car so Nux can top up as required. Furisoa leads her pursuers into an armada storm with death and destruction ensuing. Max escapes, and after a tussle with Furisoa and the brides grudgingly joins their quest. Can Furisoa, with a little help from Max and her friends, fend off the mutant forces of Immortan Joe and can she lead the wives to the promise land? Basically one long car chase ensues.
First up I'm going to say I had a lot of fun with this movie and enjoyed the non-stop adrenaline rush from first frame to last frame, second I'm going to say Fury Road simply isn't a good movie, there are a hell of a lot of problems with it. Yeah I know everyone is jumping on the internet bandwagon of "best action movie ever", but to be honest it's not in the top ten and is a pale imitation of Mad Max 2. I'll get to explaining that shortly, if you haven't already rushed off to blast Sminds with a scathing indictment of how we suck and are probably gay. Bring it on as apparently it's a crime against humanity not to like this flick whole heartedly and without reservations.
Basically the movie evolves to one long car chase, think last twenty minutes of Mad Max 2 (1981) or Neil Marshall's study in homage Doomsday (2008), which seems to have the fanbois as brainwashed at Immortan's War Boys. As opposed to the general bandwagon that claims its non-stop action, were they taking bathroom breaks and missed some minutes of the movie, there are a number of scenes where things slow down for some exposition, or what passes for character development in this flick. So we get high octane action, then a slower scene, then high octane action, rinse and repeat. You guessed it kids, the pacing is completely off, there's no build to anything, it's in your face and then prancing around like a woodland nymph. At our session we had folk checking their texts, and a few walk outs, and a lot of peeps getting much needed refreshments during the course of the movie. This isn't what you get in your high octane movie that doesn't let up, get off the bandwagon, there's a lot of falsity being written about Fury Road.
Don't expect character development, themes, or sub plots, you know the stuff the low attention span crew amongst us think depreciates a movie's value. George Miller has distilled exactly what his target audience wants; action, explosions, and nothing like a viable plot getting in the way. In fact there's so many explosions going down in Fury Road that I'm surprised Michael Bay isn't humping George Miller's leg even as we speak. So yeah the movie is for the action freaks, the rest of us have to simply shake our heads and wonder what happened to the dude that brought us Mad Max (1979) and Mad Max 2, classics of Aussie cinema. Here I'm simply refusing to believe Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985) exists.
Now as a visual experience Fury Road surely does shake it up and add the wow factor in places, however even here there are marked problems for those prepared to take a critical, i.e. non fan boy, approach and actually think about things. I wonder how many former fan boys there are who are now regretting being total twats on the internet? Probably not a lot as once a fan boy always a fan boy, keep the blinkers on yo! Okay so Miller went with a lot of live action stunts rather than CGI, correct, however this didn't mean he doesn't insert a butt load of CGI into the movie. The armada storm for example is clearly CGI, I kind of thought it worked if we discount the physics of the whole thing for a moment - think about it. So yes there is CGI and this is where the movie falls on its arse to a certain extent. Without giving too much away, a certain appendage issue Furisoa has is visualised through CGI and this was very noticeable during the course of the movie, did I detect some pixilation? Equally one scene in particular screamed out "inserted for 3D" in a bad Friday the 13th: Part 3 fashion, one of the guys I went with picked up on a whole smorgasbord of other scenes. So no the movie isn't as postcard perfect as the slavishly loving hordes would have you believe, in fact some of its strong points are also weaknesses if analysed with an open mind.
There's some interesting characters involved in the movie, and no the list surprisingly doesn't include the titular only Max who resolves to a support role to be honest. Charlize Theron (Furisoa) simply steals the movie from under Tom Hardy's nose; I loved Theron's smouldering character that was of the kick arse variety. Theron dominates in comparison to Hardy to such an extent that you aren't too displeased that Max is simply along for the ride rather than being the driving dramatic force he was in the previous movies. Okay so drama and Fury Road don't mix, but you get what I mean. However dominating it all in the interesting character stakes was Nicholas Hoult's Nux, a War Boy who is called on to question his commitments and who ultimately becomes the one character able to find redemption. Hoult nails it, frack give me a Nux movie and I'm there Mr Miller.
Out of interest the only people who are really launching critical attacks on Fury Road are a few rabid male groups who have somehow conjured up the belief that the new Max movie is a feminist ploy to trick us into seeing rampant chick flicks. Word to your mother, a character playing a double ended guitar that spits out flames as he hits the cock rock anthems isn't part and parcel of the feminist agenda. Maybe if it was chicks with guitars, like say the Indigo Girls, hitting the beat on the war truck then I'd be more inclined to listen to the opinions of some insecure misogynists. Anyways breaking it down, because Furisoa takes the lead here, and she's female, this is a sign we have all been misled by leading feminist apologist George Miller into watching his femnazi movie. Wow guess I shouldn't be watching any of the Alien movies or damn it the Terminator franchise either cause I might suddenly start displaying lady parts or something! About the only vaguely feminist idea going down here is as a male you shouldn't keep female sex slaves as breeding stock m'kay.
Of course the guardians of masculinity aren't the only ones at fault here, there's plenty of Critics who would seem to have no idea what the terms "feminist" and "steampunk" actually mean!
I guess what Miller does get right is his entirely insane view of the world post whatever apocalypse, are still meant to infer the gasoline ran out? Besides the dude with the wild guitar, who provides the soundtrack in an excellent cross pollination that had me applauding, though George may need to look up the term "doof", there's the usual assortment of wasteland warriors, degenerates, and mutants. Got to love a Director that simply invades his movie with entirely logically, yet somehow completely left field denizens. Loved the War Boys, with their intrinsic belief in Valhalla and wanting to die in chrome combat. Equally thought the remnants of Furisoa's tribe were well realised, you could readily believe these ladies had been scavenging the Wastelands for a living. One of the excellent scenes was the meeting between the brides, who look to be the only ones living to regularly bath and wear freshly laundered clothes and the females who waylay Furisoa and team in the salt lands. George Miller hasn't lost his eye for letting it all hang out and nailing the new barbarian outbreak. I would contest no one could argue with this aspect of the movie.
So in the wash up I would put Mad Max: Fury Road in the guilty pleasure zone. Yes I will watch the movie at least once a year, will double dip when the Blu-ray box set hits shelves, and will be happy eating chips on my end of the sofa. No it's not a particular bad movie, but it's in no way a good movie either, Miller has made something for the low attention end of town and is unapologetic in doing so. You can smell the oil hitting the pistons on this one, recommended to action fans, teen males, and no one else really.