Friday, 28 August 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

Lowdown: Two hours of post-apocalyptic car chases with a feminine touch.
Arriving at the junction point ahead of the 4th Mad Max movie, Fury Road, the question that bothered me the most was what Mad Max am I going to watch. Is it going to be a weird/eccentric Mad Max, like the first instalment in the series? Is it going to be crappy and forgettable sequel, like the third? Or – and that’s where the meat lies – are we going to get a majestic movie like the second Mad Max, The Road Warrior, a movie of such vision and such a gripping atmosphere I still feel very afraid each time I watch it?
The short answer to the above question is a good one. Of all its three prequels, Fury Road is closest to The Road Warrior. It is, in effect, a two hour long car chase set in a post-apocalyptic Australia and featuring some gruesome settings and even more gruesome characters. That said, commercialism certainly prevails here, severely reducing the impact of the vision and turning Fury Road into some form of entertainment rather than a statement.
Replacing Mel Gibson in Max’ shoes is Tom Hardy, who – it has to be said – does an excellent job even if he is too much of a mountain of a man when compared to the more fragile looking Gibson. I do predict that the duo of Hardy and Chris Pratt are going to fill the role filled by Harrison Ford in previous decades.
The real hero of Fury Road, however, is Imperator Furiosa. While Max’ character fills the role of linking to the previous episodes in the series, it is the Charlize Theron played character that actually drives the little bit of a plot this movie does have. Between the variety of her portfolio and the quality of her work, did I mention Theron is probably my favourite actress nowadays? Anyway, as we quickly find out, her character is busy rescuing a bunch of girls from a mean old abusing dictator, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), who controls a large chunk of post apocalyptic Australia through water rationing and a gang of thugs who is under his godly control through some sort of a purpose made car fetish religion. To which I will add that this particular villain is not half the menace that-guy-in-the-hockey-mask was in The Road Warrior. That masked guy would eat Darth Vader for breakfast and add pepper on top!
But the point remains, Fury Road is a movie with a feministic (and thus humanistic) message. And that's pretty cool by me!
Australia plays a large part in this Mad Max movie. Not only through its dreary vistas of large expanses of nothing, but also through a collection of actors that through this and that fill in their post-apocalyptic roles with much panache. Take the likes of John Howard, whom I know best from the romantic comedy TV series Seachange, now playing the villain’s lieutenant. Or supermodel Megan Gale playing a rough woman warrior. Even AC/DC can be said to have its contribution to the spirit of this movie.
The end result is the first movie in a while – well, in the year since Guardians of the Galaxy – that made me go “hey, I want to watch this flick again!” My only disappointment lies with the ending: whereas in previous episodes our Max ends up getting screwed, this time he sort of screws himself by his own choice and through no reason other than the potential to create a fifth and unrelated Mad Max. Well, if it as good as Fury Road, I will not complain.
Overall: Fury Road brings back the fun into the post-apocalyptic. 4 out of 5 feminist crabs, but it still falls way short of Road Warrior's majestic heights.

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