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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)


Let’s hope the real Earth doesn’t actually run out of water.

In the distant, post-apocalyptic future, where mostly all resources have dried-up, a tyrannical cult leader named King Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) practically runs a whole region of the desert. People obey his each and every order, even when he seems to be robbing them of such goods like water or oil. Though mostly everybody follows Joe, there’s at least one outsider by the name of Max (Tom Hardy); an ex-cop who follows his own sets of rules and guidelines, even though it eventually gets him kidnapped by one of Joe’s trusted minions (Nicholas Hoult). But for Joe to keep his legacy running, he’s kept a good amount of “wives” – one of whom is actually carrying his child. To transport these wives to a safer, better place, Joe has called upon his most trusted worker, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), who decides that she’s about had it with Joe’s ways and sets out on an adventure to take the wives elsewhere, where they won’t be treated as property, and can live on in perfect peace and harmony – something that doesn’t seem to be found too often in this world. Somehow though, the plans go awry and Max ends up tagging along with the group, and, needless to say, shit gets crazy.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the original Mad Max movies. While that’s not to say that I don’t find them at all enjoyable, which I do, it’s more that I feel like they’re a bunch of good ideas wasted on an smaller, 80’s-era budget. Sure, it’s a sign of the times, but considering George Miller could have made way more insane, over-the-top movies, had he been given a relatively meatier budget/resources to work with, then there’d be more to rant on and rave about with those movies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I despise those movies in any fashion, it’s just that they could have been so much more.

What? He's not handsome-as-'eff or anything.....

What? He’s not handsome-as-‘eff or anything…..

Something that Mad Max: Fury Road is, and then some.

With this reboot of sorts, George Miller finally gets his chance to play with any toys he so desires. Whereas in the past, he was limited by what he can spend excess amounts of money and time on, Fury Road feels like Miller was finally given the opportunity of his life time; have a great time, do it with as much money and freedom as possible, and also, most surprisingly, get a chance to tell the same story over again. Given that technology has advanced over the past few decades, there’s a lot more neat things that Miller is able to do – now certain ideas that were deemed “insane” from the earlier movies, he now gets to do, but even more so.

What I’m trying to get across here is that Fury Road, for all it’s worth, is the kind of summer blockbuster any person could ask for. Not only is it fun, but it’s the kind of movie that’s so strange, so out-of-this-world, and so barbaric in every sense, that it’s actually kind of “cool”. No longer does the Mad Max franchise feel like it’s something that can only be enjoyed by a legion of cultees that are willing to admit that they’re fans in public – now, everybody gets a chance to enjoy Mad Max, the character, the world he’s placed into, and all of the crazy shit that surrounds it, and not feel weird. One could say that this is a disappointing sign of something that was so beloved and held sacred by a select few, going “mainstream”, and they may be true. However, another one could say that this is just a sign of something being made for a select few, being made for everyone and if that means we get more movies after this Mad Max, where creativity and oddness is embraced, rather than looked down upon from the masses, then I myself am totally for that.

I as much as the next person like to be weird and have my weird things for my own-self, but if that selfishness comes at a cost of not getting more of that, then I’m totally cool with it being passed onto others. So much so as the makers stay true to the original personality that made me love its weirdness so much in the first place. And even though I’ve already made it abundantly clear that I wasn’t quite “in love” with the Mad Max franchise before this, I still knew that it held much promise, had it been made in today’s day and age of film making.

A promise that, thankfully, was kept and acted upon.

Though I am definitely fine with saying that this movie’s a fun time and that you should definitely believe all of the overwhelming hype surrounding it, there is still a part of me that feels like certain parts of it could have been given a second look. Certain elements about the plot that aren’t ever made fully clear to us, that definitely should have to give the audience a better understanding of what’s at-stake and what’s next to come, would have definitely helped. It’s understandable that these women are all getting taken away from bad leader Joe, but where exactly are they going? Better yet, why are they going? We see how Joe acts towards most of the residents who live in his paradise of sorts, but we hardly see how he acts towards his wives, nor is it easy to make sense of why they so desperately need to get away from him and the world they are surrounded by.

Be careful who you break up with, Sean Penn.

Be careful who you break up with, Sean Penn.

Whereas this would have made any other action movie feel like a total waste of time, with Mad Max, from what I’ve been gathering reading about it from so many other people, it’s being glossed over. Why? Well, that’s because Fury Road is exceptionally wild, nuts and fun, where it takes so much time and effort to pay attention to what’s it doing to have you entertained, rather than paying attention to the details. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to get on a movie’s case for giving me an incomprehensible plot that, in hindsight, doesn’t make much sense, or even seems like it wants to, but there’s just something I wanted to address.

Once again though, that doesn’t take away from the fact that Fury Road is a very fun movie, nor does it take away from the fact that the characters are really well-done, despite them being as thin as the plot they’re working with.

Some people may be disappointed with the fact that Tom Hardy doesn’t speak too much here as the titular Max, but that works so well for him here – not because Max himself doesn’t need much explanation as to why he is the way he is, but because Hardy is such a compelling presence, that he doesn’t even need to speak to get people on-edge. He just needs to stand there, stare into space, and already, you’re hooked. Hardy has that certain aura about him that makes every scene he’s in, all the better and more thrilling, and here, he gets to portray plenty of that.

However, the one who may have one-upped him here is Charlize Theron as the absolute bad-ass, take-no-names, but also humane heroine Furiosa. A lot has been said about how Fury Road represents a very feminist-stance on the action genre, and while I don’t think that this is something that necessarily holds true, I still can’t get past the fact that the strongest character written here, both literally and figuratively, is a women. Granted, it helps that Furiosa is played by the very tall, slender and demanding presence of Theron, but it also helps that Furiosa has a reason for acting the way she does and it’s not made to be a certain point that Miller has been holding close to his heart and has been wanting to express for so long. That Furiosa wants to help these women because she wants them to be happy and not made an item of some maniacal leader, gives the character some semblance of complexity.

And well, also the fact that Charlize Theron can kick anybody’s ass, man, woman, or thing, it doesn’t matter.

Consensus: Wacky, wild, over-the-top, campy, but most of all, exciting and fun-as-hell, Mad Max: Fury Road represents everything that should be great with summer blockbusters, but so rarely do they actually become.

8.5 / 10

Dirty Aussies! Take a shower will ya!

Dirty Aussies! Take a shower, will ya!

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

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21 responses to “Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

  1. The Celtic Predator May 15, 2015 at 5:49 am

    The more I see of Tom Hardy, the more I like him. People have made a lot of hoopla over the supposed “feminist” under/overtones of the film, and while that’s all well and good, and however much I thought Theron succeeded, Max was still Max to me. He was the character he needed to be. He let’s his actions speak for themselves as the strong, silent type he is: The western gunslinger, the lone Ronin, the wandering Viking warrior archetype George Miller acknowledges so often. He’s the quiet, brooding observer of a world gone completely crazy.

    In an insane world, a sane man is truly insane. No?

  2. L. Richelle Murry May 15, 2015 at 5:56 am

    Can’t wait to see this version….

  3. Mark V. May 15, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Immortan never called on Furiosa to transport his Wives anywhere; she smuggled them out illegally. I actually think it was brilliant how Fury Road never spoonfed information of the characters and the world to the audience, and relied more on them piecing together the fragmented information littered throughout the film by themselves.

  4. greercn May 15, 2015 at 9:31 am

    I can’t wait to see this. I love the old Mad Max movies so I hope this one keeps that spirit going.

  5. Mel @ The Creative Fox Den May 15, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I’m getting really excited to see this. I’ve read nothing but good reviews. I think Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are real powerhouses. Great review!

  6. Thomas Watson May 15, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Hardy and Theron are capable and able of carrying us through this insane ride.

  7. J. May 15, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Really looking forward to catching this one. Hopefully sooner than later

  8. shazza91321 May 15, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I gotta go see this one.

  9. Fernby May 15, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    Great review – I’m hanging to see this one as soon as I can!!

  10. Three Rows Back May 15, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Yes! Great review. Need. To. See. This.

  11. A Tale of Two Dans May 16, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Fantastic review. Check out mine http://taleoftwodans.com/2015/05/15/mad-max-fury-road-max-imum-carnage/ leave a like and comment if you want 🙂

  12. Mark Hobin May 17, 2015 at 5:49 am

    I loved the cars and that every single one of them actually exists. Practical effects are so much better than CGI. I just raved about the style of this film in my review.

  13. Chris Evans May 17, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Nice review Dan, it’s a fun an wacky road but I agree that we Max himself should be more central next time!

  14. Lolo May 17, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Awesome review as always, Dan! This was such a wild ride from start to finished. I loved it, even with Charlize as the main character! I also loved how Miller opted for practical effects over CGI most of the time. Will definitely be in my top favorite movies of 2015, even with more than half of the year left to go!

  15. CinemaClown May 18, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Fantastic review, Dan!

    It’s a bit early to say but I guess we already have got the Summer Blockbuster of 2015! And a possible strong contender for Movie of the Year too 😉

  16. torchier May 22, 2015 at 5:22 am

    Saw your review — wrote mine before I read yours so as to discourage cross-contamination! But I think our sentiment about the film is similar. Movie of the year? No way. Good summer escape? Absolutely!

  17. vinnieh May 25, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Great review, this has to be my movie of the year so far.

  18. Tim The Film Guy May 25, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Great review. Who would have thought this would have been this good?
    Just fun bombastic film from start to finish 😀

  19. Evan Crean July 7, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I agree that Fury Road is “the kind of summer blockbuster any person could ask for.” You raise a fair point that the originals are made for a select few. This one has much more mass appeal. It’s blast because it’s “so out-of-this-world and so barbaric in every sense,” as you put it. One area I’ll disagree is on the plot (re: why the women are going and where they’re going). I don’t think much explanation is needed based on the context. Shit is clearly bad there and those women need to get out at all costs. They’re not concerned about where to go, mostly just elsewhere. One of the film’s strengths (I think) is that it drops you into a world and trusts you as the viewer to figure out what’s going on, rather than overexplaining itself.

  20. Pingback: Movie Review – Mad Max: Fury Road |

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