By Noel T. Manning II
Director George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road offers a wild and freakalicious ride
When the world around you goes mad, you have to embrace your inner madness and let it fuel your journey.
It’s hard to believe that George Miller’s original vision for a post apocalyptic story about a cop who has lost everything except a will to survive can still find a place in today’s world of cinema three decades later, yet it does in Mad Max: Fury Road (the fourth installment of the Mad Max franchise).
Miller’s surreal version of a future world where landscapes are barren, and the car shows are on steroids, offers a visual spectacular, death-defying stunt work, sonic wonders, and an amazing soundtrack from Junkie XL. It is a film truly for the ears and the eyes, yet the unique and odd characters, disturbing themes of human trafficking, class warfare, and religious manipulation will turn off some viewers, and maybe even confuse others.
Tom Hardy carries the Mad Max handle this go round (taking the torch from Mel Gibson), and his character is facing a very real post traumatic stress, and a tortured past he may or may not have ever had control over. But this story is really not his, which seems a bit odd given the film’s title. The film is actually carried by Oscar winner Charlize Theron who plays Furiosa, a former slave searching for redemption, freedom, salvation, a bit of revenge, and a place to call home. This is her story, and her journey … and honestly Max is really just along for the ride. A friend and fellow film critic said this should’ve been called Mad Maxine … I agree. Theron is wonderful as an action star in a film fueled by high octane fight scenes, expertly choreographed automotive battles, non-stop explosions, and one of the longest car chases in film history.
It is not a film for the casual filmgoer. It is confusing at times, disorienting, and just plain disturbing in parts … but isn’t that exactly what made the original Mad Max films so intoxicating … they were different, engaging, and uncomfortably inviting. I got the same vibe this time around. Sure, it had it’s plot issues, early sound mix problems, and felt like a strange hallucination caused by some bad sushi … but it was still a wild, crazy, and entertaining ride, and one I was happy to survive.
For many in this generation of filmgoers, this will be their first introduction to the Mad Max universe, and a memorable one it will be. I believe that the original films from 30+ years ago may even gain some new fans for those who don’t get carsick on this Fury Road. But for others, they may leave the theatre shaking their heads feeling as if they’re suffering a concussion from a massive traffic pileup.
Mad Max: Fury Road isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a film offering it’s own brand of crazy chaos and mayhem, set your GPS for this one.
Mad Max: Fury Road Report Card
Characters – A-
Story – C
Action Sequences – A
Special Effects – A
Acting/Casting – B
Sound Design – C
Soundtrack – A
Directing – A
Mad Max: Fury Road – Cinemascene Overall Report Card Grade: B