I don’t condone starting anywhere but the beginning when it comes to watching a series of films, but today I saw Mad Max: Fury Road in 3D with no prior knowledge of Max’s madness and walked away from it utterly impressed.
Through a series of brash, screeching flashbacks at the most unhelpful moments of Max’s (Tom Hardy) escape from the lair of the dudes from the beginning of Star Trek: Into Darkness I deduced that Max wasn’t able to save the lives of a woman and a child in times past and it still haunts him. This was literally enough to have me on his side, it showed: he has a conscience, the events will play a part in his future decision making and most importantly that he isn’t perfect. No heavy-handed copy-paste spoilers from the last film necessary. I got what I needed to know.
The aforementioned albino part-naked desertkin do claw Max back though and make our lone wolf an unwilling blood donor to Nicholas Hoult’s character, Nux, a respected but weakened driver of sun-worn metallic desert vehicles. These two, joined by chain and blood transfer tubing, continue to chase after Charlize Theron who’s seized a rescue mission opportunity to liberate several beautiful women including that girl from that silly robot movie that we try not to talk about anymore.
Liberate them from who? Well, imagine a mix of Bane and the Troll King from the Hobbit, and squish that being into a Tupperware suit of armour and you’ve Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Joey boy rules over a bunch of impoverished humans by limiting their access to water while he gorges on mother’s milk instead and bangs the cuties to further his bloodline. Theron’s stolen bounty are the most desirable women for miles and they’re smart enough to want better for themselves anyway; Immortan Joey’s feathers are inevitably significantly rustled when he finds them missing and the subsequent chase constitutes the meat of the film.
And what dusty, explosive, petrol-drenched delicious meat it is. All the vehicles and costumes have a very steampunk, Fallout 3 post-apocalyptic hardiness to them born out of when the “world was killed” (something I’m sure Immortan Joe was a part of, as he was in the original MM film, but not something I know about in detail) and little moments capturing this feeling like an armoury of attachable steering wheels really sealed the deal for me. The world does seem empty, colonies of warring tribes separated only by sand, salt flats and violent sandstorms all beautifully visualised which helps greatly with following the escape from one volatile zone to the next.
Backed by a roaring soundtrack (sometimes too roaring; there were several inaudible dialogue scenes similar to Interstellar) with orchestral and guitar elements, Hardy and Theron lead a pretty badass legacy (as far as I know) of films with plenty of gusto. I’m not sure how many of their stunts they performed themselves and frankly I don’t care as they all looked great jumping, swinging and pole vaulting between the arrays of vehicles hording around their unstoppable war truck trying to blow them up. There are tonnes of explosions, a fair amount of hand-to-hand combat involving just about everyone and it builds to a strong climax with plenty to keep your eyes open. In my experience the 3D worked well too with only a couple of cheesy “Wooooah it’s like it’s coming right at me!!!” moments which to me feel a bit too Spy Kids.
On top of all that, this article alludes to their being another battle between our misogynistic and feminist film lovers over the strength of the film’s female characters and their right to be there in the first place. Read into it what you will, I, being a new member of the Mad Max fan club, cannot comment on Imperator Furiosa’s (Theron) right to instruct/order Max to do things other than saying that Max and her clearly were working towards a common goal and part of being a team is situational task designation. I’m a huge advocate of more women in film too, I think all gender-issues were tastefully dealt with. I mean, here, Rosie Huntington-Whitely’s character is smart and beautiful and relevant to the story, now contrast that to her other film, Transformers AOE. Case in point.
So overall, watch this film. Support different types of action film instead of propagating the dominance of Marvel or Fast and Furious franchise films. It’s impossible to come out of this unsatisfied and that’s what I believe any action movie-goer wants in their hearts, a good ol’rush.