I had heard rumblings of a new Mad Max film off and on for the past few years, and when the trailer finally first hit the internet, I didn’t really care enough to view it, even after I’d seen a reaction here and there that was off the charts with enthusiasm. Having already seen the Mad Max movies, and only enjoying them to a tangential degree (mostly finding them too campy to enjoy genuinely), I wasn’t all that interested in another, even some decades after the last one came out. Then, one day, I ended up watching the trailer, almost on a whim… and I was immediately, immensely stoked for this flick. I ended up seeing it with my brother in the theater, and both of us just had a big stupid smile on our face for pretty much the entire running time. Mad Max: Fury Road went on to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, as well as Best Director for George Miller, and that this managed to pull off those two nominations fills me with absolute glee; in the short year since its release, it is already being hailed as quite possibly the best action film of all time, and goddamn does it ever deserve that label.
Here, Tom Hardy is the recast Max Rockatansky, who lives in the most apocalyptic post-apocalyptic world I think the cinema has ever offered us. Captured at the beginning of the film by the forces of warlord Immortan Joe, he finds himself banding together with a group of fledgling runaways attempting to escape from under Immortan’s thumb, led by one of Joe’s generals (or Imperators), Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron. What follows can only be described as a nearly nonstop road chase, filled with as much action as you can possibly stomach, and then you realize you’ve only stomached the first half of the film, and there’s still another whole hour of balls-to-the-wall action waiting for you. I wish I could talk about this film objectively; I really do, but I can’t. This movie just fills me with such adrenaline and happiness for George Miller and his passion for this project that I just cannot put it into words; you can so clearly tell that this, this is the Mad Max film he always wanted to make, but just could never quite get there before now. The action is awesome, the stunts are mind-blowing (seriously, Academy, get with the friggin’ program and add a stunt category in some shape or form already; please), the cinematography is vivid and engrossing, and the direction is absolutely unprecedented. The only qualms I have with the film are the script, which seemed a tad too invested in its own universe to really make the dialogue palatable to an outsider (a non-Australian, for instance), and I wasn’t a fan of the overdubbing used for almost all of Tom Hardy’s spoken dialogue, though I saw the necessity for it. I was also a big fan of the Nux character played by Nicholas Hoult, and while trying not to spoil the film entirely for those who haven’t seen it yet (seriously? come on, go see it), his character had the biggest arc of any of the leads, and he really felt like the real hero, even against Charlize Theron’s Furiosa, who was arguably the real protagonist of the picture (I won’t go too into the arguments people have made that this isn’t really a Mad Max film since Max is mostly supporting to Furiosa in terms of plot, but I’ll just say that the arguments I’ve read that make the point that Max is arguably really a supporting role in all the films are probably more correct than others might be willing to accept).
I don’t really know what else to say about this, so I’ll just finish with the only things I can say; I loved this film. I loved everything about it. It takes everything that didn’t work for me from the first three Mad Max films, dials it up to eleven, then dials it up some more, and for some weirdly stupid reason, it makes it work spectacularly. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, and for once, I really don’t care; for me, it just works, and it works greatly. If you can stomach some of the dialogue, and can manage to get yourself in the mindset to sit through two solid hours of nonstop action, go see this if you haven’t already, and if you have, go see it again; I’m sure you’ve done something recently to reward yourself for with a big ol’ smile like the one you’ll get watching this film. I love films that give me hope for the future of cinema, and this is absolutely one of those films.
Arbitrary Rating: 10/10