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Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), mechanical arms, Valhallan cults, flamethrowing guitars and the best action movie of the decade!

May 19, 2015

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MY CALL:  If you like action movies then this is for you.  PERIOD.  Do not wait to see this at home.  See it on the biggest screen possible…it’s GORGEOUS and INTENSE.  MOVIES LIKE Mad Max: Fury Road: While the grandiose action is scaled way down, I think of Waterworld (1995) and The Postman (1997).  Both feature a quiet, reluctant hero in a post-apocalyptic setting.

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Folks, let’s just start by stating the obvious.  When in your life will you again have the chance to see a $150 million budgeted R-rated action movie?  Probably never.  So go see this in theaters while you still can.

Fury Road is an intensely action-gasmic spectacle.  The first 30 minutes bombarded the audience with an unmatched extreme action sequence (and an equally magnificent battle score) beginning with a post-apocalyptic high speed car chase, Max is captured by tribal cultish goons and then escapes giving chase through a subterranean quasi-steampunk lair while still fettered and gagged while battling dozens of these minions while climbing and hanging from things and trudging through water, and then we get another tremendous mass vehicle chase/battle scene littered with explosions and speeding dilapidated car wrecking cartwheels and minions climbing all over these vehicles like ticks on mechanized apocalypse cattle…and then it all continues in a sandstorm with more bodies being flung from or even into the paths of raging war machines in the maelstrom.

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Let’s try to explain this chaos, shall we?
STEP #1: Get a crazy guy with a death wish to leap onto an enemy vehicle while holding spears with explosive heads.

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Step #2: Land on target vehicle.

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Step #3: Explode, along with target vehicle.

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Step #4: “Wash, Rinse and Repeat” with an army of fanatics until all are dead or enemy is dispatched.

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There may be LOADS of CGI, but the budget shines as brightly as the rich orange explosions and the electric yellow sand.  The cinematography bestows grandiose scale to our vastly empty wasteland populated by chaotically raging traffic.  The action was truly flawless throughout, ever-tense and utterly thrilling, and often catches you off guard with the sheer brutality.

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George Miller (Mad Max, Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome) hasn’t done very much recently—really only making children’s movies like two Happy Feet films and Babe: Pig in the Big City in the last 20 years. But after making happy-go-lucky bright-eyed, bushy-tailed kids flicks he has returned to Mad Max with a most fierce yet equally welcome assault on the senses. We have not 2 minutes of calm as we meet Max, his two-headed gecko snack, and his dusty Ford Falcon XB GT. From that moment on we are graced with a score that matches the scale of the scenery, the explosions and the budget. It’s grandiose in the best of ways; I truly lost myself in it. By the way, the acting was also great!

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 Meet Max, his Ford Falcon, and his post-apocalyptic Hannibal Lector mask.

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As Max, Tom Hardy (Warrior, The Dark Knight Rises) is perhaps perfect, but his character is quite unexpectedly understated.  His lines are few and he isn’t really the hero of this story.  Rather he is a reluctant sort-of nomad-turned-antihero who trusts no one and remains nameless through the majority of the film.  The real hero is Imperator Furiosa (daringly performed by Charlize Theron; Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman), a once-loyal servant with a mechanical arm who is defying Immortan Joe by fleeing his citadel with his enslaved harem of “breeders” (a group of young attractive women Joe uses to produce children).  They find unlikely help in a turned minion Nux (Nicholas Hoult; Warm Bodies, Jack the Giant Slayer) and a clan of strong, elderly warrior women deep in the desert.

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Our antagonist is the tyrant Immortan Joe, played by the very same actor (Hugh Keays-Byrne) who played the villain “Toecutter” from Mad Max (1979). Joe rules by controlling the water supply and motivates his gullible and devoted minions called “war boys”—covered with almost tribal body modifications like body paint, piercings, ritual scarrings and brandings–with promises of an afterlife in the paradise of Valhalla, and as such they are ready (even excited) to die in battle serving their warlord.

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It’s very cultish and fanatical. The war boys claim their steering wheels at an altar, pray to Valhalla, and spray paint their teeth silver to prepare for death.

Look for the guy playing the double-necked flamethrower guitar and the gigantic Nathan Jones (6’11” 390lbs; Troy) at Joe’s side as son Rictus who, along with an army of war boys and heavily modified vehicles, aid Joe in recovering his property (i.e., his breeders). That, in essence, is the plot. Max just ends up in the middle of it all. It may sound overly simple, but it works gloriously.

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 I’m sure there’s an explanation out there for this guy with his flamethrowing guitar…I just haven’t a clue what it would be other than BECAUSE THAT WAS AWESOME!!!

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So who is this movie for? Anyone who likes action movies. Really, ANYONE who likes action movies. Also, anyone who appreciates strong female roles. Feminine strength and freedom is what drives this movie and the rather simple plot. Despite the fact that there isn’t much to the story, the film is overall AMAZING.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2015 3:58 pm

    I take it, then, that you liked this movie? Just kidding . . . great review!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      May 19, 2015 4:01 pm

      Yeah. I guess it wasn’t bad. LOL. Seriously, though. The guy shot flames from his double-necked guitar!!!!!

  2. May 20, 2015 1:18 pm

    Let’s hope we see more of Max, because already, this is a pretty solid start. Nice review.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      May 20, 2015 3:51 pm

      Yes. I hope for a few more…but also hope they don’t fall into the ill-fated trilogy trap that has befallen so many other “part 2s” designed for the sole task of staging their subsequent “part 3s.”

Trackbacks

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  2. Best Fights of Film Part 1: Troy (2004) | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. The MFF Podcast #16: Mad Max Fury Road and Poltergeist 1982 vs. 2015 | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015), another exceedingly creepy chapter in this franchise. | Movies, Films & Flix
  5. Turbo Kid (2015), a weird, gory, goofy, quirky, post-apocalyptic wasteland B-action movie. | Movies, Films & Flix
  6. The Big Short (2015), explaining the real estate market crash with the best filmmaking of 2015! | Movies, Films & Flix
  7. Bad Movie Tuesday: Salute of the Jugger (1989), Rutger Hauer’s post-apocalyptic Mad Max death sport. | Movies, Films & Flix
  8. The Neon Demon (2016), visually stunning, morally reprehensible, and emotionally traumatic. | Movies, Films & Flix
  9. John’s Horror Corner: Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), Milla Jovovich evolves with the T-virus in this entertaining Zombiegeddon franchise. | Movies, Films & Flix
  10. The Fate of the Furious (2017), the most action-heavy action movie I’ve seen since Mad Mad: Fury Road!      | Movies, Films & Flix

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