Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)Apocalyptic films are usually a hit or miss subject. Many are… More Apocalyptic films are usually a hit or miss subject. Many are forgettable or cliched to the point of being one big joke, kind of like the film within the film by the Mackenzie brothers in Strange Brew. Some films get it really right, while others get it really, really wrong with disastrous and silly results. When one thinks of the modern apocalyptic film the template for that genre of cinema was crafted by George Miller. His major debut Mad Max (1979) was less apocalyptic and more a '70's exploitation car chase flick sent to hell and back, making the film an achievement in film making. It pushed the envelope at the end of the decade. It would be the sequel to that film, Mad Max 2 or The Road Warrior here in the states, that would define Miller's vision of the world beyond the end, the people that lived after the "event". The Road Warrior is one of those rare films that exceeds its predecessor with a story that, while simple, is presented in a way that is unforgettable and burns itself into your psyche. We'll skip Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. It has its place and its moments, but is really a film that Miller cared very little about as he left the world of Max for thirty years. Mad Max: Fury Road is a return to the supercharged film that The Road Warrior happened to be. Max (Tom Hardy) once again runs afoul of a mutant clan using slave labor and water to control their little piece of a broken world. Led by Immortan Joe (played by Hugh Keayes-Byrne, who played the Toe Cutter in the original film) a chase ensues after Furiosa (Charlize Theron in an awesome performance) steals a commodity that is sacred to the enraged leader. A simple story if there ever was one, but this goes beyond that. Fury Road is open to close action with very little time to catch your breath. Some films are called a roller coaster ride, that age old cliche that they slap on posters. Fury Road is like going into hell without any looking back. It's funny that a film set in a fictional version of our world can draw so many parallels to life itself. What really stands out in Fury Road is the role of women. For a film titled Mad Max, the strongest character in the film is Furiosa, a warrior that does not give up, leading her ironic cargo to a promised land that may or may not exist. Distant memories or wishful thinking? There are moments when Max feels like a side character and this is Furiosa's movie. It's an amazing thing to see in film where a woman is neither a pawn nor a gimmick, but an integral piece to the film. She is the center that everything about Fury Road revolves around. I was more than sketchy when I heard that another Mad Max film was on the way. So many returns in the last decade have floundered over the indulgences of these sequels and reboots. It's about a 50/50 split in that arena. Fury Road is probably the best of the bunch and is probably one of the best films of 2015 so far. It is a credit to credit masterpiece that really cuts at the other blockbusters of this year and the almost stagnant world of super hero movies. Fury Road is, ironically, a breath of fresh air in a cinematic universe that tends to regurgitate last years product. Dare I say that this film is Miller's masterpiece, possibly even surpassing The Road Warrior? I don't know, but I really, REALLY want to watch it again.
26 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes