Mad Max: Fury Road

(Australia/USA 2015)

Mad Max: Fury Road is not a movie I would have bothered to see but for the fact that it was nominated for Best Picture. It’s a huge Hollywood blockbuster retooling of an earlier Hollywood blockbuster—totally not my thing.

Tom Hardy is Mad Max, and he’s taken captive by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his gang of warboys who look like an army of “Zero” era Billy Corgans. Max gets away and finds himself working with Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a rig driver liberating a gaggle of Joe’s “breeders”—young women he keeps for reproductive purposes. Loaded with fast cars, a badass woman, fox females, a rock band, and weapons, the first hour is nonstop noise and destruction. There’s some decent acting in the middle, but it doesn’t last. A final plan to take out Joe brings on another barrage of destruction.

Mad Max: Fury Road is exactly what it’s supposed to be: an action picture. The costumes and cars are imaginative even if derivative. John Seale’s cimenatography is snappy: he makes the desert look hot, colorful, and stunning with not all that much to work with. It’s easily the film’s most impressive element. Hardy is nice to look at, all rugged and filthy and with all his teeth (unlike many other characters). This is about all I can say that’s positive. Director George Miller’s cho-mo (my term for choppy motion) technique gives the film a cheesy, horror movie look. There are no big surprises here—we know how it ends.

Mad Max: Fury Road is an indulgent, guilty pleasure for those who dig this stuff. I’m just not one of them. Best Picture, my ass.

(ArcLight) D+

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