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TAC Reviews...Mad Max Fury Road

 

Mad Max Fury Road is a 2015 post-apocalyptic film directed by George Miller. It is part of the Mad Max franchise which began in 1979 with Mel Gibson in the titular role, he reprised the role for the two sequels Mad Max 2 in 1981 and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985, however, in the thirty years between the previous instalment and this one (and the fact that Mel Gibson has gone crackers) Tom Hardy steps into the role.

 

Mad Max Fury Road

 

Back in the day Mel Gibson was Mad Max, now I can recall bits and pieces of the first three films, and as far as I understand it, we are in a post-apocalyptic wasteland in which water and gasoline are very scarce. Max drives around in a powerful car and does…various things to help out other groups but is basically a lone warrior of the wastelands or something like that.

 

Anyway, with a lot of films like Fantastic 4 getting reboots or new sequels like Terminator Genysis, the Mad Max films receive another instalment to add to their canon and we are going to take a look at it today…

 

We start with a man, Max (played by Tom Hardy) being captured by a group called the War Boys and being taken to their citadel that is ruled by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Max is used as a “blood bag” by a sick member of the War Boys named Nux (Nicholas Hoult) which basically means he is connected by a tube to Nux who takes his blood for some reason or other.

 

Meanwhile one of Joe’s lieutenants, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is sent in her armoured truck to go and collect gasoline, however, she goes off route and Joe discovers that his wives, one of them heavily pregnant with Joe’s child, are gone. He deduces that Furiosa has taken them and is trying to escape him. Joe dispatches his army to chase them down and get his wives back, Nux joins the pursuit and so he is not denied his “blood bag” attaches Max to the front of his car as the War Boys go after Furiosa’s truck.

 

What follows is Max escaping from Nux, Nux changing sides, Max teaming up with Furiosa to help free the women from Joe and all the time the War Boys and others are in hot pursuit.

 

Okay then, so Max is captured, escapes his captors and teams up with the downtrodden victims of a tyrannical ruler to escape into the wasteland. As far as story lines go, so far, so generic. Like I said I can remember bits and pieces of the previous movies, in one Max had to drive a tanker containing fuel, and in this one he ends up driving a tanker loaded with Joe’s wives. It seems everyone in these films is looking for a place that isn’t quite as fucked as the rest of the world, but here’s a news flash for you guys, it’s a post-apocalyptic wasteland…keyword: Wasteland. I seriously doubt that only one bit of the world got fucked up and the rest is perfectly fine for some reason, and even if there was, surely the survivors in that oasis would not let just anyone wander in. From what I gather none of these films don’t really push the boundaries of cinema or even storytelling, Max basically does the same thing every time, he is recruited to do something and is offered gasoline in return for his help…here he teams up with Furiosa and is offered a motorcycle in return for helping them to escape…real original story Miller…

 

The thing that I find strangest about this film franchise is that everyone seems to drive around in highly powerful cars that have massive gasoline drinking engines, seriously in a apocalyptic-desert-wasteland why did I not spot a single solar powered car?? If people are killing one another over gasoline then wouldn’t the man who can harness the power of the sun going to be a God?? Tearing up the desert in such powerful cars wasting fuel seems to be completely pointless and doesn’t make a whole lick of sense.

 

I don’t think it is really fair for me to compare Hardy to Gibson because I wasn’t a massive fan of the previous films, so let’s look at Hardy’s portrayal on its own. I think that Hardy has had good roles in the past, I liked him in The Dark Knight Rises even if he was someone’s bitch, and he was good in Inception. Here, I’m not too sure what he is really doing. Max doesn’t talk much and seems to spend considerable time twitching, we don’t even learn his name until quite a ways into the film. I guess there is supposed to be a connection between Max and Furiosa but there is nothing even close to chemistry between the two. I don’t think that either Theron or Hardy are bringing their A-game to the proceedings but they do a decent enough job because let’s be honest we are not here to watch people giving Oscar worthy performances.

 

I have to say that the action sequences are pretty well executed and are really the only reason to be watching the film, the guitarist that shoots out flames from the end of his guitar is pretty cool (ironically) but again without a descent story all we are watching is one action scene after another with a half-assed attempt at telling a basic story thrown in too. I liked Nux, and his transformation from unthinking War Boy to an ally of the Joe’s wives and even sacrificing himself to protect his new friends was interesting plus he was probably the only character that I actually cared about.

 

Now the ending…the bad guy is defeated and Furiosa becomes the new leader of the War Boys, giving water to Joe’s former slaves and setting up a fairer society…does Max join this society…er…no, he strolls off into the desert, without a car, without supplies, and without anywhere to go…why???

 

Who the hell knows.

 

I have to say that there was nothing about Mad Max Fury Road that made me spit rage at the screen, the acting is okay, the action sequences are pretty entertaining but the story is ultimately the same old same old which doesn’t add anything to the post-apocalyptic genre…it might be groundbreaking for a Mad Max film but I wouldn’t know. As someone who is not intimately familiar with the franchise there was nothing about this that makes me want to track down the others and check them out too.

 

Basically Mad Max Fury Road left me shrugging and my mouth forming an indifferent…Meh…sound

 

Was it terrible?? No. Was it absolutely amazing?? No. Was it okay?? Yes. Was it entertaining enough at the time but was ultimately pretty forgetful once you stop watching it?? Yep. Naturally I am going to have to give this film my Meh rating…as a result my Thumb is going to have to be lazily Horizontal, Mad Max Fury Road is not the worst film I have ever seen, nor is it the best.

 

 

5/10 – This film is massively middle-of-the-road because honestly it was neither really bad, nor was it really good, so it is basically just an average film. If you like car chases through the desert it has those in spades, if you want something that actually accomplishes something and has a descent story and acting then you’re better off looking elsewhere.

 

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© Chris Sharman