Worth the wait
2015 appears to be the year for remakes and reboots with the likes of Cinderella, Jurassic Park and Star Wars getting the spit shine treatment. Also on the list is The Road Warrior himself, Mad Max returning in George Miller’s new instalment to the franchise Fury Road. With Tom Hardy taking on the coveted role made famous by Mel Gibson, can The Road Warrior hold his own against the cinema dominating superheroes?
Max is still the man of few words and in Fury Road, he gets caught up in a case between Furiosa (Charlize Theron) as she struggles to return to her homeland and help her female companions escape from Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his band of War Boys. Be prepared for an epic chase across the desert wasteland and only the mad can survive.
My initial feelings going into this were very neutral. I haven’t seen any of the previous instalments so my expectations were it’s either going to be mind-blowing or just an average run of the mill action flick. After seeing it, most people seem to be on the “It blew my mind” end of the scale and I fall somewhere in the middle. There was a lot that I liked, and a lot that I didn’t.
Let’s start with the positives shall we? I quite liked Tom Hardy in the role of Max Rockatansky. He is an amazing actor and has an incredible presence on-screen so even though the character of Max is more of the strong and silent type, it suited Tom down to the ground. He has a link to Nicolas Hoult’s character Nux who is (in my opinion) hilarious and it’s great to see the actor he has become from the kid in About a Boy. There was also great chemistry between Tom and Charlize and you could tell they made a great team. Speaking of Ms. Theron, one of the few CGI aspects of the film was a mechanical arm her character has which was actually very cool and makes you respect just how much of an accomplishment the action sequences were. In fact, around 80% of the film is real action with CGI only being used for Furiosa’s arm, removal of stunt rigging and to enhance the Namibian landscape. To me, that’s very impressive.
Unfortunately, as impressive as these sequences are, they are a bit repetitive. There are three or four main sequences and in the first one they’re all shiny and new and then in the next one it’s case of “OK they’re doing a bit of that again” and by the last one it was just all too familiar. They are done very well and I particularly liked the Bendy Lads (you’ll get what I mean when you see it) but I did find myself a bit, dare I say it, bored by the end.
Another point that bothered me is that the film is called Mad Max: Fury Road, but this is NOT a film about Mad Max. Yes, he is there but this is definitely the Charlize Theron show. I don’t know about you but if I’m playing the title character, I’d at least expect to be the lead. The film does start with Max but it is very clear that it’s not his story we have paid to see. This is about Furiosa’s journey and she just happens upon Max who helps her in her quest. Even calling it Mad Max: Furiosa Road would have made a difference.
The story isn’t groundbreaking but even the bits of dialogue that are in it are woeful. Miller is known for his peculiar scenes and style and he has openly admitted to having the film completely storyboarded before even writing the script/dialogue. Trust me when I say, it shows. The attention definitely went into the action sequences and not the script which for an action film you can get away with but as I’ve already said, they had issues too.
Mad Max: Fury Road has definitely underwhelmed me and on the scale I set for the film I have landed in the middle for sure. It’s unfortunate that a film that had so many good aspects had nearly as many bad ones and has left me feeling like it’s just another action flick. Worth a look to make up your own mind but go in with no expectations or you may end up a bit disappointed that they left the L plates on.