Yeah okay so Mad Max had no characterization, plot, emotion or any of the other things that are essential to storytelling. What this movie did do was to place a 2 hour or so long spectacle before my eyes that bore the vivacious pulse of a living, breathing, film. It was a good movie. It was worth sinking 14 dollars and 2 evening hours to plant myself in a mildly comfortable seat to expose my hardened eyes to the raving lunacy sealed behind the classic franchise’s aegis.
I only saw this movie because of its connection to the original classic, and if this is what you are interested in, let me say that while the material connections are tentative (restricted to a few vestigial references to the less-superb original), the spirit is there. Brutal caricatures of human beings, who, thinking about the detritus that is allowed to exist in this amoral world, could almost, just, maybe be produced by a combination of these lowlifes and the potent reagent of apocalyptic scarcity once again star as the villains who oppose and out-shine the taciturn and bland Max. The fights between these two raise dust in the very familiar Australian wastelands. But more importantly Fury Road, like its predecessor, defies cinematic logic and uses simple and real special effects rather than CGI.
The action is non-stop, sometimes a bit ADD for my taste. The almost pathologically consistent head-twitching throughout the movie just adds to this. Aside from these criticisms the action lives up to the hype. Yes, there is a flamethrower guitar and yes, it features quite prominently in the movie. Really is there any way to put into words the brutal awesomeness of an action scene?
My favorite part about the movie is my highly idiosyncratic love of details and world-building. In this regard, the movie is in a class of its own. Every class of individual, every phenomenon, every town and every vehicle has its own nomenclature unique to the world of post-judgement Australia. Soldiers, obviously stripped of the standard recreational amphetamines, are forced to use particularly ghetto forms of whip-its to maintain that violently psychopathic state of mind that you need to jump from car to car like an amped up version of 16th century naval warfare.
The world even has its own peculiar spirituality, which includes myths about an untouched haven, a violent afterlife appropriately deemed “Valhalla”, and the notion of spiritual causes of the self-inflicted wounds of nuclear war. These oddly high-minded concepts (although appropriately glanced over and given less than 20 seconds of screen time) are mixed with awesomeness like a morbidly obese Victorian brute known as the “people-eater” who is obsessed with the financial implications of the whole thing. This character was deemed worthy of only 5 or fewer minutes of screen time.
Sue me if this review was brutal and quick, because that’s exactly how the movie felt. This movie delivers. Compared to the lightweight, soy-enhanced movies that dominate the menu, Mad Max is like an In-n-Out burger, double double, extra grilled onions.
Watch the Mad Max official trailer: