Directed by: George Miller
Written by: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris
In this not-reboot, not-sequel, we join titularly “Mad” Max Rockatansky moments before he’s captured and made prisoner to warlord Immortan Joe’s gang of Warboys. Max attempts to escape but fails and finds his next opportunity whenever Joe has to send out his fleets after Imperator Furiosa, one of Joe’s top war generals, who has taken it upon herself to steal Joe’s harem of women. Max eventually and reluctantly decides to help Furiosa in her goal of delivering the women to the “green place” beyond the mountains by helping them battle off Joe’s gang of religiously motivated (*ahem*) road warriors.
It’s not quite enough to say that Mad Max: Fury Road is really fucking awesome, and the reason it’s awesome can’t really be communicated easily through words because its an extremely cinematic execution at the core of the film. I’m also not a big action guy. I also haven’t seen a Mad Max film until this one, so I can’t really tell to what extent my personal limitations and biases control my response to this movie. But I can say one thing: Mad Max is the best action film I’ve seen since forever. Mad Max might be the first action movie I’ve seen as a serious film fan that I actually think is great.
Fury Road puts the modern offerings of the action genre (and it’s newest adult child, the superhero genre) to shame. Without using more dialogue than minimally necessary it invests me in every character’s past, present, and future. It has precisely the correct amount of beats to let me know the difference between eight main hero characters. It once again breaks the entire conceit of The Avengers, by pointing out that you can actually accomplish this sort of thing without A) stopping any action, and B) without devoting hours of film and cinema time to fleshing out relatively simple characteristics.
On top of that it feels almost more colorful, more iconic, from about ten minutes into the film there’s a strong aesthetic that works better than any superhero suit from the past fifteen years. The Warboys are pale painted Quan-Chi look-a-likes. Furiosa is an oil slicked badass. The wives are strongly reminiscent of Greek outfitted women. There’s gang after gang after gang who gets introduced by showing you what they look like. These pieces of cinema are perfectly cobbled together by the fact that Max himself looks like a clash up of any piece of clothing he can get his hand on. This brings together the idea that these are cobbled together in a post-apocalyptic world, and it’s clear here why the original film would perfectly encapsulate the idea of a scavenging sand blasted wasteland as the very image of every cinematic representation of the post-apocalypse.
Other than that I can only offer unexplained and disconnected nouns and adjectives: Guitar Warrior, Pole Crawlers, Vagabond Women on Motorcycles, Blood Bags, Sand Tornadoes, Pole Vaults with snatcher grunts on them, color scale, ingenuity, creativity, cinematic oragsmic joy.
I don’t know how the rest of this year is going to turn out, but if you reach the end of it without having seen Fury Road, you’re not only going to miss out on one of the single best action films this year, you’ll missed out on one of the best action films of all-time. Do not miss this film.