Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

***1/2 out of ****

I can't express the relief I feel that George Miller is the first George to prove that you can return to something you created decades ago and own it! Mad Max: Fury Road is exactly what it's supposed to be: A balls-to-the-wall two-hour action experience. It gets away with a simple plot and a lack of any overt character development because the production design, costumes, stunts, explosions, fights and chases are all captured on a level of attention and quality, which outdoes most modern movies striving for the same thing. 

Compared to the color-drained CGI dominated snore-fests that are most action films today, most of what you see in this movie is color-boosted CGI enhanced footage of amazing things actually happening in front of the camera lens. This movie is hyperactive on a level I would never expect from a seventy-year-old director. 

Like some of the best fantasy fiction, Miller's post-apocalyptic landscape and its inhabitants come dressed with so many eccentric details, utilizing the leftover junk of the old world, for which the audience has the freedom to project their own theories as to what they mean. Like The Road Warrior, the best in the Mel Gibson series, Max (Tom Hardy) is a damaged wanderer, who encounters good heroic people he reluctantly chooses to help despite his faithlessness that there is any hope in overcoming the barbarism, which has plagued a desperate world 

In this film, it's Charlize Theron as Furiosa - and her struggle - that is the heart of the movie as she attempts to liberate the sex-slave breeding wives (all played by beautiful models dressed in white sheets) of a self-proclaimed god who controls all the resources of the wasteland. Max is one of his prisoners and winds up in a predicament where he is forced to ride along in the giant tanker with the women being pursued by the warlords. 

It's hard to figure out if Miller intends this film to be part of the last Max's chronology, or if we are dealing with a remake, combining essential elements from the previous films. While I found just some of its action to get a little redundant and some of its plotting to lack a level of refinement, I still have to hand it to the competence of a veteran filmmaker with the guts to go nuts. This was a very fun time at the movies!

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