I believe a little background would be appropriate here... when I first saw the original MAD MAX, I didn't care for it at all (even though it had some "good action"). Of course, I was watching it when it premiered on HBO, and while in those days I wasn't nearly as hip to the joys of such assets as letterboxing and original spoken soundtracks, I could tell something was fundamentally "wrong" with the movie beyond the sadistic violence which went past my comfort zone at the time. The proper version scored much higher in my book quite a while later, but it really took THE ROAD WARRIOR to bring me around. I liked a lot of BEYOND THUNDERDOME as well, but those chanting kids? Ummm... no.
So I was technically there from the beginning, and I, too, had to wait the full thirty years to see just what on earth George Miller was going to do next with his creation with or without Mel Gibson. And I'm very happy to invoke the time-worn phrase "worth the wait."
Hmm... is this a sequel or a reboot? It certainly doesn't feature a Max who's actually thirty years older than the THUNDERDOME character and I suppose you could jump from that to this... but Max's haunted memories suddenly don't jibe with what we saw in the original film... then again, with all he's got to deal with maybe even his memories are tricking him? In the end, it doesn't really matter. You can make up your own backstory--just like you're encouraged to do with the civilizations on display here, and that's not a bad thing at all.
Briefly, here's the story we DO get. Max Rockatansky (full name on display in the opening titles, now played by Tom Hardy) is on one of his typical post-apocalyptic wanderings when he's abducted by representatives of The Citadel, a kingdom ruled by one Immortan Joe (original MAX villain Hugh Keays-Byrne) who rules his corner of the wasteland by controlling a rich supply of privately-mined water. The males of the Citadel consist almost entirely of pale, tumor-ridden radioactive (or are they? "Who Killed the World" is a recurring question here) mutants, but the females are unscathed and treasured as breeders (an unblemished male will be a sign from the gods) or trusted Imperators, such as Furiosa (Charlize Theron). Furiosa is entrusted to drive a "war rig" on one of the Citadel's regular raids of "Gastown," but she has a change of plans in mind... she's going to make a break for it and she's taking the "breeders" with her. Deadly pursuit is decreed, and an unwitting Max finds himself along for the ride--as he's been tapped as the personal blood bank of an eager young "War Boy" by the name of Nux (Nicholas Hoult).
That's... maybe... the first twenty minutes of a two-hour movie that flies by like a mere trailer--or maybe this movie just caused me to lose all perspective of time. This new MAX entry doesn't spend time or energy on mere exposition except when it can do so without grinding to a halt. It merely SHOWS you everything you need to know about these characters and encourages you to imagine how they got to that point. The results are fascinating throughout, starting with the "War Boys"--doomed young men eager to die and live again (or perhaps merely eager for any action that gets them out of the Citadel) accepting a sacrament of a blast of chrome spray paint to the mouth as they prepare for battle. Reluctant cooperation from a rival faction led by "the old People Eater himself" (John Howard doesn't actually engage in cannibalism during the course of the film, but he's just the sort of character we're used to George Miller pulling out of thin air). Vehicles expressing the individual personalities of just about everyone involved (are we agreed that everybody's favorite is the music machine featuring gigantic drums and a truly unhinged guitarist? Have we a new Ayatollah of Rock 'n Rolla?).
Max, of course, claims to be in it merely to save his own skin (he survives without even knowing why he wants to), but you know he can't just turn his back and let the brave and innocent drift off into oblivion. Furiosa (when you think about it, the film is named just as much for her as for Max) more than proves her resolve, mettle AND metal (you'll see) when it comes to escorting her sisterhood away to the oasis she remembers from her childhood--it just takes the even more experienced Max to nudge her to the reality that ALMOST-certain death is still better than CERTAIN death (even as he laughs off the concept of hope itself).
The sketchwork I'm providing in this review gives you almost as much as the actual film does to create a powerful scenario... all that's left is for Miller and company to supply the awesome, heart-stopping vehicular action and stuntwork (yes, there's as much CGI as you need in this day and age to pull off some the effects--especially in the recommended 3-D rendition), but it's blended expertly with more than enough practical work to satisfy even the most jaded ROAD WARRIOR fans who saw THAT one on the big screen.
And here I thought Neil Marshall's 2008 DOOMSDAY was going to have to do in its place. Hey--that one's still good, derivative fun. But here's the REAL thing back in all its glory.
As in not off. If you want to post about mainstream flicks, this is the forum.
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2 posts • Page 1 of 1
All I can say is that this was FREAKING AWESOME. A turbo charged thrill ride that reeked of blood, sweat and bio diesel. I hope to catch it again within the next few weeks, I want to check out the 3D version.
"Regrettable... I was hoping for a colleague, but at least we have
another experimental subject..." -Mesa of Lost Women
another experimental subject..." -Mesa of Lost Women