MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)

mad-max_poster

Imagine this. This bubbly optimist who enjoys all sorts of cinema- from the silents right up to the latest blockbuster- goes to see the latest entry of Mad Max. I’ll fully admit that a bleak dystopian view of the future is generally not my cup of tea. But I kept my mind open this Memorial Day weekend upon screening George Miller’s MAD MAX FURY ROAD (2015), because I’ve heard so many glowing reviews.

I should’ve listened to my pal Karen Noske who advised fellow optimists to skip the Mad Max reboot and go straight to Disney’s TOMORROWLAND (despite its less than glowing reviews). After leaving MAD MAX FURY ROAD, I felt like a victim of PTSD. Yet in the most campy-gone-wrong way, if that’s possible. To keep in line with my post-traumatic state, I shall share with you all the reasons I disliked this film, plus a few positive reasons the film earned my respect (I am an optimist after all)- in bullet points.

I’ll lead with the few merits… (note there may be a few hints at spoilers)

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  • Charlize Theron. (She was the true lead of this film. Her performance was the one thing that seemed authentic and worthy in this futuristic flick. She was the actual “Max” here.)

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  • Positive view of women. This film cast a lot of women in speaking roles and portrayed them in realistic, tough and overall positive perspective. Happy to hear women have a future, Mr. Miller, even beyond mother’s milk.

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  • More over, it’s a positive view of older women. What a refreshing thing to see mature women- shown in all their deeply wrinkled (no plastic or botox here) beauty. And these ladies are TOUGH. Kicking ass- clever fighting, use of weapons, throwing punches and getting punched back just as hard. Basically, mature women being treated as equals in an action flick as I’ve never seen before.

Now for what didn’t work for me…

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  • Tom Hardy articulates like a modern Popeye. He barely speaks throughout the film and when he does, it’s a mix of a 6-packs-a-day growl or he throaty whispers under his breath. I understand the sex appeal factor (especially when mixed with an Australian or Brit accent), yet surely at some point soon this trend that really kicked off heaviest with Christopher Nolan’s Christian Bale Batman trilogy must hit maximum velocity, right? I’m worried screenwriters will be out of jobs at this rate if the lead actors no longer need any lines, simply gargle some gravel after turning into a human chimney then mutter incoherently.
Jasin Boland      +6142150189

the happy couple, fast friends

  • The quickest case of Stockholm Syndrome I’ve ever seen. At one point a red-headed female ‘breeder’ discovers the same man that just moments prior had tried to violently kidnap her, along with the other women in her party hidden in their escape rig. What does she do? Immediately falls head over heels, of course. Her attempted captor recently discovered his boss’s promises of a glorious afterlife was a bunch of rubbish. So loyalties flip and they’re all pals now that his cult abandoned him.
  • The over-the-top tone isn’t just campy, it’s RIDICULOUS. The parts that try too hard to be shocking seem more laughable than effective. The humor is lost because it tries too hard, as well- the few times its attempted. You could say there’s innovative visual effects and unique design but that often gets overshadowed by the ridiculous factor again.

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For example, it feels like you step into an 80s MTV video every time they cut to a red-jumpsuited guy tethered to a Fury Road vehicle whose only purpose is to rock out on an electric guitar, as the barbaric battle ensues in constant motion. To set the musical mood, or perhaps to compete with the tune of deathly road rage, there are also about four men banging on enormous drums atop another vehicle.

So the future doesn’t look very bright in this battle for basic resources via any violent means possible. But hey, if you’re a woman and you’re not being used as a breeder or for mother’s milk, you might have an equal fighting chance to be just as violent and messed up as anyone else. Otherwise, you can always rock out like you’re in a 1979 or a 1985 Beyond Thunderdome version of a MTV video. That is, if you can’t stop rolling your eyes as I did at how utterly ridiculous this reboot really is.

a surprisingly feminist film

a surprisingly feminist film

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