I Don't Believe It - They Actually Pulled It Off!
I have to admit I was really, really, really skeptical about this film. Reboots in general tend not to be good, and Mad Max is such a relic of it's time - the series with it's 70s Gas Crisis outlook was already starting to get dated by the time the third film, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome came out thirty years ago! Couple that with the withdrawal of Mel Gibson the actor behind the series' titular hero, the death of his replacement as Max, Heath Ledger, a seemingly endless series of writers and other talent, and even a title change from 'Road Rage' to 'Fury Road' to avoid confusion with a Simpson's video game(?!?).
In other words, it seemed to have 'dud' written all over it. Not to mention that Hollywood has kind of forgotten how to make action films (Transformers series anyone?). Could a modern Mad Max film actually capture the laconic dialogue, weird off-beat characters, socially relevant science fiction, and pedal-to-the-metal action without an over-reliance on green screen CGI?
Well the answer is yes. Mad Max: Fury Road delivers on all counts. To begin with, the movie starts on action, and never lets up. Normally this would be a recipe for headaches and mind-numbing boredom - but somehow it works. In this installment, Max ends up partnering with a bald headed female truck driver, played by Charlize Theron, who kidnaps a warlord's brides (presumably because they are the only fertile women, capable of bearing more sons to be his soldiers). Max is pretty much a loner, so if you're going to team him up with someone, they better be good. Theron as Imperator Furiosa has to be the most competent ally Max has ever had except maybe that feral kid with the bladed boomerang from The Road Warrior.
But what would a Mad Max movie be without cool cars? I have to admit, this was another fear of mine - what were the vehicles going to be like in a post Fast and the Furious world where Baby Boomers drive hybrid electric vehicles and their Millennial hipster kids would rather ride bicycles and skateboards than cars. Once again, Mad Max: Fury Road does not disappoint. The vehicles here sport massive internal combustion engines, turbo chargers, jacked-up suspensions and armor plating to the nines.
What about the weird characters? Yup, Fury Road's got them too, from "The Bullet Farmer" an arms dealer who drives a Dodge Charger with tank treads to "Coma-Doof Warrior", a guy who rides on the front of a giant Marshall stack playing a combination electric guitar and flame thrower.
Really, I could go on all day, but I'm just going to leave it at this - if you like the Mad Max series, or action movies in general, see Mad Max: Fury Road.