Movie Review: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD – good reboot, but I don’t believe the hype.

Mad Max

Mad Max: Fury Road was on my list, but not too high up it, I must admit. Harkening back to the original trilogy, I can honestly say I wasn’t a huge fan. Liked the first a lot, thought the second one was pretty god – a real departure from the original, in terms of sequels, but wasn’t really feeling Beyond Thunderdome. When I heard Miller was returning to the franchise with Tom Hardy assuming the Gibson role, and Charlize Theron, I figured I would see it – but like I said, it wasn’t high on my hit list.

Well, then the reviews started coming in – and then hearing the interest from my pals, and then reading and hearing some of their opinions, and my own interest in it picked up. So last night, during dinner, we decided to head up to Roseville to check it out. Place was packed – on a Tuesday night, even. I settled in, having only just received a text from another friend telling me to enjoy the ride. This is a pretty long build up to what is …

… an ultimately disappointed review. I’d heard before there was very little story and almost no characterisation, and for me, those are the cornerstones of a good movie. I can take avant-garde moviemaking – in fact, I enjoy it – but those are movies where the point is style over substance, and Mad Max is really just an action movie. It doesn’t try to be anything other than, essentially, a two hour car chase. Technically, it’s done amazingly well. It’s a great looking movie with very well choreographed action, and the pace only lets up a couple of times, so as far as those aspects go, mission accomplished. But I have to say, the story (what there is of one) is rubbish and uninvolving, and even though I like Hardy and Theron (and thought they were good in the movie), I didn’t care about where they were going or what they were doing – and then I completely lost interest when they decided to go back the way they came after a good hour of traveling in one direction, thus rendering the entire first half of the movie completely pointless, plotwise. I know this is a personal preference for me – I cannot stand movies where characters return to scenes (unless it’s a natural part of a plot, like a detective story). It feels like the story stalls, and shows a lack of imagination. Anyway, another positive thing I heard was that it’s a feminist action movie. Seems like to me this is just another overused, misunderstood term. It’s feminist because Charlize Theron is a tough female character? Or because there are a lot of women in it, some of whom simply look pretty, and some of whom shoot guns? I don’t get it. I think some people just don’t understand what feminist means, and those who DO understand it are likely to be offended that this movie is certain people’s idea of feminism. Ultimately I just about liked it, despite this negative sounding review, but I didn’t think it was all that great. Probably the best description I heard of it was from the kid: “It’s Borderlands the movie!”


© Andrew Hope 2015

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