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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » June 3, 2015
Film review
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Mad Max: Fury Road
June 3, 2015   
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It’s anybody’s guess why 70-year-old director George Miller has decided to go back in time and bring back Max Rockatansky, a lone warrior who motorcycles his way across a degenerated, dystopian world to fight evil. The original Mad Max movie from 1979 gained a cult following and became the very first “punk western,” the somewhat bizarre name given to the genre by movie buffs. Mad Max catapulted Mel Gibson to world stardom and spawned two less memorable sequels, the second of which was released exactly 30 years ago. Gibson went on to star in both and Miller directed all three.

One reason behind the Mad Max reboot could have been an attempt to cash in on the phenomenal popularity of Tom Hardy, but in that case, the English actor should have probably been given more opportunities to shine. Meanwhile, most of his lines are random sentences, grunts and monosyllables. All he is expected to do is play indestructible, but that’s a piece of cake for any actor with some action movie experience. The role of Australia’s last man standing is a far cry from Hardy’s earlier accomplishments as Eames in Chris Nolan’s Inception and Bane in The Dark Knight Rises by the same director. But Hardy seems to have taken a liking to the role—he has just signed up for another three Mad Max movies.

Perhaps, though, the main rationale behind the new Mad Max movie was to dwell on the stunning looks and acting skills of Charlize Theron? Wrong. Even though the South African-born actress gets more lines than Hardy, her main job in the movie is to be a tireless fighter and she certainly delivers on that. As for Theron’s looks, this time she is sporting a prison-style haircut, her face is covered in black camouflage paint, and instead of a left forearm she sports a metal prosthesis like the Terminator’s arm from the 1984 blockbuster by James Cameron.

Could it be, then, that the producers of Mad Max: Fury Road were handed a totally original and inventive script they just couldn’t say “no” to? Wrong again. To begin with, there is no plot to speak of, just endless car chases across a Namibian desert pretending to be Australia. The desert is ruled by gangs that are after a group of desperate survivors seeking a mysterious oasis of safety and happiness. Most of the people they meet on their way are out to kill them, but the troubled travelers turn out to be as resilient as the vehicle in which they are traveling. They call it the “war machine”—it looks like a tanker truck spliced with a circus wagon.

So why was this film made? Simple: Mad Max: Fury Road is all about providing an extravagant spectacle that reviewers at the recent Cannes film festival described as paintings by Hieronymus Bosch set in motion. While the comparison is perhaps too far-fetched, the countless number of bad guys dressed in outlandish clothes and riding in surreal vehicles does indeed make you stop to appreciate the work of the costume, set and special effect designers involved in the production—even if most of the colorful characters get very little screen time, after being skillfully eliminated by Mad Max and his female companions. The fast-paced, 120-minute movie occasionally slows down for a couple of seconds when the characters get to exchange a word or two, but that’s only a lull before the next high-energy battle scene. The nonstop action must be what has made Mad Max: Fury Road a hit with audiences (predominantly young audiences) and critics alike, making sure Miller need not worry about getting mountains of dollars for sequels. Still, if you like movies that appeal to somewhat more mature audiences, you may want to give this one a miss.
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