Out now in cinemas is Mad Max : Fury Road, a high budget B-movie about people driving from one place to another and back again with lots of fire and bendy poles.
I can’t help but imagine that this film is aimed at a very niche audience that don’t exist anymore, people who were in their twenties in the eighties who are still in their twenties now. Cryostasis aside I can’t imagine there are too many people who are gonna just enjoy this start to finish in the way that it’s intended as a direct sequel to a film that came out 30 years ago. Starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and that kid from Warm Bodies, Mad Max : Fury Road is a film so high in octane that it sped right past the script.
The film is simple, the year is 2060Ad and King Immortan Joe is fascistically running the country by withholding water and is kidnapping and raping women who are fertile so as to repopulate the kingdom in his own image. Imperator Furiosa (Theron) decides to liberate these ‘Five Wives’ and get them to safety which very quickly turns the film into a race from one point to another like the chase sequence in other films that just keeps going. Nux, a War Boy, is basically a completely white painted young man who is convinced he will chosen to be part of the Einherjar and sent to Valhalla to live again as a warrior. For whatever reason he is hooked up with an IV with Max (Hardy) acting as a human blood bag. Obviously a fan of the Dark Knight Rises Nux dresses up Max to look like Bane and chases Furiosa down who is abandoning the kingdom in pursuit of The Green Place.
It may surprise you to know that I have actually gone into a lot of detail there, from the word go I felt like I’d wandered into the middle of it. I suspect that Mad Max : Fury Road is aimed at fans of the original trilogy more than a fresh audience, and is in fact a sequel to the originals. The writer has a lot of respect for fans of the originals by keeping the B-movie exploitation feel to it but didn’t ever really stop to tell me what was going on. It means as Mad Max films go it is probably very impressive, but to me, a simple minded movie goer, I found the film to be nothing more than lovely lights flickering on a big white screen on the wall for two hours without a lot of answers to questions such as ‘Why am I watching this?’
On the plus side I made a few discoveries, as a massive fan of Borderlands video games I didn’t realise just how much of it was clearly inspired by the Mad Max style. Visually speaking it was one of the most satisfying movies I’ve seen this year. The costume design was a dusty steam punk, weapon design and general essence was enough to keep me interested until I eventually realised the film is meant to be silly. The addition of a vehicle hosting a million watts of speakers while an unhinged gentleman was blasting out riffs on some double neck bass/guitar combo really added to the intensity of the race, particularly because I don’t remember there being any music in the film up until that point which added to the unstable minds of the characters and the crazy post apocalyptic atmosphere. The film also adds a pleasant spin where Max is essentially just a driver for some very awesome women, some that feel like they are right out of a Tale of Two cities, old powerful women, easily underestimated and could very likely shiv you with a knitting needle and then snipe you through the head.
If you found Fast and Furious a little too high brow, too many words and concepts such as relatable characters floating about then you will enjoy Mad Max : Fury Road, and if you enjoy watching over the top B movies with a great massive budget then you will also enjoy this. Stylistically perfect, sure the atmosphere had its weaknesses but the costume design was entrancing and I would argue that the film may have been better if I was given a glossary on the way in to cross reference who everyone was and what they were trying to do. I enjoyed it on some level when I stopped taking it seriously, the feeling in the cinema at large was that it was incredible, in conversation with the humans that were near me however we all agreed that in many ways it was just boring.