Thursday, June 04, 2015

mad max: fury road [2015]

it was 1979 or 1980 and my brothers and i walked in on a matinee showing of mad max [1979].  i hadn't heard of the movie, nor seen a trailer for it.  but in those pre-vhs, pre-dvd, pre-internet days, there were theaters that programmed four or five movies a day, especially during the summer months.  my brothers and i would be dropped off at a matinee theater in the morning and picked up in the evening.  i sat thru tons of crap films.  some good ones too.  filmmaker george miller's movie about a cop gone rogue against bikers who killed his family and friends in a wild west kind of society tottering on the brink of collapse rocked my world.

then later i saw, again with my family, at the sac 6 drive-in theaters, the road warrior [1981] and i declared it a masterpiece.  i stand by my assessment of this singular visionary movie to this day.  i saw miller's third installment of the mad max franchise on videotape.  i won't speak about that venture but it did try to increase the mythos a bit further into an odd mystical goofiness.  i didn't care for the third pic.

now miller gives us this reboot starring tom hardy as max and charlize theron as a warrior named imperator furiosa.  she works for immortan joe played by hugh keays-byrne.  keays-byrne played toecutter, the leader of the vicious biker gang in the first film.  oh, and i dig how miller uses roman titles for his characters.  so apt, and so obscure.  immortan joe rules his community with an iron fist.  he controls the water and keeps his people in fear for their lives for a single sip of agua.  oh, he also has an army of shaven head, shirtless young men painted white called the war boys who worship joe like a god.

joe also keeps a harem of young women to breed for him new war boys.  they are, in joe's words, 'his property.'  the macguffin of this flick is this, furiosa was born in an oasis called 'the green place.'  she was taken from 'the green place' when she was a little girl.  she drives a 'war rig,' a tank-like truck for joe.  she leads the young women out of bondage.  joe and the war boys pursue furiosa and the women in a blasted desert landscape that is subject to sand and electric storms of such magnitude that should you be caught in one your vehicle and you will both blow away in the wind and blow up from the lightning strikes.

we are introduced to max at the beginning of the movie as a scraggly loner.  we see his iconic car.  we see him wearing the leather uniform of the MFP.  he eats a two-headed lizard.  he is chased and caught by the war boys.  now max is a 'blood bag' because his blood type is universal donor for an ailing war boy named nux.  nux worships joe and wants to 'live, die and live again in valhalla' in service to joe.

okay then how does he hook up with furiosia?  why spoil it for you.  they do meet and become allies.  nux too becomes a good guy.  the women, all of them, from furiosa to the rescued brides to the older ladies we meet that are members of furiosa's original family, need little help from the men.  in fact, this is their movie.  max is integral but perhaps not essential to the action.  and boy, the action starts at the first minute and does not let up until the last.

rather than fit this film in with the original max stories miller created a new mythos for max.  hardy as max barely speaks in this film.  he grunts.  tho max shouts several lines in a scene where max is strapped to the front of nux's car where max speaks a whole hell of a lot in reaction to being strapped to the front of a car speeding thru the desert.

the cars are something special.  i mean, really.  in a world where water is so scarce why would people worry about customizing their vehicles.  of course they don't paint their vehicles interesting colors.  nope.  these death machines are ruddy, rusted and mean looking.  these vehicles look like they could travel only several hundred feet per gallon.  and they seem so top heavy that leaning on them could knock them over. 

don't worry about it.  the curtain of disbelief is suspended once the movie begins.  george miller and company have manufactured a world of dizzying vision and decay.  the action sequences are so well choreographed that my jaw dropped to my seat several times.  the direction is superb.  the editing is excellent.  and the photography, done by john seale, kicks serious booty.

this is a damn good film.



At 7:35 AM, Blogger Radish King said...

I've had two free movie tickets in my dresser drawer for almost three years. I'm going to go see this today with one of them thank you!

At 10:28 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

hi rebecca: do write a review. i want to know what you think of the film.


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