Film Reviews

MAD MAX FURY ROAD

By • Jun 2nd, 2015 •

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Awesome! Up-ends the genre. No dialogue, no exposition, no explanation and no kissing. Just pure energy (and heroic stunt work)!

Who would have thought that 70 year old George Miller could put together such a magnificent and emotional film without the requisite scenes of characters explaining themselves, crying over their lousy childhood, and taking a break from the action to garner sympathy?

There is absolutely no stop to the constant action which only keeps mounting. It gets even more thrilling as it careens towards its finish.

Marvel’s AVENGERS? Superheroes? MAD MAX FURY ROAD makes everything that came before it look exactly like Playskool action figures.

And as tough as the setting of the film looks, it was not a holiday shoot in Africa. Warner Bros. heard about the problems of the production being over-budget and behind schedule. They had to send superstar producer Denise Di Novi to Namibia. (I’ve been to Namibia on safari and Di Novi probably was not holed up in a Mad Max re-configured RV. Namibia can be very amazing on a Warner’s credit card.)

The conflict between the two stars must have been really severe – it made all the tabloids. Apparently, Hardy stayed in character and would not pay tribute to Theron’s “A” List ranking as a gorgeous, Academy Award-winning star.

If Hardy went “Method” and stayed in character off-screen, it served the film well. And, did anyone gripe when Daniel Day Lewis (LINCOLN)*, Heath Ledger (DARK KNIGHT) and Robert De Niro (TAXI DRIVER) insisted on staying in character after the day’s filming ended?

Even if it wasn’t Hardy tied to the vehicle, some of the action scenes had to be him. I don’t know how much was done by stuntmen, but nevertheless, it definitely was dirty and hot – for seven months.

Regardless of the over-budget concern, FURY ROAD looks like every dollar spent is on the screen.

All will be forgiven when the reviews and the box office numbers come out. Theron’s “quote” will put her in the $20 million dollar league and she will do whatever it takes – even if it means mumbling to herself as Hardy reportedly did – to have him as her co-star for the rumored Mad Max 5.

We don’t know where Max (Hardy) came from or what happened to him. He is captured by Nux (Nicholas Hoult), one of the war-boys enthralled by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), a monster-dictator who controls a large, starving community through his infrequent distribution of water. Prisoners are used as blood dispensaries. Grab a prisoner and you don’t need anything but daily infusions of his blood.

Furiosa (Theron) is a legendary fighter and drives Joe’s war rig. She is entrusted with driving the massive truck, which is filled with fuel, to its destination. Instead, Furiosa takes “the road less traveled” along with hidden, highly valuable cargo, Joe’s five gorgeous young brides. They are to bear Joe’s children.

When Joe realizes his supermodel wives are fleeing with Furiosa, he calls out his bloodthirsty warriors. Nux chains his blood-prisoner Max – attached to him by an IV – to the front of his super-vehicle like a Viking ship’s figurehead. Max is also outfitted with a metal face mask.

As Furiosa battles one group of pursuers, another gang turns up. So does the truck carrying drummers, massive speakers and a guitar playing rocker.

Nothing in FURY ROAD needs explaining. Why does Furiosa have only one arm? Because it’s not her first time at the rodeo. What was Max doing in the desert? No one goes in the desert voluntarily – he’s escaping from something. And the supermodels? One is pregnant with Joe’s child, so there must be good food, shade and clothes somewhere. I’d say, looking over the non-living conditions of Joe’s people, these girls hit the jackpot.

What is so mesmerizing about FURY ROAD is its relentless fury. The imagination of the production is astonishing. If CGI was used somewhere, I still cannot believe the making of FURY ROAD was anything but impossibly grueling.

*Daniel Day Lewis demanded the cast, crew and even director Steven Spielberg refer to him as Mr President on the set of LINCOLN. Day Lewis did not break character once during three months of filming and even had director Stephen Spielberg treat him as if he was Abraham Lincoln, according to sources. According to the New York Times, to hold on to Lincoln’s voice, Day Lewis used it all the time, between takes and even after the filming was over.

Member of Boadcast Film Critics Association: www.bfca.org

Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society:www.lvfcs.org

Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at masauu@aol.com.

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