Rapid Review: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

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“Once, I was a cop. A road warrior searching for a righteous cause. As the world fell, each of us in our own ways were broken. It was hard to tell who was more crazy… me… or everyone else.”
– Max Rockatansky

SYNOPSIS: An apocalyptic story set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and almost everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life. Within this world exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order. There’s Max, a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And Furiosa, a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland. – via IMDB

The costume design and makeup was just… so perfect for this movie.

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Fury Road is more bizarre than I can even describe, but it was just so perfect!

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The action was incredibly well choreographed and the fights were highly entertaining.

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Fury Road was stunning to look at, and all that dust and desert captures that whole dystopian future perfectly.

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Furiosa was beyond badass. Much love here for the women holding their own, let me tell you!

mad max badass furiosa

Immortan Joe and some of the costume design and makeup was beyond creepy. Well done to the team for that! He was also one lunatic of a villain to be facing off against, sheesh. My fiancé thinks Immortan Joe was badass and awesome as hell.

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There were all these inexplicable moments laced throughout it, and cracked characters laced throughout. What a lovely day? In the middle of an enormously dangerous car chase? I’ll say!

mad max what a lovely day

And then, of course, we all need to take a moment to appreciate that Tom Hardy will always just be glorious.

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GRADE 8.5Wow! Yes, that’s it! Wow. I was beyond thrilled when my cinema still had this in for me to go and see (it is a miracle if anything is on longer than two weeks, and my pesky exams took up all my time when this was released and I was sure I was going to miss it on big screen). This is something you want to see on a gigantic screen, stretched out massively in front of you. Why? This might be like Gravity, and let me explain that statement. Like GravityFury Road doesn’t really have an in depth or amazing story (come on guys, this cannot be denied) but it looks phenomenal and is shot well and is one heck of a trip and you want a massive screen for it. Gravity looked amazing, but with no story and a smaller screen, I think I lost some of the enjoyment. After reading many rave reviews for this, I was afraid I would be disappointed. I think knowing that there was no intense story saved me from being a little bit disappointed in the movie. Ultimately, Road Fury is an epic two hour car chase across the desert with insane costumes, a rock concert on wheels and the titular Max being a side character in his own movie (more so than usual). For all intents and purposes, that alone would have been enough to bring the movie to its knees, especially seeing as Charlize Theron would take up the bulk of the screen time. You should know how I feel about our fellow South African, so I was very, very wary about seeing her. But good gravy, believe it or not, she didn’t irritate me whatsoever, and she gave a damn fine performance for a badass character. Yes, I said that. She owned this role. Then there is Tom Hardy. Obviously I am going to talk about him. While he had virtually no lines and surprisingly little screen time, I thoroughly enjoyed him and really, Hardy truly has his gorgeous moments. Hmmmm. Nicholas Hoult was adorable, as always, and his character Nux was someone that was so nasty but redeemed himself wonderfully later, Barry and Larry and all. He stole the show whenever he was on screen There were so many cool things about this movie – like the throwbacks to the older movies – and a big awesome for me were the ladies being strong – very cool, seldom done. Junkie XL wrote a great score to carry the film and it worked every step of the way, and I loved how it tied in to the crazy guitarist on his amplifier and drummer podium (I cannot stress enough how entertaining that was, made me think of Brütal Legend) and the costume design was amazing all round. Then there were the cars. That was just… those designs. Between the costumes, the makeup and those terrifying cars, you must know that the movie truly was something to look at. Fury Road was more bizarre than I can really describe, it was crazy, but is was a stroke of genius, too, even with the lacking story – it was purely an all-out assault on the senses.

Rapid Review: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

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“I’m the guy who carries Mr. Dead in his pocket.”
– Max Rockatansky

SYNOPSIS: Robbed of his possessions whilst travelling through the Australian outback, Max manages to stumble upon Bartertown, a trading post for all manner of criminals and governed by Aunt Entity and Master Blaster. He is forced to fight on behalf of Aunt Entity in order that she gain complete control of the town, but he is thrown back out into the desert when the fight is over. He then stumbles upon a group of orphans, the only survivors of a plane crash during the nuclear war and with their help he returns to Bartertown. – via IMDB

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GRADE 6.5So after the highly entertaining Road Warrior, there is Beyond Thunderdome. I know this one also has a lot of love, and it was a good watch but the movie itself is truly uneven. The pacing is all over the show, the plot is flimsy and confusing, and so much is happening but doesn’t really flow as nicely as you would hope for it. However, Mel Gibson is back with some truly awful hair (crushes me, you all know how I love long hair) – at least they rectify that later – and he steps back into the boots of Max Rockatansky and he is good. Anyway, having the word “Thunderdome” in the title would naturally have you think that it was more important than it actually was in the movie at the end of the day. There was some weird bungee cord fight cage that Max and some big bloke called Blaster attacked each other in, and Tina Turner belting it from a small opening in the cage about making the law and all. Then somehow it jumps from there to a bunch of feral looking people out in the apocalyptic desert, waiting for a pilot to fly them away. I know, right, it all flows wonderfully. It’s as if it is two different films that have been meshed together. I really liked the first half, and I liked the end of it again, Max doing his thing and slipping away quietly, but the middle section was a bit sketch. Anyhow, the effects were alright, there was some cool car chasing going down again and some cheesy dialogue, and then there was the awful scene with Gibson hitting this one woman who wanted to leave (people, this should have been a warning of the upcoming crazy that was to be unleashed) and it was still a fun watch. This movie is nothing like the two before it, yet still holds its own as an entry to the Mad Max canon, messy as it may be.

Rapid Review: Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

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“I’m just here for the gasoline.”
– Max Rockatansky

SYNOPSIS: A former police officer is now a lone wanderer, traveling through a devastated Australia after a nuclear war looking for now-priceless petrol. He lives to survive and is none too pleased when he finds himself the only hope of a small group of honest people running a remote oil refinery. He must protect them from the bike gang that is terrorizing them whilst transporting their entire fuel supply to safety.   – via IMDB

mad max road warrior bite to eat

GRADE 7.5Alrighty, on to the second installment of the Mad Max franchise after the none-too-fantastic first outing. The Road Warrior is definitely more Mad Max as I remember from a kid. Probably because this one is more memorable and stands out more, and really is put together quite well, with insane characters and excellent action. Plus Mel Gibson was looking pretty darn fine here, if I do say so (imagine that). There was more plot to this one than the last, which I enjoyed, though it is still nothing incredibly deep or super awesome or anything like that, it is enough to keep you engaged and entertained. What I am incredibly confused about is the S&M bondage gear that seemed so popular, especially with bad dude leader Humungus (plus his Jason-style hockey mask?). Uhm, alrighty then… if they do so insist. Besides that he looked absolutely ridiculous (truly), he was not a particularly grand villain, either, which was a pity. I always love a grand villain. I think more could have been done with him here. There are still some issues with this one, but overall The Road Warrior gives us Max as expected – disenchanted with the world, wandering, looking out purely for himself, smart and wily, a survivor, and bitter. He is one that will fight and come out tops, who slips in and out of the lives of others, but will ultimately always be the wanderer. The movie was shot well and the score worked for it, and Mel Gibson was fantastic here, so much more confident and comfortable in his role. This movie was also pretty rough in places, not really holding back on some pretty gruesome scenes (at least not seen completely, but there was a rape scene which was more than just alluded to), and I was rather surprised about that. I liked the uneasy “friendship” that developed between Max and The Gyro Captain, it added funny moments to the movie, and the post apocalyptic future they are living in looked quite good – barren, dry, dusty wastelands. It is not difficult to understand why this is the most popular of the original movie trilogy, as it is definitely a solid film on its own, well constructed, entertaining, a decent story and some pretty awesome action sequences and has that element of crazy (though presented and structured far better than the first film). I would highly recommend this one, and you can definitely skip out on the first one and just watch this, they don’t really follow too much anyway.

Rapid Review: Max Mad (1979)

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“Any longer out on that road and I’m one of them, you know? A terminal crazy… only I got a bronze badge to say I’m one of the good guys.”
– Max Rockatansky

SYNOPSIS: In a self-destructing world, a vengeful Australian policeman sets out to stop a violent motorcycle gang. – via IMDB

mad max 1979

GRADE 5Well, gotta say that this is certainly not as good as I would have hoped. I have not seen the original Mad Max trilogy in years, and I thought it was time to check it out (obviously with the new release and all that). Hmmmmm. Not so good. It hasn’t aged well, has pretty much no story, and some of the worst parenting I have seen in a really long time. Max and his lady run off with their kid, yet when shit hits the fan, not a single person wondered about the child until too late. Now, the thing about this movie is that it starts slow and goes nowhere for an hour and ten minutes. The whole thing that you remember about this movie is crammed into the last fifteen to twenty minutes – what makes Max mad, what sets him off and gets him on this whole revenge mission, everything. Meanwhile, before we get there, we are in some form of dystopian future where we have no idea what the rules are or how the world has changed. We just need to sort of accept that it is filled with crazies. I suppose we should try buy into that, it just didn’t really work so well for me, but that is likely because the movie hasn’t aged as well as you would hope. If the story was just fleshed out more, it would not feel like you are going around in circles, waiting for something to happen, then have Max go on his revenge spree, but not actually do anything. The movie wasn’t shot terribly at all, all things considered, but I do feel that time could have been used to flesh out the characters more before the tragedy, making us feel something for Max’s plight. I remember Mad Max being so much more. This one didn’t tick that box as to why this was so popular. The score was alright, the dialogue was alright for the most part, it was shot quite well, it is just that I wanted more action, more revenge. It is marketed as a bloody revenge type dystopian action, but that isn’t really what it is all about. The movie itself isn’t quite sure what it wants to be, and this makes the pacing very uneven. I did like checking some old school Mel Gibson running around in leather, though all he is to me nowadays is some abusive cuckoo that lost the plot. Pity, too. The logic in the movie didn’t follow so well, like how that biker gang just so happened to constantly be wherever Max was, but other things it got right (like how run down and sad everything looked in the future). I think that Mad Max is riding on the cult classic status it has achieved, which is beyond me. It certainly can’t be this . Overall it is a hollow experience, and is just pretty much there to introduce us to Max as a character as well as the dystopian world, and how he became Mad Max, preparing us for the movies to come, seeing as this didn’t really bring too much to the table.