Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

June 1, 2015

Christopher Mele is the co-host of the About Men Radio podcast and lead blogger for the show’s website. Chris is married and the proud dad of two sons and two adult stepchildren, all of whom have given him prematurely white hair.


 

My first car, a beloved 1972 Buick Century I bought from my aunt, I had dubbed “MGM” for “Mele Going Mobile.”

My second car my friends and I christened “MMM” for the “Mad Max Mobile.”

The name had a ring of familiarity since my grandfather was named Max, and of course, it was only a few years after the original “Mad Max” movie with Mel Gibson was released in 1979 as well as its follow-up flicks.

Beyond my car’s nickname, I had no deep-rooted affection for the “Mad Max” movies.

I think I saw the original movie but honestly it’s so long ago, I don’t recall. And, obviously, if I did see it, it did not make much of an impression.

But I just saw the “Mad Max” remake, “Fury Road,” and it has left a lasting, positive impression.

The movie was not at all on my to-watch list this summer.

I was aware that it was coming out, but it was not until I heard a very positive review on the slashfilmcast.com podcast that I was convinced to give it a try.

For what it is worth, let me say at the outset that not only did I love the movie, but so did my wife, Meg.

What so impressed me and left me breathless were the live-action set pieces.

Action sequences in movies that I’ve loved in the past, such as “Gravity,” relied heavily on CG effects, which were indeed impressive.

In “Fury Road,” though, these were real people doing some wild-ass moves the likes of which are both familiar and unique. (The list of credits for stunts at the end of the movie was huge.)

Mad-Max-Power-Wheels-4Maybe it was the far-out big rigs and monster trucks.

Maybe it was Charlize Theron, who portrays the indomitable Imperator Furiosa and who, even with a crew cut, looks attractive.

Maybe it was the crazy chase scenes or the broad imagination of director George Miller.

Whatever the magical ingredients, they came together in a way that left me giddy and impressed.

To describe the movie in detail or its plot would spoil some of the fun of seeing it, but here’s a way to think about it:

“Fury Road” is a cross between “The Ten Commandments,” “Thelma and Louise,” “Blue Man Group,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Apocalypse Now.”

The movie featured strong female leads and portrayed men, as my wife would say, as having screwed up the world.

(BTW, I reject arguments by some that the movie emasculates men. Just give me a break. Go watch the movie and enjoy it for what it is and don’t try to overanalyze it.)

For all of its violence, “Fury Road,” to its credit, did not resort to explicit, graphic scenes of gore to transmit what was happening.

Oh, and by the way, the soundtrack was also amazing.

Bottom line: With all of its sound and fury, this “Mad Max” remake signifies that movie-making can still be done in ways that are surprising and worthwhile.