Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

The first Mad Max movie I saw was The Road Warrior, much like most people. It was only later that I learned about the original, and I got to see the... somewhat disjointed Mad Max. Yes, in the intermediate time I also saw Beyond Thunderdome, but we all kind of try to forget that one, don't we? It was only later that I got to see the Australian release of the original Mad Max, and I understood the problem. The version of the original that I saw was the American version with voiceovers. They were all over-the-top when compared to the original Austrailian version, and the whole movie worked a lot better with the original voice work.

This movie is pretty much The Road Warrior. Well, it clearly uses that movie is most of the basis. Just like that movie, it starts off with Max already having that kick-ass car of his, the world has already gone to hell, and Max is a cunning bastard who has a soft spot for the underdog. From there, Max (who doesn't have his dog, sadly enough) runs into bad guys, seems like he's going to die a bunch of times, and reveals his soft spot for the ladies and general bad ass-ness. 

The big thing I heard about this movie was the practical special effects. This movie wasn't going to be another Fast and Furious CG-filled money grab. Instead, it had actual cars that they rolled, explosions that they blew up, and guys on harnesses that they stuck on bouncy poles to attack Max with. Here's the thing, though - this movie had a lot of CG. It was very good CG, and the practical effects made a seamless transition from one style of action to the next.

Tom Hardy play Max well enough, but even as the titular character, he didn't have much more than action scenes to contend with. For a guy who acts as well as he does, Tom's lines were strikingly limited. A good portion of the movie has Tom with a big metal thing on his head, so you can't see much more than his eyes, and there's so much going on that you can't really even see them. 

Hugh Keays-Byrne plays the god-awful bad guy. The whole time the movie was going, I heard them calling him "Immortal Joe," but it turns out his name was actually Immortan Joe. I don't know why they made his name that, but I suspect there were lawyers or marketing people involved. He plays a guy who needs help putting his clear acrylic armor on, appears weak and useless, but then has what at first glance was an oxygen mask with teeth painted on it shoved on his face, and he's a big, strong guy again. Hugh WELL overplays his role, but coloring outside the box is what a lot of these characters are for.

Nicholas Hoult, last seen as Beast in the new X-Men movies, plays a young acolyte who kind of befriends the good guys and is kind of on their side and kind of trustworthy and kind of okay for most of the time. You get the feeling that his character is modeled after Gollum with the uneasy truce and the cunning of a predator without the intellect of a regular person. 

Charlize Theron does most of the acting for the movie. Most of that acting is angry, some scared, a bit of pain, some more anger, a glimmer of happiness, determination, defiance, fear, and a bit more anger. A lot of that doesn't include words, but she's acting all the same. For some reason, they put a fake hand on her and made her an amputee, but the CG was very good, so it wasn't that distracting. 

Acting was good
Action was great
Story was simple, but solid
Effects were excellent
Dialog was nearly non-existent 

Bottom Line: A very good action movie with over-the-top action, characters, and battle cars.

4.0/5

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