I finally got around to seeing this series!
All my life, I had never had much interest in the Mad Max series. I might have tried giving them a watch when I was younger, but then they seemed to be dated and cheesy to me. A few months back I got ahold of the original Mel Gibson movies and finally gave them a try. Are they dated and cheesy? Yes. But, they were all very good films.
The first felt the most different of the three to me, as it should. It takes place before the post-apocalyptic setting that we see for the rest of the series. So right off the bat the first film looks and feels different from the others. For the most part, I enjoyed the first film. It’s an entertaining revenge flick that has a grittiness level that was ahead of its time. But the film doesn’t quite hold up to the excitement of its sequels.
‘The Road Warrior’ to me, is the epitome of Mad Max. As a viewer, you are now completely in this post-apocalyptic world, and you feel it. I cannot complain about a single thing in this movie. It doesn’t even feel all that dated. The locations, costumes, look of the characters, and action are all perfection. If you’ve never seen ‘The Road Warrior’, please do so.
‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’ is interesting. The beginning of the film is awesome, and set me up to believe this would be even better than ‘Road Warrior’. But then the movie shifts. For the entire middle section, I feel like I’m watching ‘Hook’ or ‘Temple of Doom’. The plot of the children feels out of place, however it’s not bad. It makes you question if someone changed the channel to a different movie for a bit, but once you see everything come together, it ends with an epic climax vehicle chase that is very true to the previous film.
Speaking of holding true to ‘The Road Warrior’, this is exactly what ‘Mad Max Fury Road’ does.
‘Fury Road’ may in fact be the greatest action movie to have come out in the last few years. My biggest regret is not seeing this in the theater; however, even just viewing this at home with its great blu-ray picture and sound, this was enough to prove how great this movie is.
This is definitely the best of the series for so many reasons. The first being that it’s basically ‘The Road Warrior’ as far as the action and feel. But it’s done even better. The look of the film is perfect, the sound and effects are heavy and real, and the stunts were mind-blowing. All of these things put together made the film feel astronomical.
The special effects for this film were at the top of their game. All stunts were filmed using real practical things, in real locations. CGI was only used to enhance the look of things, to give more detail and contrast. This is how an action movie should be. Directors should really take note of this.
The entire film is all one giant action scene with brief pauses here and there. On paper, that sounds like something that would get boring and tedious after awhile. That’s not the case with this. Every scene, and every shot serves a purpose, and very little feels wasted. The plot is extremely simple, for there’s almost no plot at all. It’s all centered around one decision of one character. It’s really just a quick excuse to have a 2 hour action thrill ride, but it works.
Aside from all the action, which is 90% of the reason for this films’ greatness; the characters are another thing that stands out. The wives each have a personality and you really care about their safety. The big spotlight of this film is Charlize Theron who plays Furiosa. Her part reminded me a lot of Ellen Ripley from the ‘Alien’ franchise as she played a great leading lady action role. I definitely rooted for Nicholas Hoult’s character, as he went through the most development and earned his moments of triumph.
Max himself was actually one of the only weaker points to this film, in my opinion. His characterization was on point, and I loved that he hardly spoke at all, because even in ‘The Road Warrior’, Max is a man of few words. What did bother me a bit was Tom Hardy’s grunting, as well as the delivery of certain lines. I have to be honest when certain grunts/lines of dialogue took me out of the movie a bit. I realize that this should be his take on this character, but it would have been nice if he tried to match his voice levels to that of Mel Gibson. He really sounded like Bane from ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ half of the time. It would have been much better if Tom Hardy spoke like he did in ‘Inception’ than he did for his Batman villain role. Just a little nitpick though. He did a good job, but Mel Gibson is still the better Max in my book.
I am so happy that I have finally seen the Mad Max films. ‘Fury Road’ especially was a great joy to watch, mostly because of George Miller’s direction. Not many action films have this kind of greatness to them these days, aside from our spy movies. I hope that more of these are made!
‘Mad Max’- C+
‘The Road Warrior’- A
‘Mad Mad Beyond Thunderdome’- B
‘Mad Max Fury Road’- A