This year’s growing anticipation and buzz surrounding writer-director George Miller’s return to lead the fourth installment of his “Mad Max” series has been palpable and on a level only attained by one other 2015 cult classic…this December’s release of “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens”. In fact, many might argue that Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” dwarfs J.J. Abrams’ “The Force Awakens” since it’s been 30 years since Max Rockatansky roamed the Australian post-apocalypse Outback desert on film.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” begins with one of the best opening sequences of any movie so far in 2015. After a quick (although too short) narration by Tom Hardy as Mad Max, an all-out suspense thriller ensues for the next fifteen minutes. During this time we’re introduced to the roving band of marauders sporting a guitar lead and one renegade fighter named Imperator Furiosa, played convincingly by Charlize Theron. Similar to other strong female rebels found in the Mad Max movie collection, viewers will have to determine if Theron’s Furiosa is a good character or an evil one. Beyond the film’s exciting start lies continuous battle scenes that become so repetitive and numbing to the eyes, only younger iGeneration Mad Max fans and “Transformers” filmmaker Michael Bay will applaud.
Aside from its impressive choreography and cinematography throughout the film, “Fury Road” lacks a compelling, understood story. Viewers are given plenty of sand skirmishes and scantily clad concubines to follow, but no backstory on Max Rockatansky—the former Australian patrol officer who goes mad after seeing his family killed by gang members during society’s breakdown in the 1979 original movie.
This is Max’s story to tell, yet Hardy rarely strings more than 2 or 3 words together at a time. The lack of dialogue in “Fury Road” becomes noticeable to viewers and takes focus away from Max’s background story, as well as his current predicament. No explanation or character development is offered on Theron’s sparkplug Furiosa either.
“Fury Road” is merely the place-holder for the next George Miller endeavor–“Mad Max: Furiosa”–which has already completed filming. As we’ve seen from the likes of the Marvel comic series or even last year’s “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1”, studios are making movies for the sole purpose of setting up their next film. Sometimes an incomplete movie is used to generate a need to see the next one. This tactic leaves movie goers with questions as to what they just saw, but knowing the answers and true understanding can only to be found in the following film coming down the pike. Which according to Tom Hardy in recent press reports, will include his appearance in three more George Miller Mad Max films in our future. Let’s hope the lingering questions and character development omitted in “Fury Road” get addressed in “Mad Max: Furiosa”. This spectacular franchise and its increasing fan base deserve it.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is rated R for intense sequences of violence and disturbing images. Its running time is 2 hours.
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