I need to be honest and admit I was never a fan of the Mad Max movies of the 80s. I actually thought they were pretty darn stupid. That was with the exception of Beyond Thunderdome, which in my opinion was the only one worth watching. So I was one of the few people who wasn’t exactly thrilled that they’d decided to continue on with the series.
To my surprise, I actually enjoyed this refueled version of Mad Max.
The story starts with Max being pursued by a bunch of crazy looking, bone wearing guzzaline addicted War Boys. They are let by the creepy leader Joe (Hugh Keyes-Byrne, who also played the villain in the original Mad Max). Of course, Max gets captured, and tortured. Then, an extremely bad ass Charlize Theron shows up a warrior Furiosa, steals Joe’s girlfriends and breaks Max out.
Both Hardy and Theron burn up the screen with their intensity. I’ve never really seen Theron as an action star, I mean, I have seen Aeon Flux, but in this movie, she shines as the torn, revenge driven leading lady. Hardy also adds something to the original Max, who was mainly known for being broody when played by Mel Gibson 30 years ago, but is so much more than that now.
The story has been revamped in a way that actually makes it worth watching. I always felt like I was watching a crappy movie filmed at a dump with the original Mad Max movies, but they flipped the script on me this time and really did some major world building. You no longer think you’re watching a bunch of acting school drop outs with bad hair argue about gas. Instead, it really captured the post-apocalyptic sense beautifully.
The director does an amazing job, pulling away from even attempting to keep this PG-13 and instead going all in on violence and vehicular carnage. He is not afraid to go there with his filming and the action of the movie actually matches the intensity of the leads.
This is not a remake or even a reboot. It’s a complete reimagining of the original and it was beautifully done. While I’d usually only watch the movies when they were on late night cable, now I’m willing to watch them in the theater. That says something special about this film, because it’s really hard to get me off the couch.
Of course, this isn’t really one for the kids. It’s violent and rough to watch. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed from the original. The director seems to almost revel in carnage. It’s a spectacle of a film that does not rely on special effects or CGI. It’s fueled purely by good direction and excellent acting. In today’s theater filled with overblown superheroes and constant CGI, this was an amazing change of pace that kind of blew my mind.
I assumed I was going to hate this, but I really, really enjoyed this. It was extremely well done and way higher quality than the originals. Not only is this one worth the watch, but I’m awaiting the next installment eagerly.