Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mad Max Review

If you have seen the trailer for the soon to be released film Mad Max: Fury Road, you have witnessed the onslaught of madness that has me as giddy as a school girl, and with that excitement came the desire to revisit the original trilogy. At first I was captivated by just how damn young Mel Gibson once was, which I know seems like a silly thing to say but for some reason my mind imagines he has always been William Wallace, face painted and a heart so brave. Well, I also think about the real life anger and racism, but I digress. 

It had been probably 15 years since the last time I saw the original Mad Max, so while I had some small familiar snapshots that popped up in my mind I really didn't recall much in terms of tone and pacing. With the imagery of the new film blasting through my brain, I was anticipating the mania, the terror, and the dystopian aesthetic, and while there is a bit of all of those things in Mad Max, it was a much more quiet and measured cinematic experience than I assumed it would be. 

Society is beginning to fall apart in the world originally built by director George Miller, but it isn't complete and utter chaos as of yet, just the start of it trending in that direction. Max Rockatansky is a police officer but he is also a peaceful, happy man, one with a wife and an infant son. When his family is threatened, Max starts to get a little unhinged. When tragedy occurs at the hands of a biker gang, Max transforms into something else entirely. He puts on his leather police gear, jumps into his bad ass car and begins his furious pursuit of revenge. Max has a thirst and the only thing that can quench it is the blood of those who took so much from him. Max is mad.

Mad Max is fast paced and incredibly entertaining, but the film falls short in two ways for me: one, the bad guy gang of motorcycle men just don't feel bad enough. Their actions are clearly deplorable but their on screen personas don't intimidate me the way I thought they would. There is no charisma from their characters, nothing to make them interesting beyond the fact that we know they are evil and we want them to die for it.

The other issue I have with Mad Max is that I actually find it to be too fast paced for me. For much of the film, the story moves at a sublime rhythm and I appreciated the quiet and meaningful moments that developed characters, but then when it was time for the revenge to be dished out cold, the justice delivered by Max felt as if it was moving in fast forward. I wanted to soak in his anger and I wanted to bask in his rage, but instead they cram all of the violence we would actually root for as an audience into about 15 minutes of screen time. It just moves so quickly I felt like I couldn't really enjoy it. 

Despite these qualms, I am a big fan of Mad Max and am excited to revisit The Road Warrior soon.



  1. Great review man - I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on both Road Warrior (which is the best of the trilogy in my eyes) and Beyond Thunderdome (which feels more like Road Warrior than it does the original, but remains a distant second (or maybe even third)). I couldn't be more excited for Fury Road.

    1. Thanks Daniel, I appreciate you reading it. Means a lot.

      I am going to revisiting Road Warrior and (hopefully) Beyond Thunderdome before I see Fury Road. Road Warrior is for sure, I have the DVD in the house now from the library, but for whatever reason they don't even have Thunderdome. So I am hopeful to grab a copy soon to see that as well, but can't guarantee it.

      Initially I was lukewarm excited for Fury Road, one of those, cool, I will see it at some point feelings...but the closer we get and the more and more positive reactions I have heard, I am pumped. Going to see it next weekend for sure.

      Thanks again Daniel!

  2. Nice review. Short, sweet and to the point. I have never seen the original films, but the new one looks interesting. I may take a look at the originals in the future.

    1. Ah thank you Evan, I appreciate it.

      Yeah, you may enjoy the originals, you should give em' a look at some point. My review for the second (and better) one, The Road Warrior, should be coming soon after revisiting it this past weekend.

      Thanks for reading and the kind words!