The trailer had me. I was stunned by the visual, lured by the return to Max’s world. I should have left it there!
To be honest Mad Max: Fury Road is not a terrible film. It is however not worthy of the outpouring of praise & critical fervour that it has stirred up. This mantra of the ‘return of the great action film’ is something which is over used and over hyped.
An apocalyptic story set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and almost everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life. Within this world exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order. There’s Max (Tom Hardy), a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos and Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.
This is a two hour car chase punctuated with occasional dialogue. The problem for me is the unexplainable nature of certain elements. Why is Max captured at the start of the film other than to start the chase? Max’s flashbacks to a young girl which I presume he could not save from some unexplained horror. It is never explained who she is or what happened to her.
This may seem petty criticism but these elements were distractions for me and took me out of the film.
As for the much lauded strong female character lines I fail to see them. Yes the women involved are removed form their old world roles of breeders and feeders but they never reach the dizzy heights that many seem to think they do. In effect they are pretty anonymous. Theron is might as Furiosa but to claim this is a victory for women in film is strong given that she is nothing more than ‘Ripley light’ driving fast and shooting a gun.
As I said Mad Max is not terrible but it may be the biggest cinematic disappointment I experience this year!