Mad Max: Fury Road Review

I have seen Mad Max, and I have an opinion on it.

I also don’t like to give away anything in movie reviews. So if you keep reading, what's next is a spoiler free paragraph on what I think. Then the trailer.

Below the trailer THERE BE SPOILERS. You are warned!

Mad Max: Fury Road is the most bonkers Hollywood movie I’ve seen in recent memory. Actual stunts from both man and machine, real explosions, and batguano insanity makes every action movie in recent memory look like a crappy video game. Visual violence and energy like nothing you’ve seen in years. If you like action movies, go right now.


Mad Max: Fury Road is unlike any Hollywood movie I can think of that's come out in decades, in so many ways. The obvious is there are actual vehicles doing actual stunts actually getting blown up. Shocking. When was the last time you saw that? Sure there’s some CG, but there is so much practical effect awesomeness that the CG actually blends in.

Take by comparison, well, literally every other action movie from the last 15 years.

If all you’re looking for is explosions, fire, and punches, you will not be disappointed. On that simple level, it succeeds admirably.

It’s also flat out shocking that you can actually see what’s happening. In an era of atrocious framing (Michael Bay), shaky cam (Paul Greengrass), or just mediocre direction (Michael Bay again), it’s mind-blowing to be able to actually see what’s going on. It’s epic action filmmaking with an art and style that seemed to die out in the 90s. George Miller and cinematographer John Seale have put every action movie of recent memory to shame. Boring, pathetic shame. You’ll leave the theater thinking “why isn’t every action movie that good”.

Perhaps more fascinating is that it’s also a lot more.

For one thing, its structure is unlike pretty much any movie you’ve seen. You could force-fit a sort of 3-act structure to it, but that’s not how it flows.

It is, basically, a two hour chase scene. Unrelenting in its pace, save for a few moments of dialog to move the plot a bit. These are inserted less, it seems, to clarify, and more to give the audience a moment to breathe.

Not only is it all very intense, but they kill a LOT of main characters. So many, that by the end you’re not sure if any of them are going to live. I wouldn’t have been surprised, given how it was going, if every main character was dead at the end and George Miller himself appeared, literally dropped a mic, and walked off screen.

But even that isn’t the impressive part. It’s a big budget and epic action movie… about and driven (pun intended) by women. Max is there, certainly, but only at one point does he do anything to really effect the plot. That’s incredible. Unprecedented?

There's a LOT that happens in the movie that Max is merely there for. Barely an active participant. The active roles and decisions are all made by women. Usually by Charlize Theron’s character Furiosa, who is not only every bit Max’s equal, but basically the actual protagonist of the film. In other scenes he helps, sure, but his role could have been replaced by any strong, actiony violent type (Brienne of Tarth, say).

Hmmm, don't move the plot and are easily replaceable THIS IS HOW WOMEN ARE IN NEARLY EVERY ACTION MOVIE. How's that for a change?

It’s amusing that MM:FR, a movie ostensibly about a male anti-hero, handily passes the Bechdel Test. Yet Avengers 2, written by a man who popularized several strong female characters, effectively does not. For all its hype and budget, A2 is a mess and while fun, practically breaks under its own weight. MM:FR is visually, and mentally, more interesting, despite its seemingly simpler plot and structure.

One reviewer pointed out (I can't find the review at the moment), that it’s Theron’s character’s anger, hate, emotion, and drive that pushes the movie forward, a perfect counterpoint to Max’s misanthropy and selfishness.

So it’s no wonder that the pathetically misguided “Men’s Rights Activists” (don’t Google it, life’s too short and your brain will hurt at the stupidity) absolutely hate this movie, as it features strong female characters standing up for themselves and kicking ass.

MM:FR all works together wonderfully, and is about as good way to spend 2 hours as I can imagine right now.

Bottom Line

So with all this said, does that mean I think Mad Max: Fury Road is the best movie ever ever and ever. No. It’s not perfect, certainly. There were a few parts that I rolled my eyes at. But it's so over-the-top insane that I loved it and it's easily best action movie I've seen in years. I can't wait to see it again.

Jonasandezekiel's picture

Oh my God Geoffrey, can you get it more twisted than what I just read??? So, basically, the brains behind this movie took a franchise character, Mad Max--someone thats as iconic as they get--and USURPED his very usefulness with women as the protagonists, making him one-dimensional set dressing, while still calling it a "Mad Max" movie. And you think its OKAY??? I'm not a "men's rights activist" ( I'm a people's rights activist maybe) but I find it basically insulting to, yes, MEN, and pretty much a poke in eye to anyone of ether sex that remembers this movie as it was or should be. Does EVERYTHING that guys enjoy have to purged by the what hollywood elite feels are stone-age notions?? What is ever-so-earnestly meant not to offend ends up doing just that, and I'm a little tired of it frankly.

Understand that the demographic that would be able to connect back to the original movie, (and would probably have the most interest in it) are definitely of a certain age by now, and might just find it a bit too much revisionist history to stomach.
Thank you for saving me the money or my precious time. This is one movie I will definitely not be seeing.

javanp's picture

"I find it basically insulting to, yes, MEN, and pretty much a poke in eye to anyone of ether sex that remembers this movie as it was or should be"

... I don't think you recall those movies as well as you think you do. In "The Road Warrior" Max is, as he is in this movie, basically a vehicle which allows the plot of the movie to progress. He's not a character we necessarily care about or that the movie is about. The protagonists are the people inside the oil refuge; the antagonists are the crazy biker gang. Max has no real part in either, yet he becomes a reluctant (anti)hero. Same thing here... And, though it's been a while since I've seen it, I believe the same is pretty much true in Beyond Thunderdome. The original Mad Max was, of course, different, yet that's been a pretty stand-alone entry in the scope of the franchise even before Fury Road.

"Thank you for saving me the money or my precious time. This is one movie I will definitely not be seeing." Your loss. It's one of the most epic action films my eyes have ever seen.

Geoffrey Morrison's picture
Exactly, javanp. Also yes, they do.
Jonasandezekiel's picture

javanap...I like the points you make, and perhaps in some small way you're right, but ANYONE like Geoffrey here, that bases his movie review (and ALL the movies he sees it seems) on some stupid Bechdel test is far from anyone I want to take movie advice from. ( Is that how he scores with women??) I guess men can be misandrists too. The most ridiculous, and even ignorant movie review I have ever read in my life. Its given me a slow burn ever since I read it.

Geoffrey Morrison's picture
Wow Jonasandezekiel, you hit all the MRA talking points. Bravo. I would have expected more from someone with an Indigo Girls song as their chosen screen name.

Since it's clear you've never read any movie review I've ever written, save this one, I'm not at all concerned if you never read another.

dommyluc's picture

Man, I thought misogyny like that went out with a 1963 issue of Playboy magazine. Personally, I think Charlize Theron and Sigourney "Aliens" Weaver should team up and kick Janos's ass. And yes, Mr. Morrison, I think that you are quite correct in assuming that he is an MRA member. I wonder if Janos had trouble finding a date for his high school prom.

Jonasandezekiel's picture

Morrison...I have no idea what the MRA is, but reading just ONE of your misinformed, misandrist and misguided reviews is enough, believe me. Please stop with the socio-political statements and stick to the actual MOVIE, if that's possible. Maybe you'll get somewhere instead of simply insulting people to make your point.

Geoffrey Morrison's picture
Amusing given that,
1) Countless reviewers far smarter than I have said similar things about this brilliant, brilliant movie, and,
2) Only an MRA would think that "pro-women" has to mean "anti-men". The world is far more interesting than that.

Also, thankfully, I don't work for you. So I can write movie reviews any way I think works. Since I've been getting paid to do so for a decade and a half, that way seems to work well enough for me.

Jonasandezekiel's picture

Again, MRA is what?? You have NO EARTHLY IDEA what I stand for, so don't just blindly assume, as it appears is your style. That ridiculous Bechdel test proves nothing except where YOU stand, (along with, of course your snarky comments) and certainly isn't relevant to the movie.
Hey dude, I hope you realize I'm smack dab in the middle of your target demographic. I subscribe to the magazine, I visit the website, and I didn't like your review, okay? If you don't like feedback, or only want to associate with people that totally agree with you, then get rid of the comment section. I agree however that my memory of the original movie's plot might be a bit hazy...maybe I need to revisit the original movie again. Its been a long time.

Geoffrey Morrison's picture
I, and the others who have commented here, see perfectly well what you stand for, whether you realize it or not.

But please, tell me again how I lie to women, hate all men, and yet somehow *I'm* the one that's being insulting (by merely pointing out your rather obvious perspectives).

Jonasandezekiel's picture

Geoffrey, oh're not very evidence based in your ASSumptions, are you? You infer way too much, and also very skillfully avoided any of my very salient points. Socrates said, "when the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser".
Stick to the actual movie next time, and stop the socio-political witch hunts. You could have done much better. *possibly*

Geoffrey Morrison's picture
If you had made any points, salient or otherwise, I would have gladly addressed them. Instead, since you have used "slander" (technically, ad hominem) in every one of your posts, and I have used none, I'll take that as evidence that your Socrates quote is aimed at yourself. I'll close with a quote of my own:

"Don't argue with MRAs on the Internet." - Plato

Jonasandezekiel's picture

Geoffrey, I'm not a member of the MRA, NRA, or PTA. All I'm suggesting (quite reasonably I think) is that you cease and desist with the social commentary and talk about the movie in question, whether its Mad Max, or any other. That's all. You seem to think you're above criticism yourself. And please don't infer based on a few comments my ENTIRE belief system and opinions about women for God's sake. That's where you crossed the line and insulted me.

On that note...