Dear Hollywood, at this point of your existence, you better pack your clutter away as George Miller has just rendered your inebriated action filmmaking obsolete with Mad Max: Fury Road – a firestorm of grit, brawns and artful piece of anarchy that blowtorches all your dreary, patronising and faux-macho action movies for the last few years, if not the last decade. The truth is, your corporate-driven, account-managed, Excel sheet-directed superhero blockbusters that the studios are currently capitalising on anesthetise raw and risky projects, and instead depend on lazily calculated formulas of CGI pixels and predictable, plodding plots. You’ve forgotten to gamble and challenge, embolden creators and finance culture-makers who will revolutionise moviemaking and put back dignity and glory in populist entertainment. Thank fuck someone at Warner Bros. have the balls to roll the dice and allowed Miller to resurrect the show. Sure, Mad Max is, after all, a franchise and one that’s been dead for years (three decades, to be precise, after Tina Turner shut that ghastly Beyond Thunderdome down back in 1984). Fury Road is a wise move, and a gloriously calibrated counter-attack on the diminishing returns of franchise-making.[divider]+[/divider]
A firestorm of grit, brawns and artful piece of anarchy that blowtorches all your dreary, patronising and faux-macho action movies in the last decade.[divider]+[/divider]
Let’s be reminded that Miller is now officially a septuagenarian, hence the surprise of Fury Road‘s unhinged ferocity is truly justified. It’s both whacked-out, thunderously deranged and conceivably made by someone who must be high on something, and yet it’s also structured to perfection, magnificently directed in all its grungy, alt-rock dystopia and balls-to-the-wall boldness. Indeed, this is an action film with balls, brain and a swelling heart (whilst ours are being ripped to shreds, pushed through unbearable tension and simulated a minor cardiovascular attack throughout its few nerve-shredding chase sequences). But above all, Fury Road has the sheer audacity to shit on Hollywood’s unimaginative approach to filmmaking and send a fierce missive to a senselessly patriarchal society. It’s not every day an action film manages to combat those two together.
Instrumental to this is, unexpectedly, not Max Rockatansky himself (played no less by a great Tom Hardy, who’s a natural, sturdy successor to Mel Gibson) but the character of Imperator Furiosa. A sublimely monikered, wondrously manifested character, this figure is palpably broken and operating with a rusty mechanical arm and yet remains to be an unassailed, complex and ferocious freedom fighter and firebrand who happens to be a woman. You’d probably hear the collective gulp of executive studio bosses during George Miller’s sequel pitch. But this is a Mad Max film, we can’t have a woman leading the charge! Exlaims a bunch of arseholes-cum-mysogynists who aren’t happy with Fury Road‘s so-called “feminist agenda”.
Well, dudes whose egoes are hurt by the fact that women are as strong as men can go back to Dark Ages, as far as I’m concerned. But if they paid attention to the actual film itself, they’d find out that it’s all about equality. Yes, Furiosa is a mighty, badass character (Theron delivers perhaps the most powerful female action performance in decades) but she’s no less or more than Max. Throughout Fury Road‘s intense pile-up and mayhem, Max and Furiosa are both fighting together to restore humanity and hope for a new civilisation that the film’s prevailing tyrannical society has profoundly besmirched. If you are a man and a woman, and cares about the future of humanity, then you should be supporting this film, not attack it – like the way Neanderthalian idiots do.