“Still Better Than Getaway” (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Monotonously fast-paced to the point of exhaustion, Getaway offers a reminder of the dangers in attempting to speed past coherent editing, character development, sensible dialogue, and an interesting plot.

– Rotten Tomatoes (Critic’s Consensus of the 2013 film Getaway)

Mad Max Fury Road (Poster)
Action! Rock! Insanity!

I love Rotten Tomatoes. Oh, hey! I didn’t see you there. Well, you noticed that little quote up there? That’s exactly what Mad Max could have turned into.

In a post-apocalyptic version of Earth, where the only valid currency is oil, and the planet is one massive nuked dessert, murderous gangs made up of insane pawns roam the wastelands looking for war. Inside the madness, another mad man walks. His name is Max, and he’ll do anything to survive. So when he runs into Imperator Furiosa and her cargo of sex slaves who pine for freedom, he makes a shaky alliance, and finds himself in the fight of his life. Max, Furiosa, and a couple others along for the ride soon find themselves at the head of breakneck race all of the way to the only hope any of them have left.

This movie was pretty impressive, at least in the buildup department. It spends a lot of time making sure that you understand what’s going on, and there’s a lot of tension buildup in the beginning of the movie, and this makes the rest soooooo much better. The movie is also pretty awesome with payoff too. There was a whole lot of payoff. The action in Mad Max was top-notch. All the time, stuff is happening. Things are flying around, cars are gaining ground, losing ground, shooting at each other, and pulling off insane plans that would only work in this madly dystopian future.

Sometimes, when I’m in a movie theater, I forget that I’m not on a roller coaster or something, and people don’t want to hear me yell under my breath every time a dinosaur caves in the ceiling. It’s not too loud, actually not at all, but sometimes I can tell movie go-ers are tired of me. During Fury Road, I was pretty good about it, but I still don’t understand how. This movie will blow your mind with how amazingly action packed it is. There is never fatigue. It never slows down. There are times when the engine overheats, or when they have to stop and repair, but there is always the sight of the bad guys gaining down on them, so it makes you bite your nails with all the tension. This means that there is never a moment in Fury Road where I kicked back and said “yeah, I’ve seen this before.” Or “OK, you’ve done this too many times”. Seriously, this movie dosen’t get old. “Boring” is not in it’s vocabulary.

Furiosa (Mad Max)
Furiosa takes aim, presumably at an evil guy or… something.

It somehow keeps itself fresh, and is a better movie for it, because if you think about it, the main characters really just drove in a straight line, and then stopped and drove all the way back. But it was awesome! And the soundtrack was insane. In a good way. Seriously, pull up the Mad Max Fury Road soundtrack sometime on Youtube, or Spotify, or whatever you listen to. It’s amazing, and remember: it’s always better when it’s paired with the movie. And it was!

Actually, I thought this was kind of funny. Fury Road was actually a whole lot like Waterworld. Seriously, in the future, the world is covered in ocean/desert, a lone wanderer who is caught by a gang of mercenaries teams up with a group of women to find dry land/the green place, one of whom has the key to making it there. On the way, they end up messing with, and overthrowing the hierarchy. Those are the plots to both Mad Max Fury Road and Waterworld. That’s not criticism, it’s just something I thought was funny.

And the feminist side of the movie was very hard to deny as well. In a good way. Furiosa was driving a massive war rig out into the dessert, defying pretty much every other human alive, in order to free a group of “wives”. Once they reach their destination, they meet up with a group of women who help them take down the villain of the movie. Really, the only important male characters are Max, Nux, and Imortan Joe (who was the villain). That’s it. Almost nothing compared to the ass-kicking and not objectified women, who climb up into the double digits. Really, the titular Max just kind of stumbles in, awkwardly joins the group, and helps out without saying much.

Storm Brewing (Mad Max)
Fury Road is one of the most visually striking movies I’ve ever seen. Go and see this movie JUST for the visuals!

Best of all, Mad Max dosen’t weight itself down with a dark or edgy story. It has a plot, but goes through it in a very unique way. Most of the film actually has no dialogue, but you can always understand what’s going on. Sure, I love deep and serious plots, but Fury Road was just plain old fun. It had moments where I laughed (the Nitro drinking contest, where the guy just gets shot in the end), it had moments where I was sad (Nux’s sacrifice and redemption), it had moments where I was blown away (the sand/thunderstorm), and I had a genuinely good time.

In my opinion, action movies should have action. And this is what a lot of them do. (Surprise, surprise). But in order to pass the realm of eye-candy and move into where I keep seriously good movies, they have to accomplish a lot of things. They have to have big action, great characters, they have to be funny, they have to be serious, and know when to switch between the two. They have to have heart. They have to make me smile. They have to make me cry. Mad Max Fury Road did that, and accomplished so much more. This is what action movies are all about, people.

Mad Max: Fury Road decided to shake off it’s boring, monotonous roots, and become something better. This is a movie that thousands of people obviously put their hearts and souls into, and it shows. Fury Road isn’t a watch and forget movie. This is something that I will remember for a long time, and something that I hope others will. Mad Max: Fury Road is a genre-transcending movie, and something that is so much more than what it seems.

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