Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Mad Max” Returns With New Star

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Director George Miller presented us with a dystopian future in 1979’s “Mad Max,” a violent road warrior epic starring an Australian newcomer named Mel Gibson. This heroic incarnation of a former
 highway patrolman named Max gave us a flicker of hope in a future where gasoline is the currency du jour.

But ol’ Mel let us down.

After scaling the Hollywood hills, giving us a series of comedic cop movies, and getting rich off “The Passion of Christ,” he turned out to have feet of clay. After a series of bitter fights with his mistress, run-ins with the law, DUI’s, and racial and sexist rants, we needed another role model.

Enter stage left, Tom Hardy.

The British actor (you saw him driving around in “Locke,” and he was Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises”) has stepped into Gibson’s boots, starring in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” George Miller’s recent remake of his post-apocalyptic masterpiece. This time around he delivers even more fast-car action, more pyrotechnics, more … well, heroism.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is currently battling it out on screens at the Tropic Cinema.

As Max tells it: “My world is reduced to a single instinct: survive. As the world fell it was hard to know who was more crazy, me … or everyone else.”

In this stark desert wasteland, Max Rockantasky teams up with a mysterious woman known as Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron sets aside her Oscar statuette to take on this role). Max plans to lead Furiosa back to her homeland, a place that might offer a key to humanity’s survival.

Needless to say, this pilgrimage is challenged by the tribes of crazies who ride about in souped-up dune buggies and monster trucks like warring bands of ISIS.

Read into it what you will.

George Miller (“Happy Feet,” “Babe: Pig In the City”) sees this movie more as a reboot than a remake. He deliberately set the action years after Max loses his family because he “did not want to retell the story that had already been told.” Also, this gave him a chance to update the Mad Max universe, taking it beyond the three earlier films that starred Mel Gibson.

It was rumored that Gibson would have a cameo role as a drifter in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” but don’t look for him in the final cut. He hasn’t been sufficiently rehabilitated with moviegoing audiences yet.

As this bit of surrogate dialogue puts it:
Imperator Furiosa: “You never gonna have a better chance.”
Max: “At what?”
Imperator Furiosa: “Redemption.”

Tom Hardy plans to sign for three more Mad Max road warrior extravaganzas. He knows a good franchise when he sees one -- a fable that’s timely in this age of warring desert nomads taking over oil fields. After all, don’t we need a safe-in-a-movie-theater release for our rage and pent-up anger?

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