Year Released: 2015
Directed by: George Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron
(R, 120 min.)
Genre: Action and Adventure
“My name is Max. My world is fire. And blood.” Max Rockatansky
It’s a hotrod show from hell. A surreal Hieronymus Bosch canvas come to life in a post apocalypse world not even Dante could envision.
But what it certainly is not is the “Certified Fresh” Rotten Tomatoes masterpiece the critics purport it to be. Nor is Mad Max: Fury Road the feminist tour de force that has the PC crowd gushing.
Mad Max: Fury Road is one great video game spectacle, with raging albino warriors, earth-loving grannie bikers, a small harem of scantily clad “breeders,” and a one-armed female warrior (Charlize Theron as Furiosa) as dazzling eye candy.
Yet it is the vehicles themselves that are the stars. Mad Max himself (Tom Hardy) is reduced to being a hood ornament, but even he cannot compete with the fire-breathing guitar and its gyrating rocker mounted on another. Who needs trumpets and bagpipes to lead you to war when you have a Jimi Hendrix mounted to the dash?
The film is basically one great chase. It is Steven McQueen from Bullitt on steroids, Gene Hackman’s Popeye Doyle from The French Connection (French Pizza) pumping up the badass until it’s about ready to explode. And that’s exactly what quite a few of the skull-adorned Warboy desert hotrods do, in blazing 3D glory if you have forked out for the pricey enhanced ticket.
The plot and character development are so thin it actually seems as if someone just hired a hack screenwriter to hitch in a few words between explosions and assorted mayhem. I certainly hope Tom Hardy got some big bucks for his role, since the fine actor has his face hidden behind a steel mask that resembles a bear trap for almost half the film and is almost mute the entire time. So much so, that when he says, “Max, My name is Max,” the critics fall all over themselves at the profundity.
Sure, “My name is Bond, James Bond,” probably does the same for me, but that is in the context of someone who has saved the world without putting a wrinkle in his elegant tux, all the while not spilling a drop of his vodka martini.
By contrast, Max tells us “My name is Max. My world is fire. And blood,” just before he steps on a two-headed lizard and crunches it between his lips, the wriggling tale still thrashing as the camera goes to close-up.
Of course the real hero of the film, as the band of effusive feminists will tell you, is Charlize Theron’s Furiosa. The film puts her in the conventional side-kick role, but it is Furiosa who generates the action. She is the one who has to instruct Max on the intricacies of driving the huge armored truck she pilots. Furiosa has to disappear for a while to repair a fuel leak underneath, which she does without batting an eye while the thing is going full throttle across the desert.
Her cause is noble, too: to release the “breeder” harem from the male dominated Citadel, where the only other females are lactating grunges who produce “mother’s milk,” chained and overfed like Peta’s version of mistreated diary cows. As another critic pointed out earlier, this girl power is neither unconventional nor new, and perhaps better suited for another audience:
The “girl power” message in Fury Road is that primitive societies tend to treat women badly, and that’s horribly wrong, especially when warlords take it to the point of enslaving women for their harem. That’s not a very controversial theme… at least not in modern Western culture. I’m not sure if Miller intended any deliberate resemblance between his villains and the likes of Boko Haram or ISIS, but if anybody needs to sit through a $200 million action-packed lecture on the evils of slavery, it’s them, not American multiplex audiences. –John Hayward
Yet, what with the gauze clad harem girls and another completely nude one beckoning from a desert tower, director and co-screenwriter George Miller want to have it both ways. Hype the noble (but outdated) feminist message, but don’t forget a little skin on the side.
Don’t get me wrong. The spectacle kept me interested the full 2 hours. Different Drummer doesn’t find fault in this popcorn flick that excels in unbelievable stunts, showmanship, and a diabolically charged imagination.
But a masterpiece? Not even close!
With all the desert action, the scarcity of water, except of the poisoned swamp variety, you will leave the film almost as thirsty as Mad Max and Furiosa.
Maybe they can swipe a few strawberries from the greenhouses the elite enjoy at the Citadel and make this delightful drink. The red blush from our Frozen Strawberry Margarita suggests both the blood and fire behind Max and Furiosa. It also accounts for its new name.
Mad Max Bloody Margarita Recipe
Original recipe makes 4 servings
6 fluid ounces tequila
2 fluid ounces triple sec
8 ounces frozen sliced strawberries in syrup
4 fluid ounces frozen limeade concentrate
Fill a blender with ice and crush. Pour in the tequila and triple sec. Add the strawberries and limeade. Blend for 30 seconds or until smooth. Serve in margarita glasses with the rims dipped in powdered sugar.