Movie Review: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ kicks summer into high gear
I feel like the best kind of review for “Mad Max: Fury Road” would be a five second Vine of myself hopping around and flapping my hands excitedly, as my smiling, paralyzed face gurgles out something that would be considered laughter if it wasn’t so chilling. Because there isn’t a single word I could type that could properly convey how good this movie is. Sure, I could try and describe it as ‘awesome-nuts’ or ‘radi-tits’ or ‘miracul-anus’, but what would that accomplish? You’d hate me (slightly more than usual) and wrongly assume that “Mad Max: Fury Road” is the kind of grating, superficial geek thing that would chiefly appeal to hyperactive irritants in ‘Bazinga!’ T-shirts who never stop describing themselves as “such a nerd!”
No, everybody needs to see this and I’m going to try to make this film sound, at the very least, half as entertaining as it truly is. Consider this review to be the written equivalent to a gun to the forehead or a knife to the throat. And by that I mean it’s basically just a threat. You just don’t need to see this, you need to love it.
Or I will bite you.
I’m 36 and I will bite you on the shoulder or cheek (anywhere else is just too weird). This is just how much I love “Mad Max: Fury Road”.
I’ll bite you over it and I’m not shitting around. Try me.
One of the first things you’ll hear in “Fury Road” is the sound of an old woman saying, “Our bones are poisoned.” I don’t know what the context is or why it’s said, but the film had me at ‘poisoned.’ The rest of “Fury Road” just could have been Anna Kendrick farting into a bucket to the tune of the Cup Song and I still would have loved it. Nonetheless, the film just continues to get better. A bearded man (Tom Hardy) steps on a two-headed gecko, picks it up and eats it shortly before he’s kidnapped by a group of pale, feral men who violently groom and turn him into a human blood bank.
From there, this man (who, as it turns out, is the new, hopefully less anti-Semitic, Mad Max) is turned into a makeshift hood ornament, wipes blood off of his face with breast milk and escapes from his kidnappers with the reluctant assistance from Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) who has smuggled the five wives of Joe Furiosa (Hugh Keays-Byrne) – the fascist leader of the pale, feral men – out of the citadel where Max was being held prisoner. Meanwhile, Joe and his band of pale monstrosities (along with a man who has alarmingly puffy feet) relentlessly pursue Max and Imperator across a post-apocalyptic Australian outback.
On paper, “Mad Max: Fury Road” seems like too much of a good thing. Watching this movie should make you as sick as eating cake frosting straight from the tube because it basically is just one big car chase. But what a car chase. It’s the bloodiest, most surreal episode of “The Wacky Races” you’d ever want to see. The stunts – all of which are performed by mutant strains of classic cars – are explosive; the practical effects, impressive.
But the real draw behind “Fury Road” is the unpredictable weirdness. Over the course of the film, a man’s teeth turn out to be bullets that he yanks out of his head whenever he’s running low on ammo, people in ratty cloaks wander around on stilts for unexplained reasons, an intense teenager draws smiley faces on his neck boils and names them, a blind man drives a muscle car tank as he fires a pair of Uzis into the air, obese women are hooked up to a milking machine.
I haven’t even discussed the characters who huff spray paint as they’re climbing around on top of big rigs or the guy who is chained to a truck and forced to shred wicked solos on his flame-throwing guitar (which he also uses as a hammock). It’s bananers and director George Miller throws you into this world without any warning or explanation. He just trusts that you’ll figure it, out or at the very least, gladly accept the weirdness at face value.
In essence, “Mad Max: Fury Road” is what every summer movie should aspire to be. It’s exciting, artfully shot and bold enough to subvert genre conventions in a genuinely shocking way. Honestly, if you’re not entertained by this movie’s provocative selection of bionic arms, pregnant Victoria’s Secret models and deformed dwarves, you deserve to get bit by a 36-year-old man. Again, just try me. My teeth are ready, willing and bite-y.