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Laramie Movie Scope:
Mad Max: Fury Road

Non-stop action film with lots of weird things

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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May 16, 2015 -- With so many remakes and sequels being made these days, I didn't really think another Mad Max movie was needed (this is the fourth one) but this one is a mesmerizing ride of non-stop action and imaginative weirdness from beginning to end. It also has more than just action. There are interesting characters and some glimpses into an amazing desert society.

This is a movie that doesn't try to be anything more than it is -- an action movie. It is a celebration of action films of the bizarre post-apocalyptic sort. This vision of a tribal desert society that worships a severe god-like ruler is similar to the earlier Mad Max films that date back to 1979 (the third film in the series, and last one prior to this latest one, was “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” in 1985).

In the earlier films (all four films are directed by George Miller) the desert marauders were basically scavengers looking for gasoline. In this film, they seem to have developed a self-sustaining society in the desert, complete with water pumped from wells and a kind of hydroponic garden for food, although it doesn't look like it could possibly sustain the population density shown.

There are indications that the society is sick. One character seems to exist on blood transfusions from Max (played by Tom Hardy of “The Dark Knight Rises”). Another character is deformed. The ruler of “The Citadel” wears some sort of breathing apparatus featuring a fearsome face mask. One of the main characters, Imperator Furiosa (played by Charlize Theron of “Prometheus”) uses an impossible-looking prosthetic arm.

As in all the Mad Max films, the vehicles are an important part of the story. In this film, the vehicles are even weirder, from big trucks to motorcycles, most driven by people who think they are going to Valhalla if they die in battle, and they do love to battle, especially after huffing chrome spray paint. These cats are crazy, man.

On one big truck, there is a guy standing on a platform in front with a double-necked guitar that also shoots flame, playing rock and roll while the truck goes into battle. In the back of the same truck are a bunch of Taiko drummers banging away. Some vehicles have long poles attached with men hanging on to the ends of the pole, swinging way back and forth to attack other vehicles.

In some of the road warrior scenes, spears with explosives are used to kill people and disable vehicles. In one scene, guys on motorcycles jump like Evel Knievel over cars and trucks, while hurling hand grenades downward. Max and Furiosa and others shoot the flying motorcyclists out of the air.

The people of The Citadel look strange in the film, many of them appear to be painted a ghostly white. The vehicles are also very strange, as if someone had turned a madman with a wild imagination loose in a junk yard with welding equipment. Reportedly, a lot of this stuff was made with parts from junkyards. In one scene, a big guy pulls a supercharger, and a big hunk of the engine, apart from the rest of the engine with his bare hands.

In case you are wondering, there is a plot, having to do with some women, and Max, who was a prisoner, escaping The Citadel in a large truck. They are chased and attacked in a manner described above by men from The Citadel who want their women (including one who is pregnant) back.

The movie is like a continuous chase scene, with lots of gunfire, explosions and fist fights. It isn't really believable and it doesn't really make a lot of sense, either, but it is fascinating to watch. It is a real spectacle. I could not take my eyes off the screen.

While the story makes no sense on many levels, it does make sense in terms of interpersonal relationships. The main characters make sense, and they do develop relationships with each other that change over the course of the film. It is these dynamic, striving characters that kept me glued to the screen. The action is amazing, but the characters, and their emotional journey, that's the heart of the movie. This film rates a B+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2015 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)