clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

MAD MAX IS A MOVIE MADE WITH CAPS LOCK ON

New, comments

YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO STOP TALKING LIKE THIS AFTER SEEING MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

This is a non-review of Mad Max: Fury Road. It, by definition, has to be in all-caps

YOU KNOW, HERE IS THE THING ABOUT MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. THE FIRST THING YOU SEE IS MAX LOOKING LIKE A MEMBER OF MASTODON EATING A TWO-HEADED LIZARD AND TALKING DESOLATE SHIT ABOUT THE FUTURE WHILE LOOKING OUT AT A SANDSCAPE FULL OF NOTHING BUT HATE AND MAYBE LIKE ONE OR TWO OTHER TWO-HEADED LIZARDS. SURE THERE ARE VOICEOVERS AND LITTLE SNIPPETS OF RADIO TELLING YOU THAT EVERYTHING BLEW UP AND SOME MANDATORY OLD STOCK FOOTAGE OF TREES GETTING BLASTED BY A NUCLEAR SHOCKWAVE. BECAUSE THAT'S GOTTA BE HERE, BECAUSE HERE'S TRICK ONE; YOU'RE WATCHING A MAD MAX MOVIE, AND LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE 1980S THAT'S GOTTA START WITH THE CLEAR MESSAGE THAT YOU AND EVERYONE YOU LOVED WILL BE INCINERATED IN A BALL OF NUCLEAR HELLFIRE.

AND YEAH THE ONLY THING THAT SURVIVED, YEAH, SURE SURE SURE. BUT THE FIRST THING YOU SEE IS THIS DUDE WHO YOU KNOW IS SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR PROTAGONIST AND THIS HAPPENS WITHIN EXACTLY TWO MINUTES OF THE OPENING SHOT:

1. HE EATS A GODDAMN TWO-HEADED LIZARD LIKE A HUNGRY MONITOR SCARFING DOWN A BUCKET OF FLIES AND

2. HE DRIVES THREE FEET INTO THE DESERT BEFORE HE'S ATTACKED BY BONE-WHITE DEMON CHILDREN OF THE APOCALYPSE WITH EXPLOSIVE-TIPPED SPEARS WHO DESTROY HIS SHIT TAKE HIM HOSTAGE AND KEEP HIM ALIVE ONLY TO USE HIM AS A LARGE BAG FULL OF PRECIOUS BLOOD.

THAT'S WHERE THIS STARTS. THERE'S NO 'OH, REMEMBER WHEN THINGS WERE GREAT,' NO, NO, NO: YOU JUST ROCKET RIGHT INTO THE SEVENTH CIRCLE OF HELL FIND THE ELEVATOR AND MASH THE DOWN BUTTON UNTIL YOUR THUMB BLISTERS.

FROM THERE I AM NOT LYING, THERE MIGHT BE SEVEN MINUTES OF RELATIVE CALM IN THE MOVIE. YES THERE IS A HORRIBLE SICK WARLORD WITH A GIGANTIC CORRUPT BODY AND THE REQUISITE MASK WHO RULES OVER THE ONE PLACE WHERE THEY HAVE WATER AND BIG SCENIC FUCK-ALL ROCK FORMATIONS AND A BUNCH OF AUSSIE EXTRAS WHO LIVE IN THE DIRT. GODDAMN DO AUSTRALIANS LOVE TO MAKE MOVIES WHERE THEY LIVE IN PILES OF DIRT AND KILL PEOPLE WITH RECLAIMED WEAPONRY AND REMIND YOU THAT JUST LAST WEEK THEY ATE A FUNNEL-WEB SPIDER BECAUSE IT CRAWLED IN THEIR MOUTH WHILE THEY WERE SLEEPING AND WELL, YOU JUST CAN'T LET THAT GO UNPUNISHED, MATE. I'D DO THE SAME IF I WERE AUSTRALIAN. I'D SHOW THEM FURY ROAD AND SAY THIS WAS EXACTLY WHAT EVERY DAY OF MIDDLE SCHOOL WAS LIKE.

IT JUST GOES AND GOES AND GOES. I MEAN SOME THINGS CHANGE. THE COLOR PALETTE MIGHT CHANGE, FOR INSTANCE THERE'S A PART OF THE MOVIE WHERE IT'S DAYTIME AND CHARLIZE THERON IS NARROWLY DODGING HARPOONS SHOT RIGHT AT HER SKULL BY DIRT-BIKE RIDING CANNIBAL MARAUDERS. THEN SOMETIMES THERE'S POST-APOCALYPTIC HIGHWAY MURDER DONE IN KIND OF A SLEEPY BEAUTIFUL BLUE TONE. WHICH IS REALLY BEAUTIFUL EVEN WHEN A BLIND MAN DUAL-WIELDING SUBMACHINE GUNS CRASHES THROUGH AND STARTS FIRING RANDOMLY AT EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE MOVIE.  THERE'S SOME LEGIT STUNNING AND RESTRAINED CINEMATOGRAPHY IN THIS THAT'S REALLY BEAUTIFUL AND MAKES YOU WANT TO GO WANDER THE DESERT FOR A FEW DAYS JUST LISTENING TO THE HUM OF THE WHEELS ON THE ROAD. AND WHEN YOU START TO NOTICE THAT FOR TOO LONG, GEORGE MILLER HAS A SHIRTLESS DUDE IN IN SAND GOGGLES AND BODY ARMOR POLE-VAULT INTO THE FRAME WITH A CHAINSAW AIMED SQUARELY AT SOMEONE'S NECK.

AND YES THERE IS A POLITICAL MESSAGE IN HERE THAT MOST MEN ARE STUPID AND BAD AND WOULD RATHER KILL THE ENTIRE WORLD KIND OF AS A DEFAULT MISSION STATEMENT AND THAT'S ENTIRELY ACCURATE AND NOT AT ALL SUBTLE BECAUSE NOTHING IN THIS FILM IN SUBTLE AND THAT IS FAAAAAAAANFUCKINGTASTIC IN EVERY WAY. THERE MIGHT BE SIX PAGES OF DIALOGUE IN THE SCRIPT. MAYBE TEN IF THEY WROTE OUT TOM HARDY'S GRUNTING. IT'S GOOD GRUNTING, DON'T GET ME WRONG BECAUSE MOST OF TOM HARDY'S WORK HERE IS DIALOGUE WITHOUT DIALOGUE. MAX SAWS AT THE BACK OF HIS MASKED HEAD WITH A NAIL FILE SO FAST AND WITH SUCH INSANE ANGER THAT IT BECOMES A LINE. YOU COULD HAVE TOM HARDY COMPLAIN ABOUT HIS FACE BEING STRAPPED INTO A METAL MASK, SURE, BUT IT'S SO MUCH BETTER TO HAVE THIS HEATHEN OUTCAST GRUNTING AND TWITCHING AND PULLING AT EVERYTHING FOR THE FIRST 45 MINUTES OF THE MOVIE LIKE HE'S A STARVING RACCOON LET LOOSE IN A RESTAURANT WALK-IN FREEZER.  HE SAYS HIS NAME ONCE AND I CRIED WHEN HE DID EVEN THOUGH I'M PRETTY SURE HE KILLS LIKE 80 PEOPLE FOR JUST DOING THEIR JOBS AS RIPPED ALBINO DEATH RIDERS.

I MEAN, IT'S A JOB, MAX. THE CITADEL'S EMPLOYMENT INDICATORS ARE SHIT AND THE BENEFITS INCLUDE FREE BLOOD WHICH IS SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW PERSONALLY.

BUT THAT'S NOT EVEN THE MOST BADASS PART OF THE MOVIE. THE FIRST MOST BADASS PART OF THE WHOLE BY-DESIGN SUPREMELY BADASS MOVIE IS CHARLIZE THERON AS FURIOSA THE WAR RIG DRIVER. SHE GETS A SMOKY EYE EFFECT BY SMEARING GREASE FROM THE WAR RIG'S STEERING COLUMN ACROSS HER FACE. SHE HITS DUDES IN THE BRAINPAN WITH A SNIPER RIFLE IN ZERO LIGHT FROM EIGHT HUNDRED YARDS AWAY WITH EASE. AT ONE POINT SHE USES MAX AS A RIFLE MOUNT. I CANNOT EMPHASIZE HOW HARD IT WAS NOT TO HOOT OUT LOUD IN THE THEATER WHEN THE MALE PROTAGONIST OF A FILM WHO HAD JUST COME BACK FROM A FRACAS WITH DESERT VILLAINS WAS TOLD TO CHILL FOR A SEC WHILE CHARLIZE THERON USED HIM AS A PIECE OF MILITARY FURNITURE BECAUSE MAX, IT TURNS OUT, IS A LOUSY SHOT WITH A SNIPER RIFLE.  CHARLIZE THERON'S EYES ARE EASILY HALF THE DIALOGUE IN THE MOVIE AND MOST OF THE LINES THEY SAY ADD UP TO SOMETHING LIKE "I'M ONLY GOING TO USE ONE BULLET ON THIS SHITPILE OF A WORLD BECAUSE THAT'S ALL IT DESERVES AND ALSO ALL I NEED TO KILL BECAUSE I AM THE MOST LETHAL TWO-HEADED LIZARD PROWLING THIS CURSED EARTH." SHE SHOULD GET AN OSCAR. I AM NOT KIDDING AT ALL.

OH AND THERE'S ALSO A PACK OF MOTORCYCLE-RIDING GRANNIES WITH SNIPER RIFLES AND PURSES WHO ARE THE GRANDMOTHERS I NEVER KNEW I WANTED. I HAVE INVENTED AN ENTIRE NEW BIO WHERE THEY ARE MY FAMILY. THEY ARE NOW MY FAMILY AND I'M GOING TO GO SEE THE MOVIE AGAIN TO SEE THEM AND SAY HELLO AND MAYBE TEAR UP WHEN I LIST MY TRIBAL AFFILIATION TO THEM.

THE SECOND FIRST MOST BADASS PART OF THIS ENTIRE MOVIE IS THAT IT FUNCTIONS COMPLETELY ON A LIMBIC SYSTEM LEVEL. THE NEW YORK TIMES GETS A LOT OF THINGS WRONG AND THEIR STYLE SECTION IS WRITTEN BY ALIENS AND EVERY OPINION WRITER THEY HAVE IS STRAIGHT TECHNOCRAT TRASH BUT A.O. SCOTT SEEMS LIKE SOMEONE WHO NOT ONLY LIKES FRIED CHICKEN BUT UNDERSTANDS YOU HAVE TO EAT IT WITH YOUR HANDS. HE SAID FURY ROAD WORKS ON THE LEVEL OF A ROAD RUNNER CARTOON AND OH MAN, IS THIS ACCURATE BECAUSE THIS FILM IS A SYSTEM AND THERE IS NO REACTION WITHOUT AN OPPOSITE AND EQUAL REACTION IN THE OTHER DIRECTION. THE WHOLE MOVIE GOES ONE WAY AND THEN BACK. MAX BLOWS SOME SHIT UP, WELL GUESS WHAT, BUDDY THEY HAVE TO DRIVE THROUGH IT OR THE POOR SOULS IMMEDIATELY IN FRONT OF IT HAVE TO PLOW RIGHT INTO IT AND THEN ROCKET THROUGH THE POISONED AIR OF THE FUTURESCAPE LIKE SO MANY FLAILING CRASH DUMMIES. PEOPLE DO NOT DIE PROTRACTED DEATHS AND THERE IS NO ILLUSORY HOPE. YOU'RE ALIVE AND THEN YOU ARE DEAD BECAUSE THAT IS HOW HITTING A ROCK FORMATION HEADFIRST AT 120 MILES PER HOUR WORKS. CHARACTERS ARRIVE AND SMILE AND THEN MAYBE GET INCINERATED BY A FLAMETHROWER AND FLY OFF-SCREEN WITH NARY A WORD OR HARDY GRUNT TO BE SAID ABOUT IT. I'D LIKE TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT HOW THIS IS SOME GRAND COMMENTARY ON THE EPHEMERALITY OF LIFE BUT HONESTLY IT JUST SERVES TO REINFORCE THE MATHEMATICAL VIOLENCE AND HOMICIDAL VIOLENCE OF EVERYTHING HAPPENING.

AND YEAH I DON'T KNOW IF THERE'S ANYTHING NEW HERE AND HONESTLY THAT DOESN'T MATTER AT ALL. THEY GET SOME COOL CGI THEY DIDN'T HAVE FOR THE FIRST ROAD WARRIOR MOVIES IN THE FIRST 15 MINUTES AND MAYBE A BIGGER BUDGET TO MAKE SHIT LIKE THE METALDEATHMOBILE WITH THE GUY ON GUITAR PLAYING WHILE IMMORTAL JOE AND HIS VARIOUS OBESE HORRIBLE SUBWARLORDS WHIP THE WARBOYS INTO A FRENZY. FOR THE FIRST 15 MINUTES OF THE MOVIE I HAD THIS WEIRD DISTANCED FEELING LIKE "THIS IS ME WHO WATCHED ALL OF THE MAD MAX MOVIES WATCHING A SIMULACRUM OF A MAD MAX MOVIE WITH A GIANT CGI SANDSTORM/NUCLEAR CYCLONE IN IT" AND THAT WAS WEIRD.

BUT THEN SOMETHING HAPPENED WHERE THE RHYTHM AND PACING AND RELENTLESS KINETIC VIOLENCE JUST PRYS ALL THAT META-SHIT OFF AND BEGINS TOSSING YOU AROUND THE THEATER BODILY. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW THEY CHOREOGRAPHED ANY OF WHAT HAPPENS IN THE LAST 30 MINUTES OF THE FILM BUT YOU HAVE TO BE BORDERLINE OCD AND FASTIDIOUS TO THE POINT OF MENTAL ILLNESS TO CREATE ANYTHING AS COORDINATED AND YET COMPLETELY CHAOTIC AS THIS FILM. YOU LIKE TO THINK YOU ARE A VERY SOPHISTICATED PERSON WITH DEFENSES AND THE ABILITY TO PROPERLY DISTANCE BUT THIS MOVIE SAYS NO NO, YOU ARE NOT, AND THE PROOF IS THE 10 OR 15 MINUTES OF ACTION TOWARDS THE FINALE WHERE YOU CANNOT SEE ANY WAY EVERY PERSON YOU MIGHT CONSIDER GOOD WILL FIND ANY WAY OUT OF AN OBVIOUS ROLLING DEATHTRAP.

IT STARTS AS YOU WATCHING A MAD MAX FILM FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME AND ENDS WITH YOU GOBSMACKED AFTER WATCHING A MAD MAX FILM FOR THE FIRST TIME AND WANTING TO WATCH IT AGAIN IMMEDIATELY ON THE BIGGEST SCREEN YOU CAN FIND WITH THE BIGGEST SOUND SYSTEM AVAILABLE AND DEFINITELY WITH LIKE EIGHT RED BULLS AND NO SNACKS BECAUSE YOU WANT THE EDGE OF HUNGER TO MAKE YOU AS MEAN AS THE BOMB-BLASTED LANDSCAPE.

THERE'S FIRE AND GUNS AND MORE GUNS AND SPEED AND BLOOD AND A FAILED WORLD DOMINATED BY IDIOTBOYS AND CHARLIZE THERON DESTROYING EVERYTHING IN HER PATH AND AAAHHHHH IT'S SO GOOD. EVERYTHING THIS FILM IS DESIGNED TO DO DEPENDS ON IT OVERPOWERING YOU WITH THE MOST BASIC ELEMENTS OF HUMAN EXISTENCE: FLIGHT, PAIN, FEAR AND MAYBE HOPE. HOPE'S A MAYBE. IT'S SOMETHING AROUND THE CORNER AND EXCUSE US BUT BEFORE WE GET TO HOPE WE HAVE TO BEAT THIS MUTANT UNCONSCIOUS WITH AN OXYGEN CANISTER AND SEE IF WE CAN SHOOT THIS BIKER OFF HIS BIKE MID-AIR LIKE SOME KIND OF HUMAN CLAY PIGEON. WE CAN TOTALLY SHOOT THIS BIKER OFF HIS BIKE MID-AIR LIKE A CLAY PIGEON BECAUSE AFTER WATCHING MAD MAX FURY ROAD I FELT LIKE I COULD DO ANYTHING EXCEPT SLEEP OR DRIVE SAFELY.

IT DESERVES NO RANKING OR STARS BECAUSE THOSE THEY DON'T HAVE THAT IN THE POST-APOCALYPSE AND DON'T NEED. THIS MOVIE IS A MASTERPIECE AND ONE OF THE BEST FILMS EVER MADE. I GIVE IT ONE ARTIFICIAL KILLING ARM AND EIGHT HIDDEN GEARSHIFT KNIVES. THAT'S THE HIGHEST RANKING AVAILABLE IN THE POST-APOCALYPSE.

P.S. I COVERED MY OPEN MOUTH AND TEETH WITH CHROME SPRAYPAINT AND FELL UNDER THE WHEELS OF A TWO-THOUSAND HORSEPOWER WAR RIG WRITING THIS AND IT WAS WORTH EVERY BROKEN BONE.