Let me just say that if I ran Barter Town, I wouldn’t trade half a dirt clod for the abomination that is the Mad Max reboot Fury Road. Before we break down all the things this movie did wrong, I just wanted to make that clear. Let’s get the one positive thing straight up front; the movie’s effects were great and the post-apocalyptic vehicles they constructed were indeed, very cool and a great homage to 1981’s The Road Warrior. But the nice comments stop there.
The film was completely devoid of plot, dialogue, and subtext. It was essentially one, long (two hour!!) continuous car chase. I wish that was an exaggeration. Tom Hardy’s rendition of Mel Gibson’s titular character was appalling. He came across more like an escaped, mumbling convict with brain damage than the heroic waste lander with a devastating past I was hoping for. While his past is checkered as evidenced by random flashbacks he has of some traumatic experience and a girl whom we assume Max couldn’t save, the details end there. We never get any background or context or explanation of what these visions represent.
On top of that, Charlize Theron’s character has some sort of standing with the evil warlord who runs a solitary, desolate community by controlling the only water source for miles, but we don’t ever find out what their relationship is. He allows her to drive his massive war vehicle full of water to trade for fuel and bullets (a very important duty) despite the fact that she has admittedly tried to defy him in the past. On this particular run (the one which takes up the entirety of the film) she decides to attempt to rescue the young women who essentially serve as the warlords baby factories. Upon the discovery of her treachery he sets out with all of his forces to safely apprehend his "wives" and kill Theron. After initially being captured by the evil, mutated(?) army of the warlord, Max manages to break free during the beginnings of the chase and join up with Theron’s motley crew of blond, scantily clad escapees. Once the rulers of Bullet Town and Gas Town (two places we never get to see or learn about) realize their water has been high jacked, they also set out in pursuit of the war rig and now ladies and gentlemen the plot is set. Explosions, screaming, shooting, and lots of fire are all that follows with a disappointing climax and even more far-fetched conclusion.
What I’m saying is, and I can’t make this clear enough, don’t go in to this film thinking that it’s anything more than a glorified car chase. Hardy Tom Hardy’s Mad Max has approximately 15 lines, most of which are grunted and mumbled in an indiscernible slurry that dribbles out of his always concerned looking visage beneath an annoying and permanently furrowed brow. He is essentially a cave man!!
If you were a fan of the original films which have since become cult classics and arguably made Mel Gibson’s early career and turned him into the 80’s action star he became, than you will be so incredibly disappointed with this film. I was so excited when I heard of this movie last year and was anxiously awaiting a new chapter in the story of Mad Max but what I got was a ridiculously extended PORTION of a complete movie; a chunk of what could have been a well-developed, well-acted sci-fi powerhouse. Now I’m left wishing I could go back to the before time, to the long long ago when I hadn’t wasted two hours of my life watching this atrocious excuse of a reboot.