Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Fury Road Wasn't An Understatement

The weather of a couple weekends ago forced me into a hotel for a few nights, but it's cool, since it was on my employer's dime. And I got to see Mad Max: Fury Road on HBO.

I was a little worried, mostly because I'd seen so many reviews raving about it - disenchantment due to raised expectations being something I struggle with - and then Max goes and gets captured in the first 90 seconds. It pretty quickly turns into 90 minutes of chase sequences and lots of shooting and stabbing, so it worked out well.

I did, during the point when the chase moves into the enormous sandstorm, wonder if the vehicles shouldn't have been getting shorted out by intense amounts of static electricity that would be generated by all that dust and such in the air. I read about that being an issue in the book I read about the Dust Bowl a few years ago. People setting up chains on the underside of their cars to keep them grounded, or something like that. Obviously it would be a secondary concern in a storm large enough to hurl vehicles into the sky, or that is generating actual lightning. To say nothing of all that dust clogging the air intakes. But it was something I thought about. Not to the point it distracted me, because that was a very cool sequence. The lighting and the colors were excellent.

I didn't expect the surprise reveal we got when Furiosa and the rest make it to their destination. I had figured they'd get there, but then have to go back out and fight so they didn't lead the various bad guys right to their green place. Things didn't quite go that way, although it boiled down to roughly the same thing. the Murder Grandmas (Biker Nanas?) were a nice touch.

But there was always going to have to be some settling of things, since the villains did not seem the types to just shrug and say, "Welp, can't win 'em all," then go home. I'm using terms like "villains", because I can't remember any of their names. There was the grumpy old guy with a car body mounted on a tank chassis, the fat guy with the fake nose, and then the really pale guy with the stupid clear plastic body armor or whatever. I did enjoy the fat guy, when he saw his car was about to explode, trying to escape. Guy can't even get in his own car without a half-dozen people lifting him, no way was he pulling his wide ass out the sunroof.

I could not understand a great majority of the dudes' dialogue. Max, or the main bad guy in particular. It was all so low and mumbled, I was just guessing a lot of the time. Tom Hardy is fine as Max, I guess. He lacks the intensity Mel Gibson had (at least in the first film, which is the one I've seen most often), and kind of seemed more weary and befuddled than anything else. Which isn't an unreasonable outlook, considering the blood loss from being exsanguinated and all.

Charlize Theron was pretty awesome. She clearly had a plan that she'd been working on for sometime. No telling how long it took to convince those girls to make a break for it, to feel she had enough trust from the war boys they wouldn't question a course change, but she stuck with it. But she was also able to adjust when circumstances changed, first with Max, then the converted war boy. She's in charge, and orders the girls around when she needs to, but he also listens to them. Very cool.

I liked the initial fight between Max, Furiosa, the girls, and the war boy. It has the element of chaos with all these moving parts, people helping each other, then changing sides a moment later. None of the girls know how to fight very well, but they're doing what they can. The war boy and Max are neither of them in the best condition, and they're chained together. Everyone is scrambling for guns, or something to hit people with. Those kind of wild melees are just a lot of fun. I did think it was kind of stupid of Furiosa to keep trying to punch Max in the face, considering he still had that metal muzzle padlocked to his head. She wasn't even using her artificial hand, but her flesh and blood one. If she'd gone for an eye poke I could understand it, but she was trying to crack him against the jaw, which is suboptimal. Still a cool fight.

I actually would have liked a little more of that in the chase stuff. Get that band of dirtbike raiders from the canyon into the mix while the war boys are after our heroes, just as opportunists. Things were already crazy and exploding all over the place, I don't think it would have confused things too much.

Very frustrated with the old woman who stayed behind in the nursery. She had a loaded shotgun, she had a clear shot at the lead villain, and she stands there talking while he walks closer. Then tries to kill him once he's close enough he can swat the gun aside. Damn it old woman, you had ONE JOB - kill the fucking bad guy - and you screwed it up completely.

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