18 May 2015

A Fuel-Injected Suicide Machine

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My car tyre burst when I was in a scummy area called Birkenhead and I quickly found myself truly fucked. Due to my stinginess I didn't have a spare one and so had to call some nearby shop to send somebody to help me. As it turns out they sent a full-on fucking psychopath who picked me up and drove me down small suburban roads at about 60mph whilst detailing his plans for a new civil war. Genuinely. He’d been out of prison for seven days and already he was planning a revolution in which 'the whites fight all the blacks'. He believed that foreigners were coming over and stealing all of our jobs to the point were he told me 'I don't blame my kids for being fucking drug dealers'. I had never been so terrified in my entire life. He asked me if I knew any shortcuts between where I'd been stranded and where we were going which I sadly didn’t- “How da fuck do you expect to get away from da police if you don't know your short cuts?!” was his response. The Mad Max franchise might consist of adrenaline fuelled action films in which nutters drive through desolate areas at high-speeds, but it hasn't got shit on being helped by an ex-convict from a working class town in the North of England. I literally shat myself.


However, that's not to say that I don't love the original Mad Max Trilogy with all of my heart, because I do. Not only are they probably the most influential apocalypse movies ever in terms of aesthetics but they also made an instant star out of Mel 'Sugar Tits' Gibson. It's been thirty years since Max was attacked by a dwarf riding a Down’s syndrome in Beyond Thunderdome and yet here we are... Director George Miller has followed in the footsteps of George Lucas and Ridley Scott and finally brought us a new instalment of his own iconic sci-fi franchise. However unlike the The Phantom Menace or Prometheus, this is not only not a speckled-turd but it's also somehow a full-on fucking masterpiece. Not to get seduced by the whore of excitement and start spunking out hyperbole but not only is Mad Max: Fury Road one of the films of the year so far but it may well be one of the greatest action films of all time, too. In 1896 the Lumière brothers released L'arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat, a fifty second film in which a train pulls up at a station. According to urban legend, the audience was so mind blown by this that when they saw a train heading towards them, they panicked and fled in an attempt to get out of its way. I asked my tutor if this story was true when studying film for my degree to which he replied “Probably. People from the past were fucking thick”. Well how those people felt then is how I felt when watching the intense, bat shit insanity of Fury Road. If people once freaked out due simply to a slow moving train then seeing the chaos of this solid gold slab of genius would probably explode their heads like a scene from fucking Scanners.

Although I think it's commonly accepted that Beyond Thunderdome slightly dropped the ball, there's a beauty in Max's trajectory throughout the original trilogy. It starts with a man losing his soul, being lost in the abyss and then eventually clawing his now mulleted head back towards the light. Although, I haven't cut my hair in about eight years and it looks nothing like Gibson's gimpy 80's style of head pubes- I can therefore only assume that whilst wandering the desolate wasteland, Max happened upon Peter Stringfellow's stylist and decided to treat himself. The point is, however, that the last time we saw our desolate Road Warrior, he seemed to have made positive steps towards regaining his past humanity. Therefore I can only imagine the fucking nightmarish ordeals the poor twat must have gone through since. Not only has he regressed back to his more insular state but he seems to have withdrawn so much that he's de-evolved to the level of some sort of gorilla-esque pre-humanoid. Whereas Max was last seen as the raggedy man sharing sass with Tina Turner’s equally mulleted Queen Bitch, he now seems incapable of forming any actual words at all. If only Gibson had taken a more monosyllabic attitude when telling people how the Jews were responsible for all world wars then perhaps we'd see him here now. Sadly, both racism, alcoholism, and time put Mad Mel out of the running and allowed ex-crackhead Tom Hardy to come in and take over the driving seat. Nothing smacks of an apocalyptic anti-hero like a stocky actor with a prominent history of substance abuse.

Luckily however, Max is now so lacking in outward charisma that so long as Hardy can look intense and remain un-mangled during all of the insane stunts then it’s all fine. His Max might be significantly less iconic then his manic depressive predecessor but he does give a much more physical and, arguably, better performance. As can be seen from his comedically demented swagger in Bronson or his Lord Humongous-esque performance as Bane, Hardy excels in expressing a character through their body language. There's that bit in which he gets his ratty looking cock out in Bronson and demands somebody butter him up for a fight which is simultaneously one of the funniest and most terrifying scenes ever. However I suppose that as with most Mad Max films, Max isn't really the main character. Or, at least he's not the centre of the story. Rather that he's a drifter that stumbles his way into being part of somebody else's problem and therefore becomes the audiences way of learning about the shit going down. This is true of Fury Road too with Charlize Theron being more of a lead in this than Hardy's Max probably is. As a result of this, two things have happened... Half the world has praised the movie for it's feminist agenda and the other half have criticised it for preaching the controversial message that women might just be as interesting and important as men. I think that in regards to their opposition, both sides of the argument can essentially be summarised as thinking 'What a load of cunts'.

Personally I don't actually see what all the fuss is about. Yes Charlize Theron's Furiosa is strong, independent and instantly iconic but this isn't really anything new to sci-fi is it? Over the last few decades the genre has already given us Sarah Connor, Trinity, Katniss, and Princess Leia. Or at least the sassy Leia of the first film and not the one from Return Of The Jedi when she's turned into a golden-titted sex slave for the gratification of the money hungry slug monster called George Lucas. There's also the previously mentioned Aunty Entity of Beyond Thunderdome who rules her small town from above as the men quite literally work underground amongst an endless supply of pig shit. Lets not ignore either that the look of Furiosa is essentially just Alien 3-period Ripley but with the added addition of a pneumatic wanking-hand. Still, whatever you see her as, Theron is clearly cool as hell here and contains more determination and talent than the entire cast of The Expendables put together. After seeing some of the action and stunts she does too, it's also fair to say that she has bigger balls then their mutated, steroid-ravaged bodies could ever dream of. Perhaps the feminist thing has come about simply due to the plot revolving around a small gang of women attempting to free themselves from their male master? I guess I can see that. I can also see how depressing it is that we live in a world where something as simple as that could prompt such praise and backlash. Although no matter what you do think, surely you have to admit that this is far superior to the views presented in human-spud Vin Diesel's fucking dire, misogynistic cock-fest Riddick.

Exactly what makes Fury Road so good is hard to explain, but I guess for me it's an already-ingrained love of the franchise; its great cast; and just how fucking mental the whole film is. From the moment it starts until the moment it concludes, the movie moves at such an insane, breakneck pace that it's hard to believe that it's from the 'mastermind director' of Happy Feet and Babe: Pig In The City. Not only that but the guy is in his fucking 70's and has somehow made a two hour action film that not only involves practical stunts in the middle of nowhere but is one of the most energetic and demented films ever. Most directors tend to get complacent as they get older and yet George Miller has just made a movie that's being released thirty years after its predecessor, is the fourth in the franchise and suddenly I want to see more of that world. By essentially being one giant chase, this story is pure and simple, like a vehicular remake of both The Raid and Dredd and so as with them I'm left wanting to see more of that world. Neither of my Granddad's did anything even remotely as impressive as this when they were Miller’s age with both having lazily died about three years before they reached it. Like my drive through Birkenhead with the psychotic tyre-man, Fury Road is both relentless and aggressive but with the added bonus of also being fun. Imagine a Rammstein concert on wheels and there's basically what you're getting here. With a film like this receiving such universal praise, I suspect that at some-point there'll be a backlash of people claiming that it's shit. Don't listen to them though. Like people who claim to hate the Lord Of The Rings or that they're looking forward to a war between the 'whites and blacks’, they're simply talking shit. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.


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