Thursday, July 26, 2012

Maxing Out for MAD MAX!

The most iconic image of Mad Max!
I've been burned by pre-movie hype and excitement so many times that the neurons responsible for those feelings have melted away. Movies that should have been stellar (especially based on my pre-excitement levels) like: Robocop 2, Batman Returns, Alien 3, and The Lost World: Jurassic Park thoroughly did so much damage that a "wait and see" attitude was firmly locked into place in my psyche. And now, one movie is furiously working to chip away at my emotional movie void...MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

The poster that I had wanted for close to
25 years and finally received in 2010.

To understand my connection to this franchise you have to go back to cable TV circa 1983-1987 when The Road Warrior was pretty much on a continual late night loop on HBO and Cinemax...not to mention the VHS copy that inevitably was ruined from slo-moing the final wreckage scene just to watch the dummy of the Humungus slide over the semi's hood. Safe to say that I watched Road Warrior LOTS! It has a special fondness as well since my father and I were sitting around the living room at 9pm on a Sunday when Road Warrior premiered on HBO. Neither of us knew anything about it and there we sat totally entertained for two hours. Watching bullets and arrows flying, bodies being ripped apart and run over, cars being crushed and burned, and a 20-minute semi chase that was a marvel (and still is) to behold!  It wasn't long before I sought out the original Mad Max and then the sequel Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Then when my best friend introduced me to a role-playing game called Car Wars, I had a new avenue to channel my love for the Mad Max movies.

The most mindless RPG ever!
Nothing better than successfully performing
The Bootleg Reverse!
Even people who are not fans of the Mad Max franchise should realize how engrained these three movies are in the public conscious. Any time a movie depicts automobiles that have been decorated with various spike and weapons...people go..."Oh, that's like Mad Max." When you watch any post-apocalyptic movie and people use football and hockey pads for personal armor...Mad Max is where it started. The term "Thunderdome" gets used all the time in TV, sports announcing, and various movies and most people will immediately make the connection as to what is being implied whether they realize the origin...Mad Max.

When Internet searching "Thunderdome" here was my favorite result...

That bad-ass cage where Mel Gibson faught Master Blaster with the chainsaw and bungee cords and there where all kinds of drunken Aussies yelling, "Two men enter, One man leaves."

The "Last of the V-8 Interceptors"...?

So, as I write this creator-director George Miller as finally begun filming is oft-delayed next Mad Max movie: FURY ROAD. The movie will star Tom Hardy (fresh from his role as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises) taking over the Max Rockatansky character from Mel Gibson. The movie will co-star a shit-ton of tripped out cars in spectacular chases and monstrous wrecks! As photos have begun leaking of the various vehicles, my excitement builds. As rumors circulate that there may indeed be a new restored "Last V-8 Interceptor", I find a smile creeping across my face. As I see interviews where George Miller stresses the need for practical effects instead of CGI, all I can think is "YES!" It'll be a long haul for me to wait out the release of this movie, and mixed with the excitement will also be a heavy dose of trepidation since there were probably a thousand ways this movie can go bad and only one way it can be done correctly. The three pictures below (from AICN) help keep my confidence levels high that this movie is progressing in the right direction.

I'd have to guess that this is the car of the main bad guy...
equipped with his theme music of course.
Another suped up semi!  Nothing wrong with that.
Shots like this harken back to The Road Warrior in a great way!

There's a reason I'm a true fan of the franchise. I love the character, the settings, the cars, and the high octane action that George Miller has been able to deliver. The movies don't try to deliver any social commentary or appeal to a wide demographic.  They're essentially Man with No Name Westerns but instead of horses there's healthy amounts of nitrous and turbo-chargers.  If you like action and carnage (and what American male doesn't?) then the Mad Max films are the perfect avenue for escape.  My man-cave has a framed Road Warrior poster adorning it because it's one of the most bad ass movies ever made! And MAD MAX: FURY ROAD could be one hell of a movie!

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