Mad Max: Fury Road, thoughts on a reboot

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I had heard for years that a new Mad Max movie was on the way but it always seemed to get derailed and I had totally forgotten about it. I assumed it was canceled. Turns out that assumption was wrong, thank goodness.

Among all the movies talked about and trailered at ComicCon this past weekend, none has me more stoked for next Spring than the trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Mad Max was one of the movies I saw a lot when I was growing up, mostly because it seemed to be on television a lot…usually as the Saturday afternoon movie following my Saturday morning cartoons. Mad Max is a very…interesting movie. As a kid I thought it was horrible. By the time I was watching Mad Max on television, the movie was more than 5 years old and it showed. The movie looked and felt like a low-budget production (which it was) and there’s nothing appealing about low budget to a child, not when Star Wars is right there waiting for me.

Mad Max was full of odd characters in a very dark world. A motorcycle gang, a cop on the edge and a big bald guy with a spider tattoo. I didn’t understand the point of Mad Max when I was a kid, I only came to appreciate it much later. But what I did enjoy as a kid were the cars and motorcycles. To this day, Mad Max doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the best a car movies ever made. Nobody watches Mad Max for its slow pace and commentary on a desolate future. They watch it for the cars, chases and destruction. So when I heard long ago that Mad Max was going to get updated, I had high hopes.

Too bad the upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road isn’t a reboot of Mad Max.

A new Road Warrior

Based on the trailer for Fury Road, this new movie is more of a reboot of the second Mad Max film, The Road Warrior. And I’m okay with that but I think tackling the original Mad Max would have been worth it. Of course, maybe we’ll get a prequel down the road…who knows?

The Road Warrior was another childhood movie that was on weekend television a lot, as well as the third movie, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, which I think more people remember than the second movie. Nonetheless, The Road Warrior was the movie everyone wanted to see and still talks about. It’s where we were introduced the desolate post-apocalyptic where gasoline and water are the new currency. It’s the movie that had bad ass dune buggies, crossbows and even more explosions. It’s the movie that gave us The Humongous and that creepy little feral child. It short, The Road Warrior was non-stop action and motorized carnage. It was great…nay, it is great.

Looking at the Fury Road trailer, I sense that it will hit all the right notes and be a good update. Obviously, special effects can do anything now so Fury Road should be the Mad Max movie George Miller couldn’t make 32 years ago. I’m cool with Tom Hardy as Max as I think he has a nice gruff edge and can pull off that slow-burn anger of a man who watched his life get taken away from him. A man that doesn’t care if he dies but isn’t really asking for it. The other characters in the trailer are fleeting at this point, shy of Charlize Theron as “the girl”. But honestly, acting isn’t really key in this type of movie – it never was. Much like pro wrestling, Mad Max is more about the colorful characters colliding in fantastic cars than acting ability.

Fury Road will probably be the best car/chase movie we’ve seen in a long time, at least I hope so. If nothing else, the fact that George Miller is doing the movie makes it okay because he created it in the first place. Not unlike George Lucas, if Miller wants to recreate his own story in a new way with new technology, so be it. Fans will be fans regardless.

And in the end, I should probably be glad that the original Mad Max isn’t getting remade. Like many indie films from the late-70s, the low-budget effects and less-than-great acting is what really sells the movie. Seeing the same story and characters with a new coat of paint just wouldn’t have the same impact. But that doesn’t mean I like having to wait until next Spring to see Mad Max: Fury Road…it can’t come soon enough.

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Brian is a staff writer at TMA. He races Hot Wheels at RedlineDerby.com while watching cartoons with his kid. You can follow @morningtoast on Twitter.

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