Leaps, Bounds, and Explosions: Fast & Furious Mad Max on a Mission Impossible Gone Rogue

January 7, 2016 | By

Furious7During the Xmas holidays I chose to put editing on pause and catch up on some of the big loud boneheaded action films that graced the silver screen and migrated to home video in the fall. It was also a good excuse to test a modest Logitech 5.1 set-up and feel the love that comes from subwoofer bass booms and choreographed surround sound.

The ideal environs to enjoy Dolby and DTS kaboom is still a fully detached house or a well insulated apartment, so the volume setting I chose wasn’t insane, although it was very satisfying to hear that Die Hard still manages to impress in spite of being almost 30 years old. Call it a classic example of sonic craftsmanship.

MadMax_FuryRoadThe other reason I wanted to be submerged in surround sound is to get a clear idea of what a good 5.1 mix sounds like, and more importantly, when to apply kabooms so they make a memorable impact instead of smother and ultimately bore.

Yesterday was the last-Last-LAST Hot Docs deadline, and I submitted BSV 1172 with a mostly complete stereo mix, and within the next 3 weeks the final mix (plus a few quick visual tweaks) will be done, and I can move on to other projects that have sat idling for a while. I also have to edit a new teaser trailer, since the last one was posted in 2013, and while it still reflects the look and sound of the film, it’s time for an update.

MissionImpossible_RogueNationIn blowing through a trio of bloated action films – Universal’s Furious 7, Warner’s Mad Max: Fury Road, and Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – there were obvious differences in the level of fully-fleshed out narratives, coherent plotting, strong dialogue, impactful scores, and varying degrees of human stunts vs. CGI enhancements (or outright replacements, which I’ll argue are crutches oft-used to avoid doing work that’s more convincing and awe-inspiring that video game movements which more often than not distract and disappoint).

None of the reviewed films are duds, but only one managed to really impress in most areas; another delivered the kaboom but lacked a badly needed script; and a third, being massively stupid, managed to work as eye candy.

I bring up MichaelBay’s Bad Boys 2 (2003) in one review because the third actioner owes a lot to Bay’s own dopey sequel to a dopey original. Both film’s are filled with excesses and a fourth (or is it fifth?) act that ultimately overwhelm any acting, writing, and directorial finesse, shifting into action autopilot, going fast in absurd directions until the end credits scroll with a compendium of songs you can buy on iTunes.

I should have a fresh set of soundtrack reviews this weekend, plus Soviet era propaganda, and a film that helped kill a studio.




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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