To outsiders, all action movies might appear the same. Explosions, car chases, fighting, and more explosions. But those better familiar with the genre appreciate the varieties of filmmaking within it, each with their own factions of fans and critics. One of the biggest ongoing debates in the fandom is real stunts vs CGI trickery. During an interview with the New York Times, Oscar-winning production designer Carl Gibson weighed in on what makes his work on Mad Max: Fury Road more visceral than what viewers get to see in the Fast and Furious franchise:
"All the action had to be real. The hair can't stand up on the back of your neck - not for me, anyway - watching Vin Diesel drag a three-ton safe down through perfect right-angle turns on the street. The whole rationale was to make it as real as possible so that as much as possible was at stake."
Mad Max: Fury Road was met with great critical acclaim upon release, with many critics calling it the greatest action movie of the new millennium. A big part of the appeal was the series of outrageous stunts featured in the movie during the breakneck chase sequences that had an element of realism to them which is missing from most big-budget action movies.
This realism was due to the fact that the stunts were actually performed in authentic conditions instead of sticking the actors in front of a green screen and letting computer animators do the rest. It is the same kind of principle that makes Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible stunts more thrilling to watch than anything you see in the MCU. Because at the back of the mind, you are aware that Cruise is actually the one doing the stunts for real instead of fighting an invisible CGI alien army on some studio stage.
While the action shown in Mad Max is certainly more thrilling, it also takes much longer to create such a meticulously planned film. In the time that it took George Miller to make one Mad Max movie, the Fast and Furious franchise unleashed several sequels on an unsuspecting world, amassing boatloads of cash at the box office in the process which they will probably use to shoot Dom and his team into space in the next film to headbutt an asteroid threatening Earth into smithereens or something.
So while Mad Max is the Michelin-starred restaurant of the action movie genre, Fast and Furious is the McDonald's. Both have their own places, and fans who enjoy the movies for what they are. Although it would be interesting to see what Miller could do if he was ever hired to direct a Fast and Furious movie.
For now, a Max Max prequel spinoff focusing on the character of Furiosa is in development, with Anya Talor-Joy in the lead role, while the ninth film in the Fast and Furious franchise, F9, is set to release next year. Read the scoop over at The New York Times.