“Mad Max: Fury Road” has drawn comparisons to just about every landmark in the history of action cinema. But here’s one you may not have thought of: Buster Keaton’s “The General.” Keaton is remembered primarily as a comedian, but he’s also one of the best action directors the movies have ever known, staging death-defying gags with deadpan aplomb while the world crumbles around him. Costing a then-astronomical $750,000 and climaxing with a real live locomotive plunging into a river, the movie gains its hurtling momentum from the steam engine at its center, changing course but never slowing down. There are few movies with as singular a purpose built right in — Henri-Georges Clouzot’s “The Wages of Fear,” and, even more, William Friedkin’s “Sorcerer” spring to mind — and “Fury Road” ranks with the best of them. “When I saw that film, I thought, ‘This is someone who’s incredibly careful with the camera and choreographs quite complex events inside the cuts,'” “Fury Road” director George Miller told the Telegraph’s Robbie Collin.
To recognize their common ground, and to give us a new way of appreciating a classic, Walter Rafelsberger has put together a brief montage of “The General’s” greatest hits and rescored it with Junkie XL’s “Fury Road” score. (It beats a player piano, anyway.) Old Stone Face rides eternal, shiny and chrome.