“Mad Max: Fury Road” Review

Saying that the world has gone mad in the world of Mad Max: Fury Road is a bit of an understatement.

At some point after what appears to have been a nuclear apocalypse, humanity has been reduced to wanderers, scavengers, or simply bad people; Immortan Joe falls into that last category. As the self-established dictator in control of the only clean source of water seemingly left in the world, Joe rules with absolute power over the masses huddling at the base of his lair, desperate for water. However, one of his top generals, Imperator Furiosa (the names only get more outlandish from here) grows tired of the way things are being run and promptly defects at the start of the movie in an attempt to smuggle several of Immortan Joe’s wives to safety. Naturally Immortan Joe gives chase and so begins one of the purest and most imaginative action movies ever created. But where does the titular character come into all of this?

Tied to the front of a pursuing car, being used as a human blood bag for transfusion.

As previously mention, this is a world gone mad.

Mad Max: Fury Road continues on in the tradition of director George Miller’s franchise, started way back in 1979 with “Mad Max”, and now finally given an ample budget for his vision. This is easily one of the most gleefully destructive, grotesquely bombastic, and surprisingly touching movies ever made about what is essentially a two hour siege movie on wheels scene, but what a movie. There may be less dialogue and story than most current action movies but this is actually something of a plus. When it seems like every current movie is out to over-stuff itself with explanatory dialogue or inflated running time, Mad Max: Fury Road is refreshingly minimalist by allowing the action and characters flow and behave naturally; not a single part of the story feels unnecessary and the movie never overstays its welcome. The action is all physical, very rarely does CGI factor in and the world feels more vibrant and alive because of it.

The film also has a surprising amount of social commentary, which is not something you would expect from a movie featuring a man strapped to the front of a semi-truck as he plays a flame-spewing guitar, but George Miller not only touches on life in third world conditions but also women’s rights. While the plot and style of the world is violent and bombastic, there are fully fleshed characters that audience can deeply care for; indeed, Imperator Furiosa’s goal of saving five young women (who all excellently subvert the “damsel in distress” cliche) feels far and away more intimate and important than any universe-saving feat pulled off by a superhero. However both the commentary and the action of the movie would have fallen flat, or worse heavy-handed, were it not for the two leading actors’ commitment. Always a thrilling actor to watch, Tom Hardy’s Max is a brooding, haunted shell of a man and his voice ranges from apologetic whisper to dog-bark mad but Max is almost something of a wingman in his own movie but this not a problem thanks to Charlize Theron’s impassioned portrayal of a woman driven by regret and the promise of redemption; there would be no complaints if Furiosa were to return in any future sequels. In short, Mad Max:Fury Road is a bold, thrilling apocalyptic chase movie, one where characters actually matter; this is one movie that should not be missed by anyone. Mad Max: Fury Road is out now in theaters.

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