The overlying plot is fairly simple, man blew each other up in some undisclosed rarely talked about World War III, and the only shelter from the eternal nuclear winter is of course what’s left of the Australian Outback- in a world where gas, shelter, water, and women being the chief commodities.
What most people don’t realize about a Mad Max movie is that he’s rarely the main character so much as just “going through the motions”. After losing his family at the end of the first movie in true Punisher fashion, he renounced his law abiding cop life and set out on the road in search of eternal redemption mixed with a side of damnation. We don’t know how much time has passed since the nuclear apocalypse, and Max seems to be one of the only players in these movies that still remembers the “Before Times”. In most of the films, Max doesn’t even tell people his name or speak more than a few lines.
Max forges an unlikely alliance with Immortan Joe’s head Imperiator, Furiosa as she detours from a routine supply run to Gas Town revealing she’s trying to smuggle Joe’s reluctant wives to freedom and a better life. The War Boys pursue and in expert George Miller does Mad Max fashion, we get some great road wars that fill out the perfectly paced two hour run-time. Yes, it’s an over the top action movie that isn’t packed to the seams with bloated extended shaky cam spilling out over the three hour and seventeen minute mark.
Miller starts to hit on some real Dead Space/Pandorum/Event Horizon…/Shining moments where Max keeps hallucinating his dead family and a little girl taunting him and asking for help or why he abandoned her. I knew Max had a son in the first movie and wondered if this was a retcon, a call-back to the children from Thunderdome…or just a demonic little girl because they’re fucking scary. In any event, it works! Fury Road’s visuals are breathtaking constantly shifting from a comic booky, yellow (could be orange, im colorblind) tinted wasteland out of something like 300 featuring monster men and stork people to a very believable dystopian battleground. The entire world has slowly started to lose its shit living in the “After Times” and this is evident every path this film takes you down from the reveal to Furiosa’s “reinforcements” to the War Boy playing a flame shooting guitar literally throughout the entire movie while being suspended on a rig chasing Max and co.
I heard some misplaced criticism on the internet about how this film was a “feminazi’s wet dream”… be your own judge, but I’m pretty sure this movie would be a feminist’s nightmare. Charlize Theron absolutely shines as Furiosa and there really isn’t any role she can’t play. The weakest link in the chain was unfortunately Tom Hardy, and this isn’t anything against the guy as he’s proven he’s a top notch actor. It’s also not something that anyone who wasn’t a die hard fan of the franchise would ever pick up on or be slightly even bothered by. In his whopping estimated 17 lines, Hardy goes back and forth from doing a passable at best Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky circa 1979 and slipping VERY noticeably albeit briefly into his Bane voice. Luckily Max has SEVENTEEN lines if that, and when he’s not speaking, he’s hitting it out of the park.
Speaking of over the top, this is not a flick for the faint of heart or the family friendly crowd. It’s R-rated and worth every inch of that rating. This is afterall the franchise that invented the idea for the SAW franchise. There’s just the right amount of blood, gore, and some heart wrenching scenes in which you realize that in this world “hope is just something that will get you killed or make you go mad.”
5/5 – movie of the summer, and it’s only May