What makes Mad Max: Fury Road not only the best film in George Miller’s post-apocalyptic series, but one of the best action movies of all time, is that it has the most compelling and heart wrenching of stories driving its heart. Yeah, and it also has some of the most amazingly original and visually explosive, pulse-pounding action you’ll see this summer or any summer for that matter.
Tom Hardy is Max Rockatansky and he may headline this movie (we meet him before anyone else in Miller’s film), but what also makes Mad Max: Fury Road so special is that this is truly an ensemble picture where Mad Max is merely a spoke in the wheel that turns so beautifully.
Max is being pursued by a group of voracious nuts who catch him and bring him back to a world ruled by a dictator/deity-type named Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). In a world where there is an absence of water, he has found it and forged a “community” where all who bow before him are given drops of the rare stuff for which they are to be ever thankful. Joe also lives high above these peons, surrounded by his minions, called War Boys.
Then, there are Joe’s wives. They are a group of beautiful women who serve one purpose -- to give him children. They are slaves for all intents and purposes.
Charlize Theron is Furiosa and she is a trusted worker in this society for Joe. Once the film has introduced this world and gotten Max enslaved in it, Furiosa sets out on a journey to drive a huge tanker to fill up on petrol, get munitions and return to the fortress. Meanwhile, Nicholas Hoult’s Nux (a War Boy) wants in on the trip, but needs Max’s blood transfusion to live, so he straps Hardy’s anti-hero to the front of his vehicle and joins Furiosa on the road.
Only, about halfway to their destination, Furiosa turns left. She has other plans. She has Joe’s wives hidden below and this mission is now an effort to free the enslaved and take them to a paradise she remembers from her youth.
Mad Max: Fury Road is about as feminist of an action movie as we’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something after the Aliens and Terminators that have come and gone. Theron plays Furiosa like an emotionally and physically wounded warrior who hopes to do at least one thing right in her life to make up for all the pain she’s endured since Joe’s thugs grabbed her as a child and put her through the emotional and physical wringer.
As teased in the Mad Max: Fury Road trailer, Max gets involved as he and Furiosa become unlikely allies who distrust each other but share an unbreakable will to survive. As the film progresses, these two characters find more in common and forge an alliance that is touching, powerful and profound. Both Theron and Hardy bring their A-game and each turn in a performance that is of the highest order, something not easy to do when set pieces are moving at 80 miles per hour on the desert floor.
Then, there’s the action. Miller has choreographed what is in many ways a two-hour car chase with emotional moments sprinkled brilliantly throughout. Audiences will see things that boggle the mind and cause jaws to drop. We saw the movie weeks ago and still are aghast at what Miller has accomplished. It is nothing short of extraordinary. We hope anyone who makes an action movie, especially a car-centric one, studies Mad Max: Fury Road at how perfection is achieved.
Our Mad Max: Fury Road review believes that you will be hard-pressed to find a more explosive and sensational summer movie during this hot season. Then again, we also think that we have seen one of our top 15 of 2015. Miller (who co-wrote the script) has achieved greatness on so many levels that are equally operatic and gut-wrenchingly moving -- reminding us of some of the greatest moments sitting in a movie house in our lifetime.