What a ride! From the beginning to the end, there is hardly a static scene in this film. It begins as Max (Tom Hardy) is contemplating the vast scorched earth that the world has become in its not so distant dystopian future. But before you can say “Where’s Mel?” the crazy car caravan arrives filled with even crazier warriors. They snatch him up and take him back to their stronghold called the Citadel to become a “blood bag” that keeps their troops at fighting strength. But when the evil leader Immortan Joe’s wives are stolen and his war boys take chase, one of them who just happens to be receiving his refresher blood directly from Max, decides to join the fight and takes his supply along for the ride, cleverly attaching him to the front of his vehicle. It probably isn’t the safest place to be in a road war. Especially when the person you’re up against is the super bad-ass fem-warrior Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron.)
Furiosa was supposed to be on a run to the nearby town to trade some of the Citadel’s plentiful water for some gas, but she suddenly takes a detour and the chase is on. And despite overwhelming odds, she is able to outfight and outmaneuver the warriors who are pursuing her. In the melee, Max is also able to escape and joins her and her female cargo. The scene where we meet the five wives is a welcomed comedic beat in the midst of the carnage. Here in the middle of the scorching desert, after a battle that has left scores dead and bloodied, you see five Victoria’s Secret models washing up and cutting the locks from the chastity belts Immortan had them wearing. It turns out that Furiosa plans to take them to her home, The Green Place, a haven away from the testosterone fueled perpetual war that the rest of the world has become. And after Max convinces them that he is one of the good guys, the seven of them continue on with an even bigger army on their tail.
There is a small romantic story as well, as Nux (Nicholas Hoult), the young war boy who’d been using Max’s blood, defects over to help the women and has “a thing” with one of the wives. As much as this is Max’s story, it is Furiosa who commands the screen. She’s no woman waiting for a man to save her. And unlike Max, it seems she is not haunted by her past, but driven by it. Theron is the best female action star yet. (Expect a sequel.)
What is exceptional about Mad Max: Fury Road is that it is able to do what it does so well without major CGI. It is all about kick-ass stunts, great set design (especially those amazing vehicles), and incredible shooting. As much as I love a great script, this one is as simple as can be. It is one long fighting chase scene, very short on dialogue, and it is entirely enthralling. There is a whimsy just below the surface that keeps you looking at every detail. The scarification on the warriors bodies. The ingenious weapons. The cobbled together cars and war machines. And the girl power is a beautiful thing to behold. It is just plain fun! See it. Really.
Mad Max: Fury Road comes in 2D and 3D versions. I saw it in 2D because my vision doesn’t do 3D well, but I would recommend the 3D, just for the added fun.