Because I am a fangirl, I know I often speak in hyperbole. However, I don’t think I am being crazy when I say George Miller’s MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is one of the best action films I’ve ever seen. Miller, with his Baz Luhrmann-esque quick camera movements, creates a fully realized world and atmosphere like nothing I have seen onscreen before. Yes, the plot basically involves one long car chase scene, but there are so many layers, interesting character quirks, and set locations, it feels like a completely original, one-of-a-kind film. Using almost all practical effects and incredible stunt work for the action scenes, FURY ROAD is as “real” as current action movies come. I am not typically an action movie fan, so for me to heavily endorse this film says a lot. But I think even the least-enthused moviegoers won’t be able to deny that this film transcends any genre and is the high octane thriller we have all been waiting for.
As one colleague put it, the nonstop action in FURY ROAD makes AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON feel like a 2.5 hour nap. That isn’t a knock to our favorite Marvel superheroes, but is instead an observation about just how high-paced and high-stakes this film is. The action opens on Max (Tom Hardy), who is attempting to escape from his role as a “blood bag” to a group of young warriors known as the “war boys”. It appears nuclear fallout/radiation poisoning has done a number on these citizens of the Citadel, a desert city that sits on a valuable water reserve, and they use universal blood donors to give their own tainted blood some much-needed oomph.
Around that same time, the Citadel’s most-beloved road warrior, Furiosa (Charlize Theron), has gone rogue, veering her giant war machine truck off-course to go on her own mission. As we soon learn, she is hell-bent on freeing the Citadel leader’s sex slaves and taking them to “the green place” of her childhood. Of course, this doesn’t sit well with the leader, Immortan Joe, so he and a huge war party set off in equally badass cars to get the women back. Max is strapped to the front of one of these cars to act as a traveling blood bank. Little does Joe know, Furiosa has some more tricks up her sleeves and is not going to go down without a fight, especially once Max and former war boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult) join the team.
Don’t let the title “MAD MAX: FURY ROAD” confuse you, this is actually Furiosa’s movie. I hope the production team pulls an EDGE OF TOMORROW/LIVE DIE REPEAT with the marketing campaign and changes it to FURIOSA: FURY ROAD for the DVDs. Theron is always exceptional, but in FURY ROAD, she is also a statement – a statement that badass women can carry huge franchise films just as well as men… even if it takes a bit of a bait and switch to give her that opportunity. It takes an actress of her caliber and physicality to bring this character to life, and even with a script with such little dialogue, Theron spoke as much through her actions and facial expressions as she did screaming behind the wheel of her war machine.
Go out to the biggest, loudest theater you can find and support this incredible film. The 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes is completely accurate, as is the incredible hype building around the film. And hey, you don’t even need to watch the first three MAD MAX films to enjoy this one. I still haven’t seen them and it worked out for me just fine.
My Review: A