Mad Max: Fury Road
 
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Mad Max: Fury Road

Well, hot damn! George Miller’s Mad Max reboot kicks the superhero action genre in the butt, charging forth with a furious yet streamlined energy that changes the game for everybody.

In the lean almost spare manner of the first of the ‘Max’ films (which Miller made 30 years ago, thank you), this chapter takes us on the road to saving the arid postapocalyptic world, but also on the one that just might save the spirit of its ragged survivors. A simply super Tom Hardy now plays Max, here, at the outset, captured by Citadel soldiers and strapped to a marauding vehicle, a captive offered for slaughter. But our Max manages a remarkable escape and winds up in the company of the best female action hero since Ripley, a tough, smart trucker named Furiosa, played by a no nonsense (and no left armed) Charlize Theron. Turns out our heroine’s got more on her mind than just delivering a precious water supply, she’s also ferrying a load of the ruling Immortan Joe’s wives, a group of gorgeous young women wanting escape from his grotesque clutches.

There’s plenty of big, ballsy violence to please audiences who like that kind of thing, but this movie offers so much more. The stunts are actual stunts, my friends, not just actors throwing punches up against a blue screen. And what stunts they are: more than once I wondered ‘how’d they do that’.  What little CGI there is, is used to beautiful effect, creating enveloping sandstorms whipped up on the spectacular desert backdrops used so effectively throughout. The cinematography’s gorgeous, the score revs us all up. And I must admit to getting a real kick out of the rockin band of drummers and high flying heavy metal guitarist who accompany the bad guys on their path of terror.

But let’s not overlook the less showy strengths. It’s almost as miraculous as the physical stunts to see the actors here truly tap into our emotions. Hat tips to co-stars Nicholas Hoult and the spectacular beauty Rosie Huntington-Whitely, but the grisly heart of this film comes from the singular, never melodramatic turns from Hardy and Theron. We may buy a ticket for the brawn, but their work makes us stay with the soul.

 

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