Max Max: Fury Road

Beautiful madness. Artful chaos. A masterpiece painted on a canvas of red sand with mutant-bastard machinery. It is two hours of the most ball-crushingly exquisite sex the body can endure—but for the eyes.

“Mad” Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), is a survivor of the Wasteland, the world left after the world fell, captured and used as a blood bag by War Boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult), who needs the healthy plasma to stave off his radiation sickness. Taken to the citadel of cult dictator Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, the Toecutter in the first film of the series back in 1979), Max finds himself chained to the front of Nux’s car and in hot pursuit of the War Rig of Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), who has taken Joe’s “property”—his freedom-seeking wives Splendid (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), Capable (Riley Keough), Cheedo (Courtney Eaton), Toast (Zoë Kravitz), and the Dag (Abbey Lee). After a literal run-in between the vehicles during an electrical sandstorm, Max tries to escape with the War Rig but can’t get it moving without Furiosa, and she’s not leaving the wives behind. Off they go, with the combined forces of Joe’s citadel and the expositively-named Gas Town and Bullet Farm in frenzied pursuit.

Fury Road is relentless. Director George Miller admitted in many interviews that he worked from a storyboarded script (almost a graphic novel) and it shows in every shot. The film is visually beautiful, no matter the grisly nature of what you see. In terms of sheer inventiveness, if the people behind the comic magazine Heavy Metal had hundreds of millions of dollars to blow on a film, this is the movie they’d hope to make but could only pull off with a man like Miller at the helm. Practical effects abound, giving everything a weight that CGI-dominant action flicks lack. This 70-year-old director is a man of the old guard who gets that sometimes you’ve gotta do it, not just fake it on a monitor.

As for complaints about a feminist agenda from the men’s right activists? Ignore them. In all the films since the first, Max has been used best as a fixed point around which the story moves—a unyielding stone in an insane river. He wants to be left alone, but the world won’t let him. He’s fallen into Furiosa’s story, and without him, Furiosa might have failed an hour into the movie. Then again, Max would probably be dead many times over without Furiosa, so it works out. Fury Road presents women of many types and strengths, not just damsels-in-distress, so enjoy the variety and tell the whiners to shut up. We need more of this, not less.

From story to characters to action to cinematography to music to costumes to design, this is as close to perfect as an action movie can be.

See it. In theatres, 2D or 3D, doesn’t matter. Just see it.

Rating: 5/5

-JW