The Mad Max series created the blueprint from realistic post-apocalyptic movies back in the 80s with the original Mad Max and it’s sequel The Road Warrior. After the third installment, Beyond Thunderdome, series creator, George Miller went on to work on less violent material like the Happy Feet and Babe series, but it seems like he hasn’t lost his touch one bit with this masterful action movie. Mad Max: Fury Road is an astonishing piece of work from a visionary mind. Crafted almost perfectly and delivering everything you want from a movie set in this horrible wasteland.
The story in Mad Max: Fury Road is very simple. Imperator Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, attempts to free the sex slaves of Immortan Joe. Her decisions put the two hour car chase in motion, and the movie rarely stops to take a breath. Character motivations and choices are very clear here. The action is the most complicated and precise thing about this movie. Every movement is perfect, every character is a veteran, and slightly deranged because of the world. This movie has some of the best action I’ve ever seen, and I was constantly floored by the visuals on screen. The fight between Max and Furiosa was the peak and the movie just stayed on that level through its run-time. Despite most of the film taking place in a truck, the action and enemies are so diverse that it never feels repetitive. The design of the cars and weapons are so well-thoughout and believable. The practical effects give the action so much weight and consequence. There is minimal dialogue and so much of the story is told visually making the movie a beautiful experience.
Max is the name on the poster, but Furiosa is the star of the show. The plot is driven (literally & figuratively) by her and her desire for freedom and thirst for hope. She is in flux, having not given herself completely to the madness of the wasteland, but adapting and surviving whenever necessary. She’s hardened by her experience, but she still has bit of humanity within her. The Five Wives have great agency in the plot and are looking for a reality better than the one created by Immortan Joe. The story could exist without Max at all. These women would have still tried to escape and might have been successful. Max is a character that just ends up on this roller coaster ride. He is the least charming, exciting or compelling character and that isn’t an accident. Max has been stripped down of any bits and pieces that make him a functioning human. His only personality trait is survival. You can tell from his voice that he doesn’t talk to people. I particularly love a scene when he snaps at someone instead of saying a word. The Max character is hollow but interesting because of that. His dynamic with Furiosa is perfect. Nothing romantic. By the end of the movie they’ve come to respect and appreciate one another.
Mad Max: Fury Road is the best movie I’ve seen this year. I don’t see any of the summer blockbuster topping the simple, insane and thrilling spectacle created by George Miller and executed perfectly by Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and the rest of the amazing cast.