This summer has been glutted with the usual run of action blockbusters, be they superhero movies (“The Avengers: Age of Ultron”) or reboots of long-beloved franchises (“Jurassic World”). However, one film broke through the fog, and surprisingly, it was a reboot of a beloved franchise, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD and is reason enough to restore faith in big-budget action movies.
In a post-apocalyptic world, Max (Tom Hardy) is but one victim of a tyrannical terrain. Haunted by memories from his past, he’s among the people reduced to being used as a blood bank for the savage War Kids, including Nux (Nicholas Hoult of “Warm Bodies”).
Most of the remaining humans live under the oppressive reign of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Bryne), who controls the water supply for the masses. An entire political argument could be made from this, but let’s move on.
The action really begins when one of the lieutenants, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), veers off course from the squadron’s mission to collect gasoline. Inside Furiosa’s truck, however, are Joe’s five wives. This sets off one of the chase scenes that populate the film, and what chase scenes they are!
We’ve become so accustomed to seeing endless CGI in movies that at this point, we can merely comment on how poorly or well done they are. So it’s a breath of fresh air that the special effects and action scenes in this movie are so real. The vehicles and explosions are tangible for once and for a movie that cost $150 million to make, the money for “Mad Max” was well spent.
However, the freshest part of this movie is how it utilizes women as a major part of the film and how they have a stake in the movie’s plot development. The wives, who start out as captives, eventually adapt to their new environment to become hardened fighters and part of Furiosa’s
Max and Nux also join the women in escaping Joe and his army but since they are joined by a bunch of tough old women from Furiosa’s past, the film is still dominated by women. But the most divine of all women in the film is Furiosa. Played with both flintiness and humanity by Theron, she’s among the best movie characters created this year. She’s the real star of this movie and it’s all the better for it.
For all its virtues, “Mad Max: Fury Road” isn’t perfect. There isn’t much of a plot for the two-hour movie. Also, for a movie named after Max, he’s a seemingly minor character but it’s not too much of a weakness.
What is jarring is how Hardy’s incredibly husky voice renders a good chunk of his dialogue difficult to understand. Nonetheless, “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a sterling summer blockbuster, with engaging characters, otherworldly action scenes and a rousing finish. The last “Mad Max” movie may have happened 30 years ago, but this one stands on its own and is one of the best movies released this summer.