Review: Mad Max Fury Road

Review by Adrian Lopez

In a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, two rebels just might be able to restore order: Max, a man of action and of few words, and Furiosa, a woman of action who is looking to make it back to her childhood homeland.

Fair warning: We caught this at the nation's only 4DX theater in Downtown Los Angeles. The seats bucked and jarred along with the War Rigs, the smell of gasoline, burned rubber, and explosions assaulted our noses, and the precious commodity of water would trickle over our heads in unison with its movie cameo appearances. To say this review may be blinded by the flash  in the pan is possibly a huge understatement.

Fuck that. This movie is the shit, 4DX or not.

THE STORY

Yo, I don't even know what the hell was going on. I wanted to watch the previous three Mad Max films prior to stepping foot into Fury Road so I could catch franchise nuances and understand the titular title character. Didn't. Didn't matter. From what I can piece together from the adrenaline-packed: We're pretty balls-deep in humanity being royally fucked without the precious commodity of water. The thirst is real as the citadel leader, Immortan Joe, selfishly hoards the citadel's water supply, offering mere drops to the poor pariahs below. Joe has one of his top lieutenants, Imperator Furiosa, out on a supply run in a massive War Rig. Furiosa is in reality gunning for her hometown with Joe's five "wives" in tow. She's basically freed them of their breeding enslavement. Obviously, this doesn't sit well with the Immortan, so he gets together a good ol' fashioned murder party together to take down Furiosa and get his women back. A caravan of war vehicles then gives chase through the dusty roads of... Australia? Right? Sure.

Where does Max fit into all of this? He's captured early on, and used as a sort of blood bag for a War Boy named Nux, who must have daddy issues because he has a lot to prove. Nux is a part of Joe's armada, strapping Max onto his hood like a Cadillac emblem. Max escapes, of course, and joins Furiosa on the War Rig.

The rest is a blur. A brutal, frenzied, vehicular man-slaughtering blur.

THE GOOD

Where to start? I think back on action movies like John Wick, Furious 7, and Kingsmen, all movies we scored very high on the show, and I feel like Fury Road is in good company, if it's not the one calling the shots in this gang of adrenaline-overloaded films. The action starts almost immediately and never lets up. I mean it: there is no breather. Just when you think you have a chill scene with some dialogue crucial for the storyline, you get thrusted right back into the thick of it. This will be the action movie standard for years to come if not in the industry, on this show most definitely.

Visually, it's both check-out-the-shit-we-do-now impressive, and a nod to classic action filmmaking. I feel like this is the vibe the old Max Max movies wanted to capture back then, but didn't have the technological means yet. In this day and age, we hear a lot of complaints about overdoing it on shakey cam, lens flare, and general blurry choreography. Fury Road never suffered from those, always showing off desktop wallpaper-worthy shots, tangible sets and vehicles, clean choreographed fights, and tasty CGI when needed.

What you'll here the most about this film, however, is the incredibly strong and talented female cast, with Theron outshining Hardy in every way. Not to say Hardy doesn't do an fantastic job as the savage Max, but Theron gives us such a wide scope of her acting chops along with the wife characters. You can't help but appreciate what director George Miller has accomplished here: strong female characters that aren't reactive only to their male counterparts. It's called Mad Max, but in reality it plays out more like Furiosa and the Furious Five. Furiosa's character arc is the most entertaining. Plain and simple. The Five Wives are never used to titilate, which is what one unfortunately expects now in these type of films. They can hold their own, and have such a feels-punching story.

THE BAD

Two hours. For an action flick, that's kind of long. I think there could've been some trimming to make it nice and tight. Pruning really, as I did enjoy all I saw. There's also little plot holes that bugged me. Just how much blood does Max have? When he finally severed off the IV to Nux, how could he even stand, only to then give more blood to Furiosa later in the film? In this dystopian future, have we all reached blood type singularity that we can just bust out impromptu blood transfusions? Also, baddie Nux and Lady Capable's romance is kinda weird, no matter how hard the wives' plight hits you. Dude's a brain-washed War Boy, but he's so quick to jump ship after some chin-rubbing. It's kinda the reverse damsel-in-distress stuff we were getting away from with this film, no?

Also, there was a guitarist in the convoy. Like they used to have war drummers... but's he's a suspended guitarist. I can't.

CONCLUSION

I bet the dialogue for this film fits on a couple of pages. Because it's all about the action and the body language. Max and Furiosa's relationship is conveyed in mere glances and nods! That's incredible. It means my watching experience will more than likely not differ from someone on the other side of the world watching with subtitles. I think that's really impressive. It's a nod to action movies of my youth when you really had to step it up with the stunts. The best part, I think, is you can come to this with zero knowledge of the Mad Max franchise and still have a good time. If you want the cinematic equivalent of slamming coffee after coffee, this 12-gauge shotgun of adrenaline-pumping madness is for you. Worth every penny.

FINAL RATING: ★★★★★