'Mad Max: Fury Road': A Vigorous and Blistering Post-Apocalyptic Action Extravaganza
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) is a blistering and bombastic action thriller starring Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky, the titular post-apocalyptic wanderer whose exploits date back to 1979, when Mel Gibson first inhabited the role. In this, the franchise's fourth film and first since Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985), Hardy steps in to portray Max as his wayward adventures bring him into direct conflict with merciless warlord "Immortan Joe" (Hugh Keays-Byrne).
Captured by a band of marauding "War Boy" henchmen and delivered to Joe in his rock-bound citadel, Max is enslaved and drained unceremoniously of his bodily fluids. Meanwhile, Joe's top lieutenant "Imperator Furiosa" (Charlize Theron) embarks on a seemingly conventional reconnaissance mission in search of fuel—a trek revealed to be a daring escape attempt with Furiosa furtively smuggling Joe's five enslaved wives from their lives of captivity. With Max strapped to the bow of his super-charged roadster, Joe lays waste across the desert in desperate pursuit of his beloved harem members, an audacious journey that ultimately entails Max's escape and tenuous partnership with Furiosa in their mutual attempt to elude and conquer Joe and his army of crazed bandits.
Co-written and directed by Australian filmmaker George Miller, the visionary behind all four "Mad Max" films, Fury Road is an exhilarating thrillride that echoes Miller's trademark desert-pursuit conceit with major steps forward in terms of substance and modernistic stylings. Indeed Miller's script features a highly refreshing subtext of feminism and female liberation, with Hardy quite nearly taking a back seat to Theron in her spectacular performance as Furiosa—a tenacious warrior every bit as formidable as her male counterpart. Massive in scale yet imbued with an air of magnanimous humanism, it's a grand, chaotic and uniquely enlightened modern masterpiece.
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