Mad Thrills to the MAXimum

By Drew Telegin in Opinion

Mad Max: Fury Road” is everything one would want in a summer action movie. It’s full of over-the-top action, eccentric characters and souped-up hot rods.

Mad Max follows the title character played by Tom Hardy. Hardy’s performance while understated, is refreshing.  Hardy’s presence provides a constant for the audience throughout all the action.

While the movie is heavy on action, it’s light on plot. In the first scene, Max is captured by the War Boys, a gang roaming the post-apocalyptic landscape where the movie takes place.  Imperator Furiosa played by Charlize Theron is set to lead a resupply mission for the movie’s antagonist, Immortan Joe, played by Hugh Keays-Byrne.  Furiosa betrays Joe and steals “The War Rig”.  Immortan Joe sends his War Boys after Furiosa, and we catch up to Max strapped to the front of a car acting as a living blood bag to the character Nux, played by Nicholas Hoult.

After escaping from the gang, Mad Max helps Furiosa and takes part in the car chase that drives the majority of the plot.

The choice to keep the plot understated allows the audience to fill-in the holes themselves.  It breaks the norm of what people have come to expect from summer blockbusters.  This tactic gives the movie a lived in, real world feeling that the audience can connect to.  It’s a bold choice, but one that pays off many times over.

The character Nux is one of the highlights of the film. He is the perfect counter to Max’s cool, calm and collected.  Like Max, Nux’s growth throughout the film helps keep it grounded.  Both Max and Nux are characters lost in the oblivion that is the world of the movie. Although they come from different backgrounds they both see redemption in the assistance and the pursuit respectively of Furiosa. It’s a fascinating journey to follow the two characters to the end.

Watching Nux’s journey from start to finish is great, especially when compared to a character like Furiosa, who is already developed by the time the events in the film take place.

Director George Miller’s approach to an action film is extremely exhilarating.  Rather than relying on CGI Miller, he chose to use practical effects in 80 percent of the movie.  It’s incredible to see an actual car flip and blow up. All the explosions have a visceral feeling that adds excitement.  It’s something that’s been missing from some recent movies.

It’s a testament to Miller’s skill that he can take a bare bones plot like “Mad Max: Fury Road” and have audiences invest so much into the story.  Every scene has a payoff, and the movie has a satisfying ending without holding your hand the entire way.  While other movies would fall flat, Mad Max keeps you in your seat.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” could have been just another action movie, but  instead it is a film that makes you care for its characters and understated moments with incredible depth.  The fact that it’s a blowout action blockbuster is incredible, and it could end up being the best movie of the summer

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