Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

(Video on Demand, September 2015) “Oh, what a day!  What a lovely day!” is the kind of thing that post-apocalyptic science-fiction action movie fans are wont to quote after watching Mad Max: Fury Road.  Despite a lengthy gap between installments, a new star, rumors of a troubled production and generalized post-apocalyptic fatigue among moviegoers, this new Mad Max is a solid action film that dares distill its essence in a nearly all-encompassing chase sequence.  The non-stop action is shot impressively, with veteran director George Miller proving that he’s still a master of the form.  Better yet, the action-movie template actually features a lot of world-building (in the form of crazy details that hint at much more) and relatively progressive politics as women take active roles as agents of the plot.  Fury Road cleverly weaves its storytelling in its action sequences, resulting in a film that only pauses deliberately to take its breath.  Tom Hardy makes for a fairly good new Max, while Charlize Theron has a strong role as the rebellious Furiosa.  Still, this is Miller’s film, and the way he crams more and more excess in his stripped-down film feels like a breath of fresh air: the film is colorful, has stunts that feel honestly dangerous (or painful!).  There’s also a lot of thematic depth to the film’s relentless action, from the nature of cultism to the artificial illusion of patriarchy, to altruism as rebirth.  While the chase can come across as a bit repetitive, Fury Road remains a solid action film, the likes of which we see too rarely.  It’s good enough to make anyone’s day.

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