Quality: This score indicates entertainment value.
0 stars is horrible, while 5 stars is spectacular.
Political: This score addresses political messaging.
0 stars is aggressively anti-Conservative, while 5 stars is highly pro-Conservative. 3 stars is apolitical.
Moral/Religious (M/R): This score addresses moral and religious messaging.
0 stars is either intensely immoral or all-out, needless assault on Christianity. 5 stars is either great moral messaging or highly pro-Christian. 3 stars is inoffensive either way.
Quality – 4 stars, Political – 2.5 stars, M/R – 2 stars
“I’m back! Time to ride!”
“Honey, why are the sides of your head shaved?! And why are we shouting?!”
“This is how we all talk now! It’s the only way to gain respect!”
“Respect? But Cori—”
“I’m Death Kitty now! I feel so free!”
“Free? You were only gone twelve minutes!”
“I’m stronger now! And the car will be too, with the new shielding I got!”
“Can’t ride without shielding—I wouldn’t make it twenty feet in this heap!”
“Heap? We drive a Rav 4! It’s a peppy little SUV with high mileage, sporty contouring, and smart use of space for families on the go!”
“Well, I drive a Rav 4…”
“Had to trade you for the shielding!”
“You traded me?”
“They needed laborers in the mines! I’m sorry, the bidding got going, there were rival clans…lots of tattoos…I got so excited!”
“You traded me?”
“I also told them you’re a mechanic. They all wanted mechanics!”
“But I’m a political writer!”
“Yeah, no one wanted those! There was loud laughter, lots of tattoos…I got so excited!”
“But I don’t work on cars!”
“It’s okay! I didn’t tell them that, and all trades are final! I still get the shielding!”
“I’m frightened, Death Kitty!”
“Don’t be! Your warlord has assured me you’ll be fed! They were cooking something back there…something they caught!”
“Gotta fight for your share, of course. Bring something sharp!”
“But…but…I’m frightened, Death Kitty!”
Watching Mad Max movies transports you to a post-apocalyptic, savage world, where nearly all battles play out on wheels. Warring over gasoline and water, the characters show little interest in nursing feelings or being politically correct. It’s kill or be killed. Drive or be driven over. Everything’s…raw.
And yet, in the case of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” everything is also something else: Impressive. For those who can handle the chaotic feel of a lawless future, this film is terrific. The action is relentless, but not confusing. Minimalist color schemes augment splashes of beauty (reminds me of “Pitch Black”), while harrowing combat feels real—thanks to a nice blend of stuntwork and infrequent CGI. Pacing, editing, special effects—all are first rate. Wasting nothing in its two hour runtime, “Fury Road” leaves your heart racing and your senses blown.
Hang on, baby.
Think I’m just gushing over a guy flick? Think again. This is more of a feminist action movie, reminiscent of Sigourney Weaver’s masterpiece, “Aliens.” Yes, Max (Tom Hardy) is central to the story, but he’s joined by Charlize Theron, who plays “Imperator Furiosa”—a head-shaved, one-armed heroine bent on rescuing several women from their male-dominated cult. Oh yes, guys in this film get what they deserve, often at the hands of ladies.
Come to think of it, maybe girls shouldn’t watch “Fury Road.” If they do, men won’t be safe on morning commutes for at least a month. Think I’m kidding? There’s lots of pent up frustration out there, and we’re liable to see Rav 4’s blowing up all over the roads. Better get some shielding, boys…
As for Theron, it’s time to state the obvious: She might be the finest actress of our time. A natural beauty (witness “Italian Job”), Theron sometimes targets roles like this where her looks are cast aside, proving she needn’t rely on that which propelled her to Hollywood’s pinnacle. It’s extraordinary. While Scarlett Johansson wears some saucy outfit every time out, Theron might well play an ogre in the next bridge-related fable. And she’ll make a good one.
Hardy is also up to the task. Haunted to near insanity by sad memories, Hardy’s “Max” is really quite “Mad.” Too many regrets. Too many horrors. In time, he snaps out of it, but only because he must. Ever the hero, Max does what has to be done.
The villain, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), leads a religious cult, promising followers rewards in Valhalla for their sacrifices. Basically, he’s a radical Islamic Thor (a combination I’d never considered—an oversight on my part). Using women for breeding purposes, Evil Thor pursues Max and Furiosa to retrieve the little band of hotties they’re helping.
Sound tense? Sound fun? It is.
But throughout the mayhem, there’s a good message to “Mad Max: Fury Road”: Delude people, and they’ll follow. When the delusion breaks, they’ll rebel. But lead with honor, and they’ll follow you anywhere…since there’s nothing left to break.
I can think of many leaders today who’d benefit from this message. I can also think of many moviegoers today who’d benefit from watching this movie.
Just hang on, baby.