Mad Max: Fury Road is almost two movies. There’s the simple plot with two complex lead characters. It’s somewhat interesting but predictable. The other movie is packed with complicated, impressive stunts where creatively engineered and souped-up cars and trucks whip through the desert at lightning speed as bombs blow and bullets fly.
The last time we saw Max Rockatansky, it was 1985, and he was Mel Gibson and tangled with soul singer Tina Turner in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. It tanked and this is probably the reason no one did a fourth film.
This one — guaranteed — is much more fun.
Max is still wandering the post apocalyptic Australian Outback, but his character is now played by the ubiquitous Tom Hardy ( The Dark Knight Rises). He is captured by dictator Immortal Joe and his minions, and tortured. Despot Joe and his bald albino hordes hoard water and food and keep the unwashed masses underfed and desperate.
When one of Joe’s trusted associates — Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa — grabs his five fertile wives and makes a run for it, Max is swept up into her rebellion. Joe wants the women for breeding purposes and is in hot pursuit.
All of the actors have fun with their parts. Neither Hardy nor Theron have much to say, but it doesn’t matter. When it comes to stoicism, few do it better. Nicholas Holt is the third central character. He’s one of the minions in pursuit and has a blast with the part. The ladies playing the five wives include Elvis Presley’s granddaughter Riley Keough and Lenny Kravitz’s daughter Zoe.
They, too, have fun with their limited roles.
Using enough weaponry, and setting off enough bombs to win a small war, Mad Max creator George Miller jump-starts the series. Mad Max: Fury Road takes a bit of time to really get going and has slow spots here and there, but it’s one of those where you put on your guilty pleasure face and just sit back and enjoy.