The movie opens in an all-desert post-apocalyptic world with Max (Tom Hardy) alone, haunted by memories/visions of a little girl he couldn't save -- and captured by a bunch of bald albinos. They obey Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), a warlord with a skull mouthpiece who rules a small kingdom by sparsely doling out water to the people there. He's created a green oasis in the desert - but up on a mountain, and only for him. Max is kept as a living blood bag.
Joe's trusted servant Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is supposed to take the heavily-armored War Rig out on a munitions run, but she changes course without telling anyone. When Joe finds out she's freed and is transporting his five wives/breeders (one of whom is about to give birth), he sends his whole army out to retrieve his "property," no matter the cost. And young driver Nux (Nicholas Hoult) straps Max to the front of his vehicle, still drawing blood from him while in the chase.
Through a series of events, Max winds up freed and helping Furiosa and the five wives travel to "the Green Place" Furiosa promised them. Meanwhile the group is relentlessly pursued by Joe and his army, assorted bandits and groups, and even Nux hangs around.
While the leads are good (and Theron is the real star of the movie), the real key to Mad Max: Fury Road is the action and the spectacle. Director and co-writer George Miller loves pushing things far pat the normal, whether it's cars covered in spikes, a vehicle covered with speakers while a blindfolded musician plays a guitar that shoots flames, Furiosa's bare-bones but functional prosthetic arm. The action almost never stops (there is a brief lull about two-thirds into the movie) and the audience is treated to innumerable explosions, car crashes, and flying bodies. A lot of the movie's feminist elements get lots on the cacophany of the chaos -- but Mad Max: Fury Road is undeniably one of the most exciting movies to hit the theaters in a very long time.
Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch