'Mad Max: Fury Road'

Old school stunt work such as attackers swinging on poles to board an 18-wheel tanker careening across the desert help make 'Fury Road' the best 'eye candy' thriller in years.

With “Mad Max: Fury Road,” director George Miller has delivered an action movie that raises the bar for action movies. It is so revolutionary in its use of old school stunt work and crane-held cameras, that it might single-handedly cause studios (I’m looking at you, Lucasfilm) to rethink the notion that the future lies in computer generated imagery (CGI).

Make no mistake about it, “Fury Road” is a film for lovers of action movies. Ninety-eight percent of what you are going to see on the screen is either a fight scene, chase scene or some marvelous combination of the two.

If you are looking for nifty plot twists, subtle characters, or witty dialogue, this movie is probably not for you (“Fury Road” makes the plotline of your average “Fast and Furious” flick look a Tom Clancy novel).

If, on the other hand, you love a good two-hour adrenaline rush and the intriguing knowledge that not every character on the screen is going to be alive when the credits roll, this is your ticket to paradise.

Reprising the film franchise he started nearly four decades ago, Miller spent the better part of the last three years putting together “Fury Road,” the first film in the series since 1985’s “Return to Thunder Dome.”

The action starts when our titular hero Max (Tom Hardy) finds himself captured (after an exhilarating chase scene, natch) by roving gangs of post-Apocalyptic thugs, driven by leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).

Joe and his cohorts live in “The Citadel,” a giant mesa in the desert that is the only source of underground water in the area. Occasionally, he will order his men to send waterfalls of this precious resource onto the thirsty hordes below.

When Joe sends a motorcade of vicious looking dune buggies and motorcycles across the desert to raid a nearby source of gasoline, his big rig driver Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) pulls a fast one on him by taking a detour. Instead of making her way to Gas Town, she swerves left on a mission to deliver Joe’s five baby-making wives to her ancestral “green” home.

The five wives in question look as if they stepped out of the pages of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue, and, in fact, two of the actresses playing the wives have experience modeling for the VS brand. With names such as The Splendid Angharad (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), Toast the Knowing (Zoe Kravitz), Capable (Riley Keough), The Dag (Abbey Lee) and Cheedo the Fragile (Courtney Eaton), the quintet doesn’t display differences in character so much as differences in hair color choices.

When one of Joe’s “war boys,” Nux (Nicholas Hoult) and captive Max encounter Furiosa and the wives during the desert pursuit, an uncomfortable alliance is formed. Max drives the big rig while one-armed Furiosa shoots at their legion of attackers.

“Fury Road” is a throwback to “Road Warrior” (the second movie in the series), Death Race 2000 (the original 1975 version) and other mindless escapist movies, only on an epic scale. Miller reportedly filmed 200 hours of footage to piece together two hours of virtual non-stop action, and it works. The insane stunt work on the swinging poles, inspired by Cirque du Soleil performances, is alone worth the price of admission.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout and for disturbing images.

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