Most of the mainstream critics have gone wild for Mad Max: Fury Road, maybe because it’s all about savage dystopian warriors driving really fast and blowing each other up, which is pretty much the opposite of being a nice pudgy film critic with a burrito in his messenger bag. Maybe all you really need to know are some of the characters’ names, which include Imperator Furiosa, Rictus Erectus, Cheedo the Fragile, Corpus Colossus and my favorite of all time, Zoe Kravitz as Toast the Knowing.
Tom Hardy plays Max Rocatansky, who’s an outlaw with a code of honor, and Charlize Theron’s a one-armed babe with a buzz cut, driving her enormous and complicated vehicle off-road in search of something called The Green Place, which sounds like a new McDonald’s Healthy Eating campaign.
For me, the best thing about the movie is watching cars which never get stuck in traffic on the L.I.E. to Amagansett; Mad Max is about what would happen if everyone on the Jersey Turnpike had a flamethrower in their back seat and a malformed dwarf in their glove compartment. The stunts are amazing, and Charlize is a great Sigourney Weaver-in-Alien style action-chick, but about midway through something very strange happens: the story stops completely so we can watch a batch of supermodels wearing gauzy beach cover-ups hose each other down. It’s like something out of Zoolander and for a second I wondered if the movie had been hacked, by extremely horny and undernourished teenage boys and their Dads.
The movie tries to get feminist, when Charlize runs into a gaggle of silver-haired, leathery-tanned women called the Vuvalini; they’re like a Santa Fe womyn’s commune dressed by Georgia O’Keefe. But the supermodels stick around and despite all of the fierce battles, they never seem to get dirty, and I assumed that eventually one of them would either marry Donald Trump or sign a deal with L’Oreal. Also, once Charlize and her pals drive way out into the desert, they realize that they have to drive all the way back, so maybe the movie should be called “Mad Max: I Forgot My House Keys.”
Still, it’s always fun to watch souped-up, porcupine-like SUVs smashing into each other, and to witness a future where the most precious commodities are gasoline and severe black eye shadow. Maybe in the next Mad Max movie, the Vuvalini should have a sing-off against the cast of Pitch Perfect, if you ask me.