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Mon, Dec. 09

For what it is, new 'Max' is pretty good

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road

This definitely isn't Mel Gibson's "Mad Max." Although the setting is the same post-apocalyptic world where survivors eke out an existence on whatever they can salvage, "Mad Max: Fury Road" rolls alone. Much like America itself, automobiles reign supreme and the most successful bands of survivors have an elaborate fleet of customized killing machines.

The opening sequences draw you in as Max (Tom Hardy) runs from his captors. I laughed quietly at the funny way he and his pursuers ran, which was kind of side-stepping motion.

Viewers quickly learn that the plot won't be carried by the dialog. Max rarely speaks, and most of the time I couldn't understand what was being said by anyone with a role. Funny thing is, you really didn't need to know exactly what they were saying because their intent was clear.

Enter caravan leader Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). She comes through as the real action hero here, with Hardy in more of a supporting role. Furiosa departs from the expected route and the chase is on. Make no mistake, though - the chase is on from the beginning to the very end of the movie.

The vehicles are believable as salvaged and mended. Each has its own particular weaponry that is believable and plays well during action sequences. There are lots of crashes, explosions and fights.

Surprisingly, there's not a lot of bloody gore that's used so excessively in other movies. The chase itself is compelling without the need to show the results of bodies being thrown under the wheels.

Don't worry about being bored with character development. No time at all is wasted explaining why the characters do what they do. And this is where Theron really shined. She doesn't say much. It's her expressions and what her character is trying to do that gets you cheering for her.

Strong women weren't a part of the original "Mad Max" movies, which is a shame because they add so much to "Mad Max Fury Road." What a difference about 30 years has made. Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whitely and Riley Keough contribute as the brides, but the lion's share of the screen time belongs to Theron.

Some of the beginning stunts are a little cheesy but they definitely improve. "Mad Max: Fury Road" runs about two hours and is rated R because of the violence. It was thoroughly entertaining, and isn't that what we go to the movies for? I'll give it four out of four Miners. Grab the popcorn and have some fun.

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