Mad Max: Fury Road ★★★★½

"If you can't fix what's broken..."

Fully satisfying as to theme, this is a throwback only in the sense that it reminds us of how much more thrilling stunts are than special effects. The choreography and editing is off-the-charts good...and a welcome relief to those of us weary of the uberfrenetic shot sequencing of Avengers and such.

This is essentially one long chase scene, but backstory and theme are interspersed, and it's the rare action movie that shows rather than tells. That is, rather than having exposition set up the stakes for the action, we see characters revealed through the action.

Good science fiction, good action, can never be exclusively about the adrenaline rush. There are points to ponder about our dehumanization, but it's not entirely nihilistic. That bits and pieces of humanity remain makes us speculate as to whether that's a good thing, whether the will to survive is all that there is.

No special effects will ever match the power of the human face, the human body. Miller's world is one in which the line between life and death is thinner than ever. The thinness of that line, however, doesn't simply make life cheap. Rather it makes the people who are forced to straddle that line ask the same question we are confronted with: what makes life worth living?