Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Director: George Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, iOTA
Studio: Warner Bros.
Thirty years have passed since Mel Gibson left Thunderdome, but “Mad” Max Rockatansky is back with a vengeance in Mad Max: Fury Road, a film that lived up to all of the expectations this fan had.
In the same vein as The Road Warrior, Fury Road goes for minimal dialogue in favor of heavy action. Although the film begins with a heavy dose of narration, almost an hour passes before Max utters a complete sentence. His backstory is only occasionaly hinted at, as it should be. We already know his story, any additional time devoted to his origin would slow the action down. Tom Hardy was a good choice for the role, speaking softly, but carrying a big stick. Although Max’s iconic interceptor vehicle and sawed off shotgun appear in the beginning, they are quickly disposed of. It’s the same character, but he’s going in a different direction this time.
The main villian, Immortan Joe, (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played the villainous Toecutter in the original Mad Max) is a disgusting, decaying man, covered in armor to hide his weaknesses. He has control of a vast supply of water, which he uses to control the people of the wasteland. The film kicks off when his second-in-command, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), kidnaps his wives, and steals a giant tanker truck containing three thousand gallons of gasoline. She plans to take them to the safety of the “green place” where she was born. The enraged Joe orders his entire army to follow. Max, used as a “blood-bag” for the sick war boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult), is forced to accompany the army. When he breaks free, all hell breaks loose.
When the action starts, it doesn’t let up. Furiosa’s tanker truck is almost always on the move, and Joe’s army, which includes a man called “The Face Eater”, the residents of the “bullet farm” and a band with a guitarist whose instrument doubles as a flamethrower, are never far behind. This is George Miller’s first live action movie as a director since 1998’s Babe: Pig In The City, and he demonstrates he hasn’t lost a step. The film is beautifully shot, especially in the nighttime desert scenes, and the action scenes are well-choreographed. When you see the rock musician with a flamethrower guitar providing the soundtrack for the action scenes aboard a rolling fortress of death for the first time, you’ll know exactly what sort of movie you’re in for.
Fury Road has garnered calls for boycotts from so-called “men’s rights activists” who believed it was an action movie disguised as “feminist propaganda” for having so many strong female characters. If you’re a normal human being who can overlook the sillyness of that belief, I’m sure you’ll find it refreshing to see so many strong female characters in an action movie. Immortan Joe’s lieutenant. Furiosa can hold her own against Max, and the five brides aren’t just a bunch of helpless damsels, and actually feel like fleshed-out characters. They refuse to let their children become warlords, and will stop at nothing to escape Joe.
The experience of watching this film is an exhilarating one. The formula of Miller’s direction, Hardy and Theron’s acting, and some of the best action scenes you are likely to see all summer creates a movie you won’t want to see just once. Once the credits started rolling, and my jaw rehinged itself, I set out to buy a second ticket. If you’re looking for the best thrill ride Hollywood has to offer this summer, you’d be hard pressed to find a film more thrilling than Mad Max: Fury Road.