Dir: George Miller
Writer(s): George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nick Lathouris
Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Bryne, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, Nathan Jones and Megan Gale
Synopsis: In a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, two rebels just might be able to restore order: Max, a man of action and of few words, and Furiosa, a woman of action who is looking to make it back to her childhood homeland.
*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*
Director George Miller has returned to the wasteland of the “Mad World” he created back in 1981. Now, some odd thirty years later, Miller has bought back the character of Max Rockatansky and his surroundings of crazy-named characters, barren landscapes, insane looking cars, and yes, awesome car chases. But, does this new Mad Max hold its own or does it crumble under the hype? Well, it’s a lovely day!
Mad Max: Fury Road isn’t necessarily a remake, reboot or sequel. It does have a nice “Easter Eggs” to the previous movies that fans will notice, including during the opening narration by Max (Hardy) telling us who he is and what the world has become. Really, even if you aren’t a Mad Max fan or never seen the other films, it kind of doesn’t matter. Even without the Easter Eggs, Miller gives the audience enough material to make your own conclusions or flat out shows us, what this world has become. You will have no problem entering the world of the mad.
When it comes to the story of the movie, it is rather simple: Its one long car chase. The chase starts when Imperator Furiosa (Theron), a war lieutenant, leads a group of Immortan Joe’s (Keays-Byrne) War Boys, young pale-looking men who are deathly loyal to Joe, to a supposed oil and ammo run but ends up taking a detour. It’s after Joe finds out that Furiosa is on the detour that he realizes his “Wives” are missing. The Wives, who are five women that Joe uses to breed, are actually in Furiosa’s rig and decides to go out with this army to get back his “property.”
On the way to get back The Wives, one of the War Boys, Nux (Hoult) happens to have Max with him and they chase down the rig into the heavy promoted sand storm, which is even better than the promos. Of course, Max and Furiosa eventually cross paths and the two work together to get to safety.
Mad Max: Fury Road is very unapologetic. It doesn’t care if you think it’s weird or over the top, even though it is for the most part. Miller and his crew have done an amazing job of really creating a world that has come and gone, and what is in its place it. There’s very little hope in this bleak and dry world. The world is now filled with killers and survivors, and you better be one or the other, because there is no more for a middle ground.
One of the best parts of Fury Road, isn’t just the action (I’ll get to that in a minute), but the cinematography. The film looks beautiful and there are constantly great looking shots that just add to the film even more. Add to that the amount of great detail the costume department spent on making these characters, especially Immortan Joe, look both; great, creepy, and even resourceful. Even better, and thankfully, Miller avoids CGI for a good chuck of the film and leaves all the awe-struck moments to real car crashes and explosions.
But, all of these won’t be worth looking at it, if it weren’t for the characters. Tom Hardy plays a pretty good Max. He’s haunted by his past which is heavily touched on at the beginning and sporadically throughout the film. He’s a man of a few words and let’s his action do the talking. Seriously, Max might have the movie named after him, but he leaves a great chuck of the dialogue for his fellow runaways and is even masked for a good amount of time. It’s almost fair to say that Hardy is a supporting character in the movie and the real star is Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa.
Theron’s Furiosa is a not only a badass fighting woman, but a vulnerable one too. It goes to show you that Theron has a ton of range and can play both the vulnerable and kick-ass characters, that also happens to have one real arm. And yes, arguably, she is the lead character in the movie. We get to know as much of her backstory, surprising without heavy exposition, just through her actions and the way she treats her mission.
I didn’t want to address this in the review, but considering it’s become an issue with not just Theron’s character, but the other female characters in the movie, I’m going to address it. The “Feminist Agenda” in Mad Max: Fury Road is stupid! People outside of Hollywood have wanted more strong female characters and when they finally get more than one, they bitch about and call it a Feminist Agenda, seriously? I know not everyone is calling it this, but the fact out of the things you can complain about in the movie, you choose to call an installment in a film series about awesome looking car chases and ridiculous names, a Feminist movie? Get a life! Also does no one remember Virginia Hey’s Road Warrior character? Hell even Tina Turner’s Aunty Entity was a pretty strong female character in Beyond Thunderdome.
Anyway, let’s talk about The Wives – Toast the Knowing (Kravitz), The Splendid Angharad (Huntington-Whitely), Capable (Keough), The Dag (Lee) and Cheedo the Fragile (Eaton). Or as Immortan Joe would call them, his “property,” even though they would you hit and tell you they aren’t property to anyone. Each of them has their own personalities, but you only really get to know Toast, Splendid and Capable. The Dag and Cheedo have their brief moment to shine, but otherwise sit back on the action.
Hug Keays-Bryne’s Immortan Joe treats himself like a god or prophet in some sense. His War Boys are loyal because Joe promises them he’ll take them to Valhalla when they die. Keays-Bryne should be a familiar face – although you actually don’t really see his face in this – to the Mad Max world, he played the villain Toecutter in the first movie, but they have no connection in this film so don’t worry about that. Just like his crazy outfit, Immortan Joe is crazy, and ruthless.
Nicholas Hoult plays Nux, the War Boy, looking to prove himself not just to Joe, but to himself and others that he can be a legend. There are other great crazy characters like you’d suspect in the movie like this, people with crazy names like Rictus Erectus (Nathan Jones) or more straightforward, The People Eater (John Howard) and The Bullet Farmer (Richard Carter). They all add to the world that is long and gone and it fully shows.
While the movie might be one long big car chase, the film does slow down a bit to let the characters breath a bit, but pretty much to give us, the audience a breather too. Seriously after the first rig chase, I took a deep breath and the rest of the auditorium took one too and even laughed, but a good laugh not a “this is a terrible laugh.” However, I will say during those scenes, it does slow the movie down. It’s not so much of a bad thing to be honest, but considering how much we sit through during an action sequence, the slowed down bits takes you out a bit. However, during those scenes Theron and Hardy bring their characters more to life, so I really can’t complain too much.
All in all, Mad Max: Fury Road is a hell of a lot of fun. I do highly recommend multiple views, only because you’re sure to miss a few some awesome shots, or just viewing them all over again. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, more so Theron, keep the film going on the story and actor side of things. More importantly, George Miller brings Mad Max: Fury Road back to the things we love most about the series, awesome car chases and destruction.
Mad Max: Fury Road
4 out of 5