Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
Written by: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris
Directed by: George Miller
In the post-apocalyptic wastelands, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) escapes with the breeders of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) gets drawn into the fray.
Mad Max: Fury Road is perhaps the best action film ever made. Stunningly beautiful, gorgeously brutal, and breathtakingly frenetic, this will be the film that future action movies take their cue from. This film has raised the bar for not just action filmmaking, but filmmaking in general. It is a stunning piece of work from the already accomplished George Miller (Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome). Sadly, as this is a piece of art that is also an action film, it will never be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. That is a shame, because I dare you to try to find a better film this year.
Max gets captured by the War Boys, the army of Immortan Joe. He is used as a ‘blood bag’, transfusing his blood into that of a war boy. Imperator Furiosa, meanwhile, is sent on a run to Gas Town and the Bullet Farm, other outposts of this wasteland. Soon, though, she changes course and it is learned that she ran off with Immortan Joe’s breeders, beautiful women with which he, well, breeds. Of course, Joe isn’t happy about this and leads his army of War Boys to reclaim his breeders. Max gets brought along, tied to the front of the car driven by Nux (Nicholas Hoult), who Max’s blood is infusing. Soon, Max has joined forces with Furiosa and begins helping her get the girls to the ‘Green Place’, while still being chased by Immortan Joe and his War Boys.
Much like the other Mad Max films, the plot is here only to serve the action. The world is a wasteland. Small outposts of humanity still exist, but humanity has been perverted. People have forgotten how civilization works. Tyrannical warlords like Immortan Joe have sprung up, but there aren’t many of them. Joe actually has water in this desert wasteland, and keeps his people under control by just giving them enough to survive. In one scene, he announces to the people to not become addicted to water. He is a tyrannical dictator, living in something close to luxury in this world, while his people starve. His War Boys are taken care of, though, actually getting food and milk (don’t ask . . .you’ll see where it comes from in the movie). Crazy abounds in this world, and the craziest is Max, who has officially lost his damned mind.
Living in the wastelands, alone, he exists with his demons. Whether it’s the memory of his dead child or the memory of the children he saved in Thunderdome, he is haunted by their loss. He is a broken man. Broken, but afraid to die. So he survives, continues to live on. Deep down, though, he is still a good man, which is clear when he eventually decides to help Furiosa.
The performances from all the actors in this film are solid. Tom Hardy brings a gruffness to Max that was missing from Mel Gibson’s version. Charlize Theron straddles that line between toughness and softness, making the character of Furiosa the most interesting one in the film. She has that strength needed to get the job done, but she’s doing the job because she cares. In this wounded world, that seems to be a rare trait.
Action. That is what this movie is, and it may not seem like it from what I have written before this. This is straight up, balls to the wall, furious action, the likes of which I have never seen. The majority of the action is practical. In this world of all CGI, all the time, watching these actors and stuntmen perform this ballet of death, bullets, and chrome is all the more exhilarating. There is some CGI, but the majority of this film are real actors, real cars, real explosions. You can’t help but watch and wonder how no one died making this typhoon of badassery. There is no way to describe how amazing these action sequences are, how exhilarating, how breathtaking, how shockingly beautiful.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a brilliant piece of action filmmaking art. Choreographed to perfection, acted with aplomb, and beautiful to behold, this is a film that will stand the test of time. This is the new standard for vehicular action films. Forget the Fast and Furious series, Mad Max is back, and taking no prisoners.
**** out of ****
BIZZAM!! Fun Facts!
- 80% of the effects in the film are practical.
- The film was shot in sequence.
- Hugh Keays-Bryne played the villain Toecutter in the original Mad Max.
- From IMDB: Jeremy Renner campaigned for the role of Mad Max. At one point the film’s long development, Michael Biehn was considered for the role of Max Rockatansky as was Heath Ledger, before his untimely death in 2008. Sam Worthington stated that, like Eric Bana, he has never been approached for the role of Mad Max, despite widespread rumors that circulated the web following the film’s announcement. James Frecheville auditioned for a part.