Max is back.
After his last film outing in the 1985 misfire ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’, we see the return of Max Rockatansky. This time however, it is Tom Hardy taking on the title role rather than Mel Gibson who had played him in the three previous films, who had seen the series transition from low budget (approx A$350k) original film (Mad Max – 1979) to the Thunderdome budget ($10 million).
In ‘Fury Road’, we again find Max in a post apocalyptic desert setting where gasoline and water prized commodities, and human life is regarded as little in their acquisition. Max is taken prisoner by the War Boys – led by Immortal Joe – who soon find themselves chasing Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) who has escaped from the clutches of Joe, with his sex slaves known as the ‘Five Wives’.
Max teams up with Furiosa to help them flee and begin an adventure as they seek the ‘Green Place’, her place of birth. The output here is a hugely enjoyable rip-roaring, yet stylish, action movie with gigantic action sequences and an extremely impressive performance by Theron.
Firstly, one of the things I found most interesting going into this film was that it, in the current era of reboots and remakes, was still helmed by the original director (and writer) of all three previous Mad Max films – George Miller. Try and think of a reboot that has happened anywhere near 30 years after the most recent film and its very unlikely to still have the same director. Then throw in the fact that this film cost approx $150 million, and that Miller in the last 10 years has directed Happy Feet 1 and 2, and Babe : Pig in the City, this was clearly (other than the character) routine work for the Australian director.
But Miller has delivered, and delivered big. There are action sequences in the film (to be fair a pretty large percentage of the film is action sequences) that are mind blowing and the Art and Costume departments have clearly had a field day. Its looks incredible. I should also mention the score here, that comfortably moves between heavy electric guitar, to beating drums to moments of classical music – all entirely fitting in with the film.
In relation to performances, Hardy succeeds in the role of Max, a man haunted by the memory of his wife and child and pushed to the edge of insanity by his experiences. His best moments are the small nuances around very brief dialogue that reminds us of his huge abilities as a character actor.
That all said, it’s Theron that is the star of this film. She’s far more than a standard love interest / female assistant in this movie, she is the heart of the story and the real arc in the film. For me, the one armed Furiosa is one of the greatest female action characters ever.
Its a huge film and no unsurprisingly in our current climate of the ‘franchise’ serves as the first of a rumoured trilogy of Hardy as Max.
Its a fantastic film and stands out in the sea of reboots at this time.
Mad Max : Fury Road is out to rent and purchase now.