Director: George Miller Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron & Nicholas Hoult 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 Rating: 15 Run time: 120 minutes Release date: 14 May (UK)
In a world dedicated to superheroes and franchises that demand instant returns, it’s refreshing for a film that’s been 30 years in the making to feel so revitalised by its time away. Mad Max: Fury Road arrives like a kick in the teeth to modern blockbusters and their reliance on CGI and selling the most merchandise, in favour non-stop action and minimalist storytelling. In short, Mad Max is cinematic anarchy at its brutal best.
After a short re-introduction to the world of Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), we are thrust into the chaotic wasteland of a future where oil and water are a premium and violent gangs roam the wilderness. Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) rules the locals with an iron-fist and keeps his people at bay by limiting their water supply and using his War Boys as dedicated muscle who will do anything for their leader, in the hope of sacrificing themselves for a one way trip to Valhalla.
Meanwhile Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) has hidden Joe’s five wives on her war rig, in order to transport them to safer fields. Soon realising what Furiosa has done, Joe summons the War Boys, along with the local Gas Town and Bullet Farm to bring back his war rig and the wives he wishes to impregnate. All the while, Max has been set up as a blood donor for a sick War Boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult) and is unwillingly thrust into the ensuing battle.
The next two hours are one long chase film, with our protagonists forming unlikely allegiances in the hope of surviving. Furiosa, Max and Nux all have differing aims, but are brought together through circumstance and find themselves needing each other despite their differing views on the world and what is left of it.
Despite being over 30 years old, Mad Max feels as fresh now as it did back in 1979. It’s like a punk rock band returning for one last hurrah and making their best album yet. Director George Miller has returned to the franchise after directing the likes of Babe: Pig in the City and two Happy Feet films. It’s hardly work that shouts “visionary” at you, but returning to the desolate world of Max has reignited Miller and took him back to his guerrilla filmmaking roots.
Except this time, he has returned with a Hollywood mega budget and two of the industry’s best actors in tow. The result is two hours of car chases, explosions and death defying stunt work. Mad Max: Fury Road is almost the anti-blockbuster. There’s no superheroes, it doesn’t want to sell toys and isn’t restricted by insisting you’ve seen six other films to understand what’s going on here.
In every way, Fury Road is a stimulating experience. It’s like a rollercoaster ride that doesn’t let up, and leaves you wanting more. The action is as big as anything else you will see this year, and the fact that most of it was done for real adds to its impact. The action drives the story, even to the point where many scenes exist without dialogue. But that goes back to the great casting here, Theron and Hardy can do so much without ever saying anything, that a simple look or a grunt says more than a page worth of dialogue could.
With little to no exposition and a relentless pace, Fury Road is a thing of beauty. Never once stopping for breath, Miller has created one of the most entertaining films of the year. That not only caters to action junkies, but one that also has a thing or two to say about society and how men seek to destroy the world, while women will likely save it, and one that will surely be celebrated as a masterpiece in action cinema for years to come.
In summary: Mad Max: Fury Road is an uncompromising action film that never lets up, providing what will likely be one of the most entertaining films of the year.