Director George Miller is still the same old genius behind the “Mad Max” film franchise, as his latest film “Mad Max: Fury Road” remains a radically visionary work. Contrary to popular belief, this movie, which is the 4th installment of the franchise, is neither a “remake” nor a “prequel”. It is however, a sequel that helped relaunch the post-apocalyptic world first envisioned by Miller, with English actor Tom Hardy taking up the lead role previously played by Mel Gibson.
Since the story takes place 30 years after the events of 1985’s “Thunderdome”, moviegoers may have trouble understanding the opening scene of “Fury Road”. Hardy is introduced as Gibson’s character “Mad” Max Rockatansky, a former cop who wanders alone in a deserted wasteland after his family was murdered by a mohawked gang.
In a world where humanity is broken, Max himself is in a way, broken too. Even though he has stronger survival instincts than everyone else who have gone mad fighting for the necessities of life, his traumatic past indicates that there is still a hint of madness in him. The flashes of phantoms from his past also caused him to be captured by a troupe of zombie-like road warriors, known as the “War Boys”. These pale-looking road warriors work for Immortan Joe (played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, the villain Toecutter in the original “Mad Max”), an evil platinum-haired tyrant who talks through his menancing-looking oxygen tube.
Women are being locked up in Joe’s citadel to breed his devoted ghoulish followers and feed the elite with mother’s milk while men like Max are being used for blood transfusion by the “War Boys”. While all these are being introduced, Imperator Furiosa (played by Charlize Theron), who is Joe’s lieutenant with a mechanical arm, is being sent off to retrieve the latest shipment of gasoline from the Gasoline City.
Fuel was what caused the mayhem to ensue in the original movies. However, the brutal warfare begins in “Fury Road” because Furiosa attempts to escape with a heavily armoured tanker dubbed the War Rig and his beautiful wives aka the “Five Wives” (played by Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). What happens next is a series of intense high-speed car chases on the road, as Joe unleashes his army of War Boys to capture Furiosa and bring his wives back.
In a world where a permanent state of crisis exists, the line between men and women is obviously blurred.
Max may be the pivotal character of the movie, but he emerges as someone who is merely being caught up in the high-octane warfare as one of the War Boys, “Nux” (played by Nicholas Hoult), used him as a mobile blood bank. He refuses to be involved but in order to survive, he is forced to team up with Furiosa and the Five Wives while remaining an enigmatic figure.
Though women are enslaved as breeding and milking chattels, Furiosa and the wives came off as a band of strong-willed women who hold high hopes to escape to a legendary world of greenery. In the movie, Theron definitely delivered a fantastic performance as a heroine who can fight just as good, if not better than Max. It reminded me of how incredible she was in 2003’s “Monster”.
That’s not to say that Hardy isn’t a great actor because he is surprisingly fitting for the role. Many cast doubts on the movie when Hardy was announced to be the new Max, but the actor proved them wrong by channeling a certain kind of raw energy.
He doesn’t talk a lot in the movie, but neither do the rest of the cast. “Fury Road” is, after all, a movie that focuses on the death-defying car stunts and the dust-caked showdown. His role is often overshadowed by Theron’s Furiosa, but there were definitely some vital moments for him to shine.
All thanks to his strong survival instincts, his tentative alliance with Furiosa deepens whenever Immortan Joe and his gang of bleach-skinned followers get close to them.
For a film that spent around 25 years in development hell, “Mad Max: Fury Road” outdone itself by providing us with 2 hours long of pure action and madness. Some may describe it as “Furious 7” in the post-apocalyptic future, but Miller’s movie features more stunning visuals and mind-boggling action scenes.
The plot is very thin, but at least it doesn’t succumb to the temptation of becoming a movie overloaded with sub-plots. From a heavy-metal band that served as the war music for Joe to the sweet romance that blossoms between Nux and one of Joe’s wives, Miller was smart to keep them very brief but memorable.
“Fury Road” is unafraid to bring a great deal of messages and fun throughout the movie.
Written and directed by Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road” is scheduled for release on 13th May 2015.