After a thirty-year hiatus Mad Max is back. This time however the titular Road Warrior (Aarrrggghhhhhhhh… What a Rush) is played by English actor Tom Hardy. Mel Gibson is still in the doghouse, so he doesn’t even get to make a cameo appearance in Fury Road. Perhaps I am being too nice but don’t you think sufficient time has passed, since Mel’s much-publicised misdemeanours, that we should give him a second chance? Most of us have done foolish things under the influence of alcohol after all. Even I have been known to perform gymnastics, on the concrete pavement, after one too many ciders!
War never changes. That’s what I thought when Fury Road started, because the movie is set in a post apocalyptic Earth reminiscent to the world depicted in the Fallout games. During the opening scene Max is captured by a band of War Boys and turned into an involuntary blood bank. A tyrannical cultist named Immortan Joe leads the group responsible for Max’s abduction. He’s a nasty chap that appears to have borrowed Hardy’s respirator from the last Batman movie. After an unspecified amount of time Max is able to escape from the War Boys’ clutches and joins forces with a badass chick named Furiosa, who has absconded from Joe’s citadel – taking his harem of wives in the process.
Joe is naturally miffed that the ladies, who are carrying his unborn children, have been taken so he gives chase. Gorgeous women are a precious commodity he can ill afford to lose – especially when you consider that most of the populace in Mad Max are either deformed, toothless, missing limbs or all of the above. What follows is a 120-minute vehicular pursuit between Max/Furiosa and Joe’s convoy of follicly challenged henchmen. There isn’t much plot in Fury Road, but to compensate for the lack of narrative you get copious amounts of blood splatter instead. No one should be surprised by the visceral content given that George Miller directed the movie. His previous writing credits include video nasties such as Babe and Happy Feet.
My rating for Mad Max: Fury Road is a three out of five. In retrospect I think I went into the movie with overly high expectations, which had been inflated by the film’s bevy of Oscar nominations and positive reviews. The movie is a solid action flick, but not the exceptional tour de force some people had led me to believe. Due to the script’s minimal use of dialogue I found getting attached to any of the characters a difficult task. The story is also disappointing. A simple premise followed by a chain of action set pieces. On the plus side the gunfights, car chases and fisticuffs were all exciting to watch. Said sequences are all the more impressive when you consider that they were supposedly recorded using practical effects and little CG.
Feminists may wonder why Max Rockatansky gets top billing in this movie. Make no mistake; this is Furiosa’s adventure with Max tagging along for the ride. Charlize Theron handled the physical demands of the role very well and was very much Hardy’s equal in terms of ass kicking. When it comes to strong females, who can pull off a buzz cut and dish out pain, Furiosa is right up there with the likes of Ellen Ripley and Britney Spears. Mad Max: Fury Road may not have wowed me, like it did for some people, but the action alone made it a worthwhile two hours spent. I wouldn’t be averse to checking out another Max sequel. Hopefully we won’t have to wait three decades for the next instalment.