Mad Max: Fury Road sees the return of the series where Max (Tom Hardy) a lone warrior traipses across a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Max is ambushed by angry road warriors and taken prisoner in a kingdom ruled by a warlord called Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). His Citadel is in ruins, resources are scarce and what there is he keeps mostly for himself and his cronies. His kingdom is run by sickly inbreds who are barely surviving and work around the clock to keep the war lord content.
Meanwhile driving a war rig is Furiosa (Charlize Theron). She and her convoy are on their way to the Gas Town. Furiosa decides to take a detour because hiding in her tank are the Five Wives, prisoners of Immortan who has kept the young girls prisoners in order to breed a healthy heir. His other two sons Rictus Eretus (Nathan Jones) and Corpus Colossus (Quentin Kenihan) are riddled with disease and not in any fit state to take over. Immortan’s wives provide a gentle contrast to the rest of the tribe. They’re virginal, pure and faerie-like, the opposite of the brute of a man who’s been copulating with them. The thought is enough to make you hurl.
When Immortan learns of Furiosia’s betrayal he’s understandably vexed. To psyche up his war boys he promises them paradise and eternal immortality, sound familiar? Nux (Nicholas Hoult) one of the war boys heads to the blood bank and takes Max as his doner. He masks and attaches him to his vehicle, pumping Max’s blood into his veins while driving and getting high off the adrenaline.
The ensuing chase is thrilling. Insane characters balance on vertical poles as their vehicles charge through the desert. A rock artist by the name of Coma-Doof Warrior (iOTA) joins the stampede and spurs on the road warriors with music. His infectious electric guitar teamed with tribal drummers fuels their battle lust. It’s a roaring parade of flesh, blood and metal.
The chaotic convoy is gaining on Furiosa who is eager to get to her destination, the sanctuary of the Green Place. Max is strapped to Nux’s tank but gets close enough to see Furiosa’s dilemma.
Immortan’s war boys are defiant, crawling and pillaging everything in their tracks. They are almost upon Furiosa when a voyage into a tsunami of a sand storm churns everyone and everything on the road. After the storm the calm reveals the only survivors, Furiosa, the wives and Max. They reluctantly make an alliance.
This high octane chase is just the beginning of the film. 120 minutes of relentless action the result of six months of non-stop filming according to Charlize Theron. Mad Max: Fury Road is a road trip of raging violence where stopping would actually be impossible. A fight to the death immersed in anarchy, driven by a thirst for freedom and vengeance.
It’s an allegory for extremism, justice and fighting for what you believe in no matter which side you are on. The depiction of a society gone awry is disturbing and imaginative from the blood bank that is Max to the women hooked up to breast pumps.
Charlize Theron plays Furiosa with vitality and passion, a woman indifferent to beauty and sex. There aren’t any sex scenes in this movie or if there are I cannot remember them. Furiosa is a Joan of the Ark, the protagonist every girl should aspire to be. She doesn’t fall in love with Max and Max doesn’t fall in love with her. Yet they salvage a relationship based on respect and a desire for justice.
Some might say that Max doesn’t have a huge part in the movie but Tom Hardy still manages to pull off a steely hero figure. He’s a character who will always walk alone at the end of the sun-scorched day, no strings attached. Even though he appears to be a loner, unapproachable, he also believes in fairness and cannot pass by and let injustice prevail. That trait hasn’t changed from when Mel Gibson portrayed him in earlier movies.
Although the post-apocalyptic fashion theme is more tribal warrior than bondage, as seen in the previous movies, I was looking forward to a camp masquerade of bottomless pants and leather harnesses. It’s not to say that this film doesn’t deliver on that score, there is still some fetishism along the way, but I for one would have welcomed more.
Mad Max: Fury Road is an adventure that reminds me of the films I grew up with; The Running Man, ET, Total Recall and Indiana Jones. It resurrects something that is missing in action-adventure films today where characters are often more VFX than human. Although there is an abundance of VFX this film is driven by character and a humanity that shines through a dark and dystopian world where it casts a glimmer of much needed light.