STARRING: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, Josh Helman, Nathan Jones and Hugh Keays-Byrne
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.
Mad Max returns to the big screen and straight away we’re placed into Max being chased down by The War Boys and then taken captive by the pale-skinned men to be used as a universal blood donor for them. The War Boys however are nothing more than brainwashed minions however serving Immortan Joe, ruler of The Citadel, controlling the water supply there, farming women for breast milk and keeping several wives to bear his children. Imperator Furiosa, Joe’s trusted lieutenant, is sent out on a routine supply run on a huge armoured rig…then Joe soon learns when Furiosa takens a sudden detour that his wives have been smuggled in the rig, sending out his entire army to recover them and kill Furiosa, which is also where Mad gets caught up in, thanks to a follower of Immortan Joe known as Nux.
Well that was an adrenaline fuelled experience I jut witnessed (if you’ve seen it, you would have seen what I did there). Now I’ve been a fan of the Mad Max films, particularly The Road Warrior one, so in terms of the biased craving for this instalment to meet my satisfaction, consider me spoiled. It’s been roughly thirty years after we went Beyond Thunderdome and since then George Miller has been scheming into what to add creatively and carnage wise on a scale of a major budget increase (of the $100m kind) and here Miller wants us to simply embrace the madness in all its glory.
The plot is overly simplistic: Furiosa is getting the women out of Joe’s clutches to sanctuary, Max is unfortunately caught in this struggle and decides to help out Furiosa get from A to B. Miller cranks everything you would’ve witnessed from the original Mad Max films, the chase scene, the destruction, the over-the-top performances of the past brought back to life and rodded up to full effect. He gives us glimpses into the tribal culture of The War Boys, men that have become brainwashed pale zombies, buying into Joe’s empty promises of Valhalla awaiting them, which we get from the viewpoint of one particular War Boy called Nux. We see certain traits from them in battle, such the electric guitar flamethrower to silver spray-paint in the mouth, never explained to the viewer but allowing them to make their own conclusions.
The dialogue and slowed down scenes are very few and far between as the action chases really take up 80% of the films runtime (two hours) and even then you can kind of tell that the plot is a bit lightweight in that regard, especially when the dialogue is so short. I absolutely loved the action sequences that took place, the cinematography involved for a few of the slower moments in the film as well as the Twisted Metal mayhem that ensues. With Max himself suffering some serve PTSD, he takes a supporting role (more or less) in terms of character development as really the lead here is infact Furiosa and she is an absolute badass. Tom Hardy’s performance is not to shadow that of his original successor Mel Gibson, but to do his own thing, going more growls and grunts than being talkative. No question he’s good in the role for the film, but for the character we shall have to wait and see in the sequels (if the film makes bank). Charlize Theron’s performance however is going to be the stuff of classic heroines down the line as she’s the real heart of the film and. being more fleshed out than Max, giving Theron a range to bring to the character that’ll be looked back upon being iconic in a decades time. Another performance in the film that almost steal the film for me was Nicholas Hoult as Nux, the War Boy that eventually showed us that they actually are human and have heart. The supporting cast do well, even Hugh Keays-Byrne returning to the Mad world (played Toecutter in the first film) but isn’t as involved as I hoped he would and Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee and Courtney Eaton and well rounded characters with different traits as the ‘wives’.
The action sequences are outstanding, Theron’s performance as Furiosa will be seen as iconic not only in the action genre, but in how female characters can be this good and well developed in future and that’s across the supporting cast also. Pity the plot/script is pretty lightweight but still it’s an entertaining film that just falls behind Road Warrior in terms of the Mad Max films. 8/10