MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Starring Tom Hardy,
Directed by George Miller
Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
Runtime 120 mins.
Thirty years after Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, writer/director George Miller brings a slam-bang post-apocalyptic vision to the screen every bit as powerful as his cult sci-fi classic The Road Warrior.
In a dark and brutal future, vestiges of humanity tear around the desert in wicked cars. A warlord of sorts called Immortan Joe (Keays-Byrne), who controls the water, leads his fanatical followers in a high-speed chase across a barren world to retrieve a group of women he has held enslaved. Their liberator, Furiosa (Theron), with the help of an escaped captive of Immortan Joe named Max (Hardy), tries to escape to the green land she recalls from her youth.
Of the three entries in what used to be a trilogy (Mad Max was released in 1979) the 1981 sequel, The Road Warrior, stands out as the best. Well aware of this, Miller takes everything that worked before and creates a high-octane picture with motion unlike any other. The entire film is one great chase, studded with nonstop action.
Set aside vague skepticism of anyone but Mel Gibson in the role of Mad Max. As the one-time cop reduced to a desperate, haunted loner, Tom Hardy does the character more than justice. Similarly, Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is as gritty and compelling as Max.
One of the strengths of the franchise in its original as well as rebooted form is the nasty gallows humor of this feral world. Talk about your side-splitters, remember the kid in The Road Warrior with the sharpened boomerang and the guy who tries to grab it? Good times. When hooting dregs vying bloodlust straddle hoods of speeding cars and open fire, we get a charge out of the extreme results, especially when we see bad things happen to the bad guys.
Fighting to the death for a little bit of gasoline having already been done, this time the focus is on protecting several women. Mindless minions of Immortan Joe, white males all, gleefully sacrifice their lives, diving from one careening vehicle to another like jacked-up zombies. The resultant feast of stylized action stays with the viewer long after the film has stopped.
Stewart Kirby writes for