After a two decade break in the series, madcap Australian director George Miller has revisited the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max with new instalment ‘Fury Road’. Now with a bigger budget to throw at the project, his vision has the scope to reach new heights, and on this occasion Tom Hardy takes the titular role of Max Rockatansky, following in the footsteps of Mel Gibson. The story of survival takes place on desert wasteland in the aftermath of nuclear war, and ex-police officer Max is captured by a gang known as the War Boys, led by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), and is used primarily as universal blood donor. When Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) rebels against the regime, driving her tanker truck off-route with five of Joe’s hand-picked wives, a chase ensues to retrieve them, and sick War Boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult) also heads out in hot pursuit of the escapees, taking Max along for the ride as his own personal human blood bag.
Structurally, the plot of Fury Road is essentially one long chase sequence, and the pace is consistently exhilarating. The infrequent breaks in the tempo allow for the minimalistic script to come into play, with conversations dispersed sparingly across the intense desert drive. Because of the lack of dialogue, little to no time is taken to offer any sort of detailed context, apart from a brief spiel in the opening scene, so the viewer really has no option but to strap in and enjoy the film for what it is, and as an immersive cinematic experience, it is unparalleled in terms of the action and special effects. Hardy and Theron are equally sublime in what they do with their performances, both oozing screen presence and heroic prowess. Hoult is also impressive in an unrecognisable turn, his character arguably being one of the more complex in the film, with an ever swaying moral compass and but an immoveable aspiration to be taken to Valhalla.
Not failing to live up to what the title suggests, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is as mad as road movies come, and Miller’s creativity and vivid imagination as a filmmaker comes to the forefront, exploding onto the big screen with vim, vigour and vibrancy. In keeping with the key themes and style of the previous versions in the late seventies and early eighties, this is not so much a reimagining of the franchise but a reawakening, and the Road Warrior is rejuvenated for the 21st century and giving Tom Hardy another string to his acting bow going stark raving Max as a modern-day action hero, albeit one that exists in a dystopian land.