Manic is the best word to describe the opening scenes of Mad Max: Fury Road. The film opens with Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) standing on top of a sand dune beside his car staring off into the sand filled wasteland. He gives a bit of history remaking that he was a cop in the past and constantly hears and sees the loved ones that he couldn't save in the new dyspotic world. His only instinct is survival. Then right on cue he's captured and taken to the Citadel a gigantic chunk of rock ruled by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays- Byrne) Who is worshipped like a god by the rabble that stand at the base of the mountain waiting for Joe to turn on the taps for a brief moment to provide a few mouthfuls of fresh water dubbed Aqua Cola. Joe also has 5 wives that he breeds and an army of war boys to do his bidding. All hoping for a glance from Joe, their name to be called or to driver one of the welded together Franken vehicles, die in honour and head shiny and chrome into Valhalla to be born again.
Max enters this world to be used as a blood bank for sick war boys once the hive discover that he is a universal donor. After a failed escape which is the first of the films very satisfying series of action sequences he is hauled out into the field to supply plasma to Nux (Nicholas Hoult) a recovering War boy driver who does not want to give up his steering wheel and miss the pursuit of Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) who has gone rogue kidnapped the wives with the aim to bring them to freedom and safety away from Joe.
Director George Miller slips easily back into the world that he created and presented in three times before prior starting with 1979's Mad Max, the consensus best of the series 1981's The Road Warrior and 1985's Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. It's a rare feat but Miller has outdone the prior three films with the fourth outing. Visual stimulation is everywhere as Max and Furiosa are thrown together with the wives and chased along Fury Road from the Citadel east to the Salt fields and back. The chasers are armed with a vehicle full of rhythmic drummers. A jumpy double axe guitarist cranking out power chords with flames flying out of the end of his weapon. Plus pole acrobats that bend towards and away from Furiosa's War Rig snatching at the wives or dropping projectiles with every pass.
Tom Hardy brings a different feel to the Mad Max character. He is a man of very few words and uses his eyes as his main tool of communication when he does not have a gun barrel to emphasis his gestures. Max is always on the look out for his best option to survive. Anyone can be friend or foe depending on the current predictament. Charlize Theron is every bit's Max's equal if not more integral to the film as Furiosa. She is an expert shot as demonstrated in a desperate exchange with a pursuer. When the group are down to their last shot Max hands the gun to Furiosa to take it. She is willing to make deals to help with the escape but is always weary of her partners. It's very clear when Furosia is ready for serious action as she spreads black grease paint across her forehead and exercises her mechanical left hand. The other standout character is Nicholas Hoult as Nux. First loyal to a fault to Immortan Joe, Nux switches sides after a slight from Joe and comforting talk from one of the wives. He becomes helpful to the rebels using his driving skills. He is fearless in battle aided by his steadfast belief that if he dies in battle he will go to Valhalla to be born again and return. He is the prototypical war boy teetering towards death, spraying silver spray pain over is lips and mouth in battle to look shiny and chrome.
George Miller has crafted an excellent action film featuring a simple and symmetrical plot. The production is wall to wall action with just the right amount of a dialogue driven moments mixed in. Mad Max: Fury Road is the epitome of a summer block buster. It is a film that I can highly recommend.
**** Out of 4
Mad Max : Fury Road | George Miller | Australia / U.S.A. | 2015 | 120 Minutes.
Tags: Post Apocalypse, Wasteland, Captured, Breeding, Revenge, Welded, Water, Gasoline, Rock, Sand, Green Place, Hope.