We’re not even Furyous with this one.
The original Mad Max films are some of the best post-apocalyptic action films ever made, and have paved the way for new directors and writers to put their own spin on the genre. And whilst the third Mad Max film (Beyond Thunderdome) borders on infamy, the series as a whole is fairly solid. With the original director, George Miller, coming back for this sequel, our expectations were high. It’s also worth noting that this film isn’t a prequel or a reboot, it’s just another chapter in the Mad Max story.
The first look at this post-apocalyptic Madness looks like a stereotypical action film. Vicious, violent and plenty of testosterone fuelled car chases. In fact, the whole feature is essentially a car chase, but in a good way. It balances keeping the story moving, whilst developing the characters and giving the audience an insight into this insane world they live in. Although just be warned, if you’re not a fan of huge action sequences, there’s a chance this film *might* not be for you. It’s constantly moving, constantly trying to keep on the road. It’s also very loud and in your face. After the initial twenty minutes of establishing the main characters and setting up the film, it takes a turn and we see the real storyline coming into it’s own.
The storyline doesn’t actually revolve around Max, he just happens to be present. Miller’s story is mainly about Charlize Theron’s character, Imperator Furiosa. She’s freeing sex-slaves of a disgustingly radiated dictator, Immortan Joe, who hoardes water in an attempt to keep some of the population under his power. The so-called “Wives” are kept so that Immortan Joe can produce more offspring. Lovely. Theron smuggles them out so that they can live in safety at “The Green Place”, a place Furiosa came from. So in short, one of the most male centric-sounding films of the year is surprisingly feminist; women helping women in a world dominated by oppressive males who want to kill everything.
Tom Hardy’s performance of the character made famous by Mel Gibson is quite progressive, as it shows a man visibly affected by everything that he’s seen and dealt with previously. And whilst he doesn’t have much dialogue, in this case actions speak louder than words. His teaming up with Furiosa shows the character wanting to help others whilst still trying to survive. Nicholas Hoult seems to be expanding his cinematic horizon after X-Men, and this is a fairly good role to break into. As one of the Immortan’s Warboys who becomes sympathetic to the plight of the women, he shows how well he can deal with duality. If the film wasn’t titled Mad Max it could’ve quite easily been carried by Charlize Theron, that’s how strong her performance is.
What was highly surprising, was that there was no romantic sub-plot between the lead characters, and that Furiosa wasn’t used as some kind of emotional redemption for Max. This is an absolute breath of fresh air for a mainstream action film. It just goes to show that it’s possible for a three-dimensional character that happens to be a woman can go throughout a film without being a potential love interest. Overall, this film has everything. Fantastically practical action sequences and chases, an original story, and extremely bad-ass characters. The Director, George Miller, has said he’s got two more Mad Max stories he wants to tell, and it’s rumoured that Tom Hardy has already signed on. If that’s the case then we’re extremely interested as to what’s next for this franchise of Maximum thrills.