In 1979 the first Mad Max film rocketed onto our screens. An Australian grindhouse cult classic set in a dystopian future where lawlessness prevailed over the attempts of the road warriors to keep the peace. Next was Mad Max 2 in 1981 where the world has moved on from social collapse to a full on post nuclear apocalypse wasteland, and then Beyond the ThunderDome in '85 continued Max’s story. Twenty years later and with Tom Hardy as Max we get the next instalment of Max’s adventures.
Max is captured by a desert culture run by a warlord known as Imortan Joe. Joe has access to a reservoir of water which he uses to control the local people. The majority of the population are dying of radiation exposure due to the historical nuclear war, and Joe hopes to breed a healthy legacy with a large harem of girls he has imprisoned. One of his warlords Imperator Fury (Thoron) recuses some of Joe's “brides” and escapes into the wasteland. Joe, desperate to have his property back sends out his army of ‘war-boys’ packed into a high octane vehicles. Nux (Holt) is a sickly war Boy and is using Max’s using Max as a living blood bag, to keep himself alive. Not wanting to be left out of the bloody flaming glory that awaits, Nux straps Max to the front of his car and joins the war boys in trying to stop Furiosa, and bring Joe back his brides. After losing the main war band in a massive desert storm. Max escapes Nux and joins up with Furiousa.
Ensue a visual assault full of hijinks
At first glance the plot of Fury road appears to be very similar to Mad Max 2. While both films centred around a war band of post-apocalyptic raiders chasing Max as he tries to escape in a truck through the desert, the films are really quite different. While Mad Max 2 (or the road warrior in some countries) was a straight forward narrative, Fury Road has a subtext. Furiosa’ s liberation of Joe’s brides and eventual redemption reflects how women can escape abuse and take control of their own lives. Over the course of the film the brides have escaped their fate as chattels for the purpose of breeding to become free. I can see how this film is empowering to women, especially any that have been the target of abuse, bullies or other scumbags.
However while Fury Road has that subtext it is also a wild and wonder assault on the senses. Writer and Director George Miller has created a highly stylised film full of non stop action. In a way it is every film Michael Bay has wanted to make, but can't because he has too many hang ups and tries too hard. Mad Max Fury Road is utterly relentless in it's pace and story. I think the best analogy is if Jack Black made a live action version of wacky racers set in the world of his game Brutal Legend!
I must admit I was horrified when I first heard about this film. But that was when I thought this was a terrible remake. It isn't. It is the same writer and director that brought you Max, and he is continuing Max's adventures in the best possible way. Tom Hardy is a great Max, and he has signed up for more movies. Fury Road will stun you, and possible make you wonder if you had a good time, or you just got carjacked.
I say both!