Ever seen something so crazy, so ridiculous, so chaotic and off the wall that you can’t help, but love it? That’s George Miller’s Mad Max series in a nut shell. First arriving in 1975, with Mel Gibson in the lead role, these films set the standard for post-apocalyptic chaos. Chances are, you’re more familiar with the Mad Max series than you think (Remember 2Pac and Dr. Dre’s “California Love” video). Now, 30 years after the last installment, Miller returns to bring us another peak into the world of ruined Australia.
Tom Hardy steps into the lead role as Max, a road warrior now haunted by the death of a loved one he couldn’t save. Hardy picks up well where Mel Gibson left off playing the grizzled loner. This time, the hero gets entangled in a woman’s plot to help a tyrant’s mistresses across the dessert to safety. What ensues is the longest car chase and subsequent action sequence I’ve ever seen, but one filled with interesting characters and jaw dropping practical effects.
You don’t need to be well versed in the world of Mad Max to find this film fun. All you need to know about the set up is explained in the first few minutes. But if you aren’t quite ready for the sheer craziness of it all, Mad Max: Fury Road can be a bit overwhelming. Fast cars, explosion after explosion, and kill after kill have this film making Furious 7 look like child’s play. But it isn’t all action and weirdness.
Solid characters bring a certain softness to the tone that is a pleasant surprise. Nicholas Hoult is wonderful as Nux, a minion “War Boy” who will do anything to satisfy the film’s brooding villain (Hugh Keays-Byrne) even if it means dying. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Zoe Cravitz are smart and humble as two of the aforementioned wives. Charlize Theron, however, is perhaps the biggest draw. The movie may be called Mad Max, but it’s her character Furiosa who is the heart and soul of the film. She is the strong, badass female lead that too many action films fail to bring to the forefront.
Mad Max: Fury Road isn’t breaking any film barriers like the original. But with high octane action sequences that’ll keep you far from boredom, coupled with a strong soundtrack, the film feels like a refreshing take on an old classic. While the chaotic nature may be off-putting for some, most will fine this film arguably the most exhilarating of the year thus far.
FINAL GRADE: A-