Mad Max : Fury Road (2015)

Director : George Miller

Writers : George Miller, Brendan McCarthy & Nick Lathouris

It must be weird playing second banana in a movie where your character’s name is in the title. To make matters worse, Tom Hardy as Max, is muzzled and strapped to the front of a car and is more of a victim than a traditional action hero.  By all reports he wasn’t entirely happy with the production, and only understood what Director George Miller was up to when he saw the finished version.

What he saw was an unrelenting action movie with an unerring sense of speed and purpose, barrelling forward with only brief pauses to gather yourself and your thoughts. He saw the creation of a genuine action hero in the one-armed, truck driving, harem freeing Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and he saw a storyline that couldn’t be more linear if it was written with a set square.

Max is an iconic character whose madness came from a combination of his inability to save his wife and child and whatever personal psychology that Mel Gibson brought to the role. Tom Hardy arrives with no backstory at all, relying on our presumed knowledge of the original trilogy. This reboot feels less like a reinvention of Max and more of a valediction of George Miller the Director. While Tarantino talks often of quitting before he loses his virility in the Directors chair, Fury Road is a seventy year old man showing the world that he can make the best action movie of the year and he doesn’t need a blue pill or a blue screen to do it.

There is some CGI though. Mr Miller admits to ten percent of the stunts being done on computer, but the remaining ninety percent are real life car accidents. It’s a miracle that no stuntmen were killed. There were things happening that should only exist in Jackass outtakes. Cirque du Soleil stunts normally happen on stage, not on top of speeding motor vehicles.

In this film water is the currency, if you have it you live, if you don’t you die and whoever has the ability to withhold it has the power. The boss is Immortan Joe, played by Hugh Keays-Byrne. In the original Mad Max he played big baddie Toecutter with an androgynous menace but as Joe his power is more overt. He is a boil covered beast demanding devotion from his suicidal War Boys who clamour for his attention.

Fury Road is the ultimate chase movie. A virtuous group running from their captors, the endpoint hoped for rather than known, but that doesn't stop them roaring towards it. While the dialogue is sparse, the visual s are rich. Cool cars, armoured trucks and flame throwing guitarists tear up the road and fill the screen. It's a trip down memory lane that leaves you looking forward to the next instalment.

A Must See