Chances are if you are Australian then you will know who and what Mad Max is – at the very least most Australian’s know it’s the film that made Mel Gibson a household name – before The Lethal Weapon hit screens. Back in 1980 there was this film set in a post-apocalyptic world, where the inhabitants to a large extent had gone mad scrounging for precious commodities such as fuel and water to survive.
Not much has changed in the premise for Mad Max: Fury Road, except that this time we are given not only Max in the form of broody Tom Hardy but a powerful female lead character Imperator Furiosa played by the formidable Charlize Theron. In fact I would argue that this film belongs entirely to Furiosa and not Max. Max is almost ancillary to the main story as he enters unwittingly into the plot of Furiosa to save the many beautiful wives of the hideous Immortan Joe, a vile beast of a man who violently sets out to reclaim his “property”.
It’s an interesting premise to a story made famous by a strong male character to have him equal to a women on screen. A choice that director George Miller (I am sure) was acutely aware of when he chose to focus his story on the plight of Furiosa and the queens. Max is merely playing an unwitting participant at first, only to find some of his compassion and a part of himself later in the film.
The brainchild of Miller, his reboot of the cult film is stylish yet maintains that same grit and mayhem that the original introduced us to over 25 years ago. This is a ‘hang on to the edge of your seat’ thrill ride from the opening frames to the last.
In a film where Miller doesn’t hold back any punches and he doesn’t discriminate on gender, it needs to be seen to be believed. Hardy is stoic as Max and has some of the most outrageous scenes in the film when hoisted on the bonnet of one War Boy’s killer car in the middle of a high octane chase/war scene – it’s mad!
Max seeks his sanity as he is thrust into this crazy scenario recognising that in this instance it won’t pay to ‘go it alone’, relinquishing to the assistance of Furiosa on at least one occasion. Meanwhile Furiosa searches for redemption and together these two protagonists hurl the viewer into their world of pain and suffering where both discover more about themselves as a team than they ever would have apart.