The first film in George Miller’s violent post-apocalyptic action franchise in thirty years sees Tom Hardy take over the role which made Mel Gibson famous.
The first five minutes set the story: Max has been captured by the War Boys gang lead by Immortan Joe (Keays-Byrne); mounts a doomed escape and is branded and designated as a blood donor for the ill War Boy driver Nux (Nicholas Hoult; X-Men: Days of Future Past). These scenes are played back in a slightly increased frame-rate making them like an ultra-violent Benny Hill sketch.
Immortan Joe’s trusted ally Imperator Furiosa (Theron) sets off in a war-rig on a mission to collect gasoline; but has double-crossed Joe: she’s actually smuggling his ‘wives’ (women selected specially for breeding) to safety. Joe calls on a mini-army to give chase, including Nux and his new blood donor, and what follows is a long, mad, frantic chase across the desert wasteland.
The choreography of the action scenes is incredible – the levels of creativity and imagination of writers George Miller, Doug Mitchell and P.J Voeten and their choreographers in these terms is insane – and actually to the detriment of the film at times as it becomes impossible to keep track of which character is where in the fast-moving convoy of carnage. When coupled with the visuals of searing, baking oranges for day and moody navy-blues and blacks for night; Mad Max: Fury Road is a furious feast for the eyes.
It’s anchored by two good performances from Tom Hardy (barely speaking, doing a milder, actually understandable version of his Bane voice) and especially Charlize Theron. The rest of the cast are a mixed bag, but unsurprisingly Hoult stands out from the pack.
Once the allegiances between Max, Furiosa and Nux are played out and sides are settled, the story could be written in one line and the dialogue could barely have taken much longer than that to write. Its all very predictable; but as far as action spectacles go Mad Max: Fury Road has set the standard for the rest to follow this summer.