In a post-apocalyptic future where man’s most precious resource, oil, is all but depleted plunging the world into war, famine and chaos, only the mad will survive.
But within the stark desert wasteland populated by a broken humanity driven with survival and the unending ravage for gasoline, two rebels might be able to restore order: Mad Max (Tom Hardy), a man of action and of few words who seeks peace of mind after the death of his wife and child following the aftermath of the chaos, and Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a violent woman desperate to return to her childhood homeland.
Furiosa comes from an Amazonian clan who live in the wilderness and are more than proficient with high-powered weaponry. Taken from her hometown at a young age Furiosa was left with nothing but the instincts for survival and retribution.
Former cop Max is chased down by marauders who run his V8 Interceptor off the road. Shortly after, he is bound, gagged and bolted into a post-Bane face mask and used as a human blood bag for Nux (Nicholas Hoult), a pasty kamikaze ‘war boy’.
The War Boys are the brainwashed minions of a masked ruler named Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) who have been told that they live a “half-life” and that Valhalla awaits them in the afterlife. The ruler of The Citadel, controls the water supply for masses below, whilst farming women for breast milk and enslaving several wives to bear his children.
Not willing to let Immortan Joe keep his wives known as “the breeders” prisoner any more, Furiousa helps them escape the clutches of the ruthless dessert gang leader.
Loner Max finds himself unwantedly caught in the middle of a chase whilst aiding renegade War Rig trucker Furiosa and her female companions. En route, they encounter an array of stilt-walking, motorbiking, chainsawing crazies armed with sonic assault vehicles and drummers, speaker stacks and a mutant axe-man wielding an Ace Frehley-style guitar-slash-flamethrower. With the harsh desert sands in front of them and marauders behind, only the maddest will survive the storm.
The role of the caretaker and nurturer is definitely masculine in this movie. Leading many to the conclusion that the message is that in this desolate world of cars and violence, there is nothing more powerful than a woman. As you can imagine that’s not sitting well with some men, especially the Men’s Rights Activist website Return Of King. Ah diddums.
In a review, writer Aaron Clarey warns against the movie describing it as, “The Trojan Horse feminists and Hollywood leftists will use to (vainly) insist on the trope women are equal to men in all things, including physique, strength, and logic.”
Director George Miller says that he didn’t set out to make a feminist film per se, but that he needed a warrior “But it couldn’t be a man taking five wives from another man. That’s an entirely different story. So everything grew out of that.”
The bruised and bloody, and defiantly un-pretty Furiousa is most definitely a feminist, and Max is right there beside her, not caring one way or the other.
Mad Max: Fury Road is intense, gritty and captivating. While the first Mad Max was high on concept, low on budget, this head-banging $150m fourth instalment – part (non)sequel, part reinvention – leans more towards the directorial stylings of Michael Bay.
But whilst Bay’s movies are famously lacking any weight and substance Miller proves that actions really do speak louder than words. He has achieved something that Bay cannot; he has created a visual masterpiece that doesn’t rely on the usual eye-candy pouting and in distress, to make an impact.
Hardy is undoubtedly the star of the movie, his intense physicality perfectly matching Miller’s dystopian landscape. However he does intermittently slip back into Bane mode which is a tad distracting.
Theron’s one-armed bandit with oil smeared across her forehead is both tribal-warrior and protector. Meanwhile Hoult is unrecognisable as Nux, the brainwashed foot soldier determined to find his way into Valhalla, a misguided martyr in an unholy war.
Make no mistake; this is not your standard action movie, it’s an explosion of noise and violence that will leave you feeling like you’re falling headfirst into an airplane jet engine. Mad and magnificent, it’s a cinematic fireball.
By Ruth Walker