Cast/Crew: Directed by now 70-year-old George Miller (who wrote/directed the first 3 Mad Max films). Starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, also Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (main girl interest in Transformers 4) as the main wife of Immortan Joe.
Plot: In this post-Apocalyptic wasteland, a man traumatised by loss (Mad Max, Tom Hardy) gets caught up in Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron)’s plan to flee the city with the tyrannical overlord’s wives.
Thoughts on the film :
• This is pretty much one massive action scene! Most of the movie’s 2-hour run-time is spent in a high-octane battle/chase, escaping from the unrelenting war vehicles of Immortan Joe’s army. It takes getting used to. But there’s certainly nothing else like it.
• The writing/story expects you to be familar with the 3 previous Mad Max films from 30 years ago. There’s some quick general exposition, but the film takes place in a “what’s happening right now” aka real time setting for most of it. Immortan Joe is the tyrant, who hoards the water and thus controls the city, as well as having a bitchin’ mask. When his wives (who were bred to get pregnant) escape, even his generals aren’t happy at the resources and manpower used to get them back. Joe gets his bald, white-skinned warrior minions and his dirty crew to do just that.
• There’s minimal dialogue, just enough to show why people are doing what they’re doing. A concubine finds heel white warrior Nux (Nicholas Hoult, not TNA’s Knux), a crazed man charged with murdering them, crying in hiding. Within seconds they’re sharing a tender moment, and in a minute, they’re a couple in the background. Although initially trying to murder each other, through several instances, Max and Theron develop a mutual respect/bond. It’s not ham-fisted – Max barely speaks, their intense natural distrust is shown well. The two act quickly, always trying to gain the upper hand. These ‘quick-draw’ scenes are done very well.
• This is an Australian/American-made film, so the cast in general have Australian accents.
• The whole theme of the film is survival. Civilisation has collapsed, the earth is a barren wasteland, and it’s mostly a lawless existence, apart from the death handed out by Immortan Joe. The land is an inhospitable, sweltering desert. As such the film is either beautiful yellow in the daytime, or beautiful blue/black at night-time. Everyone’s in filthy rags, except for Joe’s wives, who are in stark white cloths. Max meets them when they’re washing, their beauty/cleanliness very much like a mirage in the desert.
• Gasoline and water are the scarce commodities; and everyone’s living in a shit-heap. Vehicles look modded from a junkyard, which give it a very unique look.
• There’s minor nudity (hilariously, a naked lady slides down a rope, whilst the knot covers her privates); mostly just semi-transparent cloths that the wives wear.
• I thought it’s an interesting general contrast between the heels/male archetypes (domineering Tyrant/wildly aggressive, maniacal soliders/boy racers, who build vehicles of death out of scrap-iron with emphasis on impaling, nitrous boosts and spitting fire) and the faces/female archetypes (unspoilt concubine wives, and old ladies ready to fight the good fight.)
• Max’s constant, distressing hallucinations about his (deceased) daughter and friends remind me a lot of Issac’s hallucinations in Dead Space 2. They influence him a lot, whether it’s hindering his escape or causing a change of mind.
• There’s only one clunker of a line in the film, when Theron says “You’re never gonna have a better chance”. “At What?” “Redemption”. It was so melodramatic, I’d’ve told her to fuck right off. Imagine if someone said that to you in real life! It’s also odd how Max is not the protagonist (he generally plays 2nd fiddle to Theron) and his iconic car is totalled in the first few minutes of the film.
• The other mildly annoying part is when a truck is totalled, it goes into slo-mo CG throw debris at the camera, which is obviously meant to be seen in 3D. This is one 15 second part though, so take it in context. It just completely jars with the rest of the film.
• Although there is many parts of the film made in CG, there’s a lot of physical props, cars, stunts. That’s all great stuff. 90% of the movie is actual real-world stuntwork, which is really very impressive. CG is used when they wanted something done that couldn’t have been otherwise, so good stuff. It meshes very well apart from a few dodgy shots.
• Nathan Jones (mate) is in the film! He doesn’t have a bit part (ooh err) but is the son/bodyguard of the Tyrant. However the coolest guy around is the one lad who’s playing electric guitar, who doesn’t stop playing even after being assaulted. He loves his job. It works it’s way seemlessly into the soundtrack, which is loud and booming. Very cool.
• Primary mode of attack (besides ramming vehicles with your metal-shard-spiked wheels) is bombs and spears that explode in a brilliant red.
Overall: It’s a fun action film but beware that it’s practically one 2-hour long action/battle/chase. Action scenes are much better structured and meshes CGI well, so it’s less fatiguing than say, Transformers films. There’s not much meat on the bones in terms of characters and plot, beyond here’s what’s up, and here’s some cool bad guys. It’s difficult to know what to really think about it, the film’s an anomaly, if this sounds good to you, go for it!
If you’ve seen the film I’d love to know what you thought of it. On the net I’ve been generally seeing unanimous praise,perhaps it’s because a film like this was made at all in 2015, or just loving this post-apocalyptic chasing action movie!
Next film review: Mad Max (1979)