Yeah I know that word doesn’t exist, well didn’t. But neither did the world of Max Rockatansky (played by Mel Gibson in the original series) till just over 30 years ago when it exploded out of the visionary mind of director George Miller. And my what a vision. A dystopian world that was horrifically similar to our modern one in Mad Max (1979) on the cusp of self destruction/annihilation and it’s inevitable foolhardy nitro fuelled hot rod race straight into chaos, where sanity was left punctured roadside 100 klicks ago. The tyres shredded, steel rims tearing up tarmac amid ferocious sparks of anger and conflict. And it was all just so hypnotically beautiful.
There were subsequent chapters in the Miller helmed road diaries of Max, to varying degrees of success Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). Although Thunderdome was a slightly misjudged affair so close after the fantastic second chapter, it still added in numerous ways to the darkness, depth and furthering realisation of the fire and kerbstone in The Road Gospel According to Max.
George has had 30 years since bouncing around Thunderdome to prof-read the (visual storyboard) Canon for Mad Max, and his vision is now FULLY realised in the current pit stop that is Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Although stopping is the last thing this creation does, unless you count crashing as stopping, otherwise it turbos along like a lit fuse screeching out for an explosion to kick in the face, or your mind.
Those many years have clearly been spent very wisely and have resulted in not so much a reboot as a nitrous oxide catapult to the franchise, refitted, souped up, given a new paint job in the form of Tom Hardy sporting Max’s leathers (on excellent form and he’s still has the trade mark leg brace) and given a complete MOT road worthy pass. That’s of course until everything in Max’s life goes wrong, again.
It will help and add a massive depth of meaning to your experience if you’ve seen the previous outings, but it’s not necessary. Fury Road equally continues and hot wires the series again, but there’s so many appreciative nods to earlier incarnations and references, that it would be unfortunate not to be able to enjoy them all.
Max is called Mad for a reason, those reasons are very deep and very painful. To the greater extent insanity is the only device available to cope with his experiences, and the only device determined enough to keep him alive, just to torment him even further. They pretty much guide him at every juncture too.
They’ve now lead him to being captured by a cult army called the War Boys, lead by megalomanic fundamentalist Immortan Joe (the incredible Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played the bad ass Toecutter biker in the original movie) who holds a religious fervor and power over the masses by controlling all the access to food, water and gas in their isolated desert Citadel. Basically he’s a modern day energy CEO., albeit with a slightly more bizarre dress sense no doubt inspired his radiation riddled brain and body.
Everything is a commodity to Joe, including, actually especially women, who if they aren’t being dairy farmed (I kid you not), are mere ‘breeders’ (I kid you not again), enslaved concubines that will carry his ‘divine’ seed to create more War Pups or to continue his pustulant lineage.
Thank god for the presence of Charlize Theron not only in real life, but in the form of Imperator Furiosa who drives a War Rig (armoured petrol road tanker) for Joe and is responsible for maintaining the fuel supply to the Citadel. She decides to use that trust to rectify the absolute injustice that exists all around her and floors the pedal into the most intense road journey EVER for both her and us. Almost as if Gaia herself, Furiosa is like a force of nature, on a quest to flood the barren lands destroyed at the hands of men, with rich fertility, equality and justice. And like alot of men (in movies or not), Joe isn’t very happy with this at all, or any cost.
I don’t really want to say much more, one as this is a movie that shouldn’t really be written about, it’s supposed to be experienced, and felt, viscerally felt, like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. I can’t praise this movie enough on every level, and as such I’m reluctant to do so as in not to build up hopes. But I know you’ll not be disappointed.
This movie is utterly insane, beautiful, ground breaking, intelligent, stunningly realised, brilliantly acted throughout (particularly Theron and Nicholas Holt as Nux a young War Boy), breathtaking in it’s vision, creativity, design, soundscape, dialogue, rendering, intensity and is an absolutely complete world, suffice to say, you’ve never see nor experienced anything like it. It’s truly a MAXsterpiece.
Mad Max : Fury Road is out now.