Mad Max: Fury Road
starring Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Nathan Jones and Josh Helman
written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris
directed by George Miller
It’s strange to see a movie that I watched as a teenager remade so soon. Mel Gibson’s original Mad Max (1979) was a rather low-budget Australian film. But Mad Max Fury Road is given a lot more money to play with. Director George Miller directed the 1979 film as well as the sequel Road Warrior (1981), and the sequel after that Beyond Thunderdome (1985, co-starring Tina Turner). George Miller is one hell of a dystopian guy.
Reflecting the fashions of the times, Mad Max (1979) was a post-nuclear war apocalyptic world while Mad Max Fury Road is a post climate-change disaster apocalyptic world. That’s because the original Mad Max was made during the Cold War, I guess. The story isn’t explained very well. You have to pick it up as you go, making sense of it through the action. And there is an awful lot of action. It’s non-stop from the get-go.
In an apocalyptic world humanity has reverted to rigid tribalism. Surviving tribes live mere subsistence existences in isolated outposts. Water and food are scarce and life has become a tooth and nail fight with other scattered bands of survivors. In Fury Road one such tribe, living in a desert oasis, is preparing to send a tanker truck to another outpost, a refinery, for fuel. The ground in between outposts is a hostile non-man’s land, so security, or War Boys, have to accompany the rig. The driver of this rig, Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is secreting away her warlord’s wives (“breeders”) in an escape attempt to Furiosa’s childhood home, somewhere vaguely in the east. When her plan is discovered a high-speed armed pursuit ensues. Max is inserted into this background story. He helps Furiosa and the truckload of women fight off the pursuing war party and escape. The ferocity of the action is like watching the fight scenes between humans and alien bugs in Starship Troopers (1997), except Starship Troopers is easier to follow because it has more plot exposition. Fury Road is non-stop hyper-action. It’s most interesting to witness how George Miller constructs a new human society with its own hierarchy, nomenclature and mythology to replace the old.