Twitter Plot Summary: Max Rockatansky is back at last, assisting Imperator Furiosa and the Brides escape from Immortan Joe’s clutches.
When a project has spent as long in development hell as this much delayed fourth entry in the Mad Max franchise, it’s natural to assume the worst about the final product. The fact this manages to be not only an excellent film and potentially the best of the series to date, but also one of the best action films in the last decade (or even two decades if you’re feeling adventurous) is a testament to the vision of George Miller in bringing the Fury Road story to the screen.
Tom Hardy steps into Mel Gibson’s boots as Max Rockatansky, a man who has lost everything yet doggedly refuses to give up on life and subsequently finds himself dragged into various insane situations.
There have been some calls that Fury Road is a sexist and male-centred film, mostly because the Wives are dressed scantily and are all attractive women. I’d say this is nonsense. For a start the central character is Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa rather than Max, a strong female presence who is not defined by the men who surround her. Second, the Wives may be dressed in very little, but they are not filmed in an entirely exploitative manner, nor are they solely there to act as titillation for the audience. Their presence does serve a point to the story, and you could argue that they are stronger personalities than any of the male characters, Max included.
There isn’t much in terms of story, but there doesn’t need to be. Dialogue is limited in true Mad Max tradition, but this is not a limitation in any great sense. Actions often speak louder than words, and in all honesty Tom Hardy’s accent wobbles so substantially that it’s for the best that he has less than 20 lines in total.
No, the focus here is on the action and the insanity of this world. Imperator Furiosa has decided to take the Wives away from Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, returning to the franchise after playing Toecutter in the first Mad Max) and trek across the country to the Green Place, a haven many miles away. Naturally Immortan Joe take umbrage at this and sets off in pursuit with his War Boys, one of whom (a barely recognisable Nicholas Hoult) is hooked up to a captured Max who is acting as a universal donor blood bank.
The rest of the film is taken up by one insane action sequence after another, all using practical effects (except for that sandstorm, obviously) and introducing us to the various denizens of this Australian wasteland. A highlight has to be the guitarist strapped to the top of one of the War Rigs, churning out chunky heavy metal guitar riffs through the epic amp stack that sits behind him. The final battle is a sequence you just have to see to believe, an epic combination of violence and non-verbal storytelling that is a breathless joy to behold. Thankfully Miller’s direction never gets boring, always finding new and interesting ways to depict what is nothing more than a truck being chased across the desert.
What a day. What a lovely day indeed.