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Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road

Released 14 May 2015
Director George Miller

Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Nathan Jones, Josh Helman, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton

George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris

George Miller, Doug Mitchell, PJ Voeten
Origin Australia, United States
Running Time 120 minutes
Genre Action, adventure, sci-fi
Rating 15A

Return to Oz.

Max Rockatansky needs a new nickname. This time around, the eponymous hero of George Miller’s resurrected diesel-guzzling series seems surprisingly sane. Ok, so  he may be suffering from a little post traumatic stress following the death of his young daughter but compared to the vast majority of the characters who inhabit this sun-scorched post-apocalypse, he doesn’t seem that mad. All around him however, lunacy reigns in this bonkers road movie that plays out like Wacky Races as directed by Marilyn Manson.

In a brief moment of calm before the engines thunder into life, we receive a mercifully vague introduction to the world of the film - a desert wasteland in which water, oil and bullets are in short supply and a grotesque warlord called Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) rules the distribution of each to his dilapidated subjects. While the people outside of the citadel go thristy, Joe has a ready supply not just of water, but of mother’s milk, farmed from a team of pregnant women. Enter Imperator Furiosa, a one armed warrior played with gimlet-eyed intensity by Charlize Theron. Tired of being a slave to the wishes of the citadel, Furiosa steals a war rig and makes a break for it, taking with her Joe’s prized possessions - his five beautiful breeder wives.

This leads us to the second incongruity of the film’s title - although Max is the marquee name here, he is hardly the hero of the piece. For the most part, Tom Hardy’s mumbling Max is out for himself and only joins the fight against tyranny after he sees the enormity of the plan Furiosa has made. After the apocalypse, it seems that it is the women who keep their heads when all around the men are getting their nipples pierced and spray-painting their teeth silver.

All of which goes to show that the the film may be a symphony of engines and explosions but it is all very cleverly done. Dialogue is kept to a minimum, so as to focus fully on the carnage - and magnificent carnage it is too. The fact that Miller can keep our interest in what is essentially a feature length chase sequence is damned impressive and testament to the bravura stunt-work and entertainingly hyperactive tone. In fact, this re-imagining of an Ozploitation classic is perhaps the best action film you will see this year. It roars off the screen, fueled by bucketfuls of adrenaline and imagination.

- Linda O’Brien