Mad Max reboot to leave you awe-struck

Published May 15, 2015



DIRECTOR:George Miller

CAST: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, John Howard


RUNNING TIME:120 minutes

RATING: ****



THIS MAD Max reboot is a hyper-kinetic, completely bonkers adrenalin-fuelled ride through the desert. Relying on the previous films’ story-line having seeped into the world’s entertain-ment consciousness, it drops us right in the middle of a story and never lets up to explain. Instead, the action movie master class will beat you into awe-struck, jaw-dropping submission.

It moves at a jittery pace, giving us the millennial take on what was in the ’80s a terrifying dystopian world of nihilism, punk costumes and shocking casual violence.

Now we are confronted by a presumably post-apocalyptic landscape, populated by double-headed lizards and water-starved, tattered masses, which must infer that something has gone drastically wrong in the not-too- distant past.

Words like “half-life”, “war boys”, “imperator” and “organic mechanic” are bandied about, hinting at how culture has devolved to repurposed fundamentalism and technology and life has been stripped of complexity to imperatives like kill or be killed.

Hardy is Max Rockatansky, maddened by hallucinations of a dead wife and child, driven by a memory of home and a will to survive, preferably far away from other people.

Despite wanting only to be left alone, he is caught up in Furiosa’s (Theron) jailbreak with the big bad guy’s nubile young wives in tow, and the long chase ensues. And this really is just one long chase, interspersed by a few quiet moments and beautiful cinematography of a stark, decaying landscape, and then some more crazy car stunts, choreographed to a T. The stunts have a very organic feel to them, which grounds the film in its own crazy reality more than a cgi painting would have.


Pursued by spear-lobbing berserkers in full body paint intent on seeking Valhalla (yes, in the desert. We’re talking lots of mixed myths here), they ride deeper into a forbidding landscape of electric sandstorms and eerie beauty.

Plotwise, we are talking will-o’-wisp of a plot, leading you from the edge of your seat, deeper and deeper into the desert.

A chase that is egged on by the gang’s very own, literally portable soundtrack of drummers and a crazy guitarist in a red onesie hanging off a rig mounted in front of one of their trucks. Bonkers, I tell ya.

But, Hardy and Theron manage to inject some charisma into what could otherwise be very dour characters. She is desperately holding on to the idea of a place of refuge – home –- and he is swept along by her vision, because he recognises hope in her and all he really wants is to go home, even though he knows in the back of his brain that it no longer exists.

At some points there are more women kicking butt and not bothering to take names in the scenes than men, and more than once Furiosa is the one saving Max or the day. She is a female warrior in a world that does not recognise the worth of women beyond that as breeders. So Theron manages to create a character that is strong, an alpha female who rivals and even betters Max, but with a hint of vulnerability because of emotions she is not at liberty to express.

Hardy also manages with just a few economic grunts and looks to prompt the viewer to imagine quite a lot about his motives – just like Mel Gibson before him, he creates a tough yet vulnerable character, mysterious yet still against all odds, human. He is a small island of calm in a world gone crazy.

The never-ending action is dazzling, and the 3d fans won’t be disappointed, but a lot of the context lies in the visual elements and the scenes are laden with clues.

Dialogue is often lost to odd accents or explosive action detracting your attention and the context of people dying from environ-mental pollution, the religion of road combat and car-worship, the breeding programmes and hydroponic farms all have to be inferred from imagery forming the background to lots of violent behaviour.

This is very much a triumph of style over substance, but in that style lies a ridiculous amount of meticulous detail. The shared experience of the audience swept along by a ridiculous amount of trashed cars will eventually transmute to countless geek conversations about the mechanics of Polecats and the uses of mineral dust as make-up.

If you liked Mad Max 2, you will like this.

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