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Mad Max: Fury Road (AF)


Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, Josh Helman, Nathan Jones, John Howard, Richard Carter, iOTA, Angus Sampson, Jennifer Hagan, Megan Gale, Melissa Jaffer, Melita Jurisic, Gillian Jones, Joy Smithers

Director: George Miller

The Mad Max movies are a legendary movie franchise.

So has director/creator George Miller and his team succeed in rebooting the legend, which has been dormant since 1985?

The answer is a resounding “YES!”

If it’s action you want, Fury Road delivers.

There are few, very few relaxed scenes when Max Rockatansky (previously known as Mad Max and the Road Warrior) blasts back into what comes across as near non-stop action in the grim post-apocalyptic world established in the 1979 original.

Now reviewers are sometimes criticized for giving away too much of the plot of a movie.

Fair comment. It’s happened to me on occasion.

But then reviewers not only have the advantage of having seen the film but are also (usually) gives a critics crib sheet, more formally known as press/production notes.

All of which is simply a prelude to saying that while there is plenty of plot in the press notes, the basic storyline (vividly decorated and expanded by all concerned) is all you need for nearly two hours of continual excitement.

We’re back in the bleak post apocalyptic desert wasteland (here convincingly played by Namibia as well as by the original’s Australia) where Tom Hardy skilfully erases most memories of his predecessor in the role as he wanders round the desert, haunted by memories of his past.

His solitary existence ends when he meets up with Charlize Theron’s tough-as-nails Imperator Furiosa, who is driving her weird War Rig across the wasteland to save a group of women (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee and Courtney Eaton) impregnated by the vile Immortan Joe, ruthless ruler of the Citadel, from which Max has managed to escape… and now he gets really mad as he sets out to save the women…

There’s considerably more, of course, to Miller, Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris’s inventive and consistently engrossing screenplay.

But I don’t intend to spoil the film by revealing it.

There are few breaks in the extraordinary action scenes involving hundred of weirdly constructed post-apocalyptic vehicles (include one fronted by a deranged guitar playing character whose guitar spouts out gouts of fire) and enough cliffhangers to make 007 jealous.

Hardy (and yes, here there are very well-deserved laurels for this Hardy) is simply terrific.

His Max is man of few words, he’s rough, tough and not to be crossed, but still able to show his softer side when necessary: which isn’t often. He’s made uniquely Max his own. Should there be sequels (and there should) he’s the only possible choice.

Theron too is tough and tender, Nicholas Hoult, head shaven, shirtless and painted white, is a surprisingly effective action hero, Hugh Keays-Byrne, his features hidden behind a hideous skull-shaped mask, is suitably scary as Immortan and, among the women-in-peril, Huntington-Whiteley proves that beauty and a lovely figure are a sure path to stardom.

The plentiful action is thrilling, not repetitive and served up most generously. There should be Oscars, at the very least for the stuntmen responsible.

It’s claimed Hardy has signed on for three sequels. Go for it.

Alan Frank

Australai/USA 2015. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour.
120 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 11 May 2015