It’s important to note that I never watched any of the Mel Gibson Mad Max films. I tried to watch the first one and bagged out after about ten minutes. The gritty, dark tone left me too cold to continue with it.
But this new film, wherein director George Miller returns to continue his own series, looked amazing in the trailers. Tom Hardy takes over for Mel in the titular role, and Charlize Theron has just as important (maybe more important?) of a role in Furiosa, a woman who lost a hand but gained some serious driving skills in the wastelands of this dystopic future. The third character, with probably the most interesting arc in the film, is Nicholas Hoult’s Nux, a Warboy, one of the followers of the bad guy, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).
Not so long story even shorter, Furiosa is in the employ of Joe, but she betrays him by stealing away with his brides (a group of essentially interchangeable young actresses) who are no longer interested in being brood mares for Joe. Nux, nursing a terminal tumor, wants to use this mission to ensure his immortality. (The Warboys are essentially a messianic cult with Joe as their god.) I won’t spoil how Max gets pulled into this fracas, because it is both creepy and hilarious.
The film moves from one glorious, gorgeous set piece to the next. Much (but not all) of the stunts are accomplished without the help of computer generated vehicles or performers. It’s well choreographed mayhem, practically from start to finish.
I would have preferred if the the brides were a little more involved and/or actually interesting. I would have preferred if the Byzantine political connections of these far-flung “civilizations” turned the film into something more complex than just a chase where Furiosa and Max are “the good guys” and everyone else is “the bad guys”. I would have preferred a more interesting ending. I would have preferred if Max’s madness had caused some problems for our heroes, rather than simply being a grace note for the character.
So I didn’t love-love-love this film the way everyone else seems to. But it’s certainly good. And I hope, if there is a sequel, it ups the ante a bit.