I’m not sure what I expected from that. The trailer made Mad Max look completely nuts, but there had to be some kind of catch, right? They always show the best bits in the trailer, and then the rest is Jar Jar or Shia LaBeouf. Incorrect! Mad Max is just as intense as you could imagine, but with the bonus material of actually caring what happens to the characters.
Everyone in Mad Max has awesome names (The Splendid Angharad! Rictus Erectus!), most of which I learned during the closing credits, so in that vein, Charlize Theron plays Imperator Furiosa. She’s a rogue driver of a war rig; that is to say, a giant armed truck, barreling away across post-apocalyptic Australia with a warlord’s assorted super-hot wives. She’s being chased by his army, and a couple of other allied armies. And there’s your story. Mad who? Sorry, our title character starts out in captivity, as a mobile blood supply for one of the chasing pack – Nicholas “Beast” Hoult – until he eventually escapes to line up with Theron. And there’s your story.
The rest is action. Glorious, glorious action. Now, I’m not a fan of dumb action, coughMichaelBaycough, incomprehensible quick cuts, all that nonsense. This film has no CG, or at the very least, its handsome well spoken brother, very good CG that you’re not aware of. Every smashed up vehicle (and that hits well into double figures) is a real vehicle being really smashed up by what I can only assume are regular Australians, covered in powder and skull makeup, balancing precariously on poles sticking out of cars, brandishing explosive spears.
There’s no bullshit in the story, no sidetracks, no padding, if I had to say anything it would be that it gets to a point where you can see the ending lining itself up, which is a slight letdown after the manic unpredictability that came before it, but it’s a minor complaint.
I’ve not read anything about this film before writing it up myself, don’t want to be unduly influenced, you know, but I’ve become vaguely aware that people on the internet are complaining about Mad Max’s representation of women. I can only assume that that comprises of idiots on the internet, complaining that all the women in the film are thoroughly kick-ass.
Even the half dozen escapee wives, captive breeding machines up to this point in their lives, have enough ingenuity to help where possible, and not in stupidly unrealistic ways. If you had to pick a moment it would be Max handing the sniper rifle with one remaining bullet over to Furiosa, after he missed the first few shots.
Tom Hardy probably has as many lines in this as Schwarzenegger does in The Terminator, but he’s endlessly fun grunting his way through the escape. It’s really Theron’s movie though, she gets to be ruthless, efficient and emotional without the problem Prometheus gave her of being dumb as a rock. Run sideways! God, I’m still mad about that.
I worry about the world sometimes.
Everyone in power seems to be intent on digging or drilling up fossil fuels, wrecking the earth, and then burning them, harming the atmosphere. This is your future, people, baking deserts, fighting over fuel and water, playing a double guitar strapped to the front of a moving war rig. Your carbon footprint could cost Charlize Theron her arm, be careful.
Seriously though, go see Mad Max, it’s amazing.