MAD Max: Fury Road will disappoint those who believe in having a bit of drama to go with the non-stop action. However, for those wanting an adrenaline rush, this film will do it for you.
There is no respite once the war rig driven by Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) starts off on its journey.
This is a film where action speaks louder than words. And it's appropriate that the new Mad Max (Tom Hardy) is reticent and whose dialogue is limited to functional sentences.
In fact, it's Furiosa and others who do most of the talking. I doubt if viewers will relate to the strongly silent Max, even if he has top billing. The attempted romance between two fails to live up to expectations.
I take my hat off to Australian cinematographer John Seale for displaying the arid desert in gorgeous hues; Junkie XL's music for going with the mood, especially in the scene where Furiosa cries out in anguish; and editors Jason Ballantine and Margaret Sixel for maintaining an aggressively fast tempo and showing the action clearly.
Viewers can just imagine the hordes of attackers descending on the fleeing rig and the skill it takes for the editors to use cross-cutting to show what's happening.
Ex-cop Max is alone in this post-apocalyptic world and he's haunted by images of people he failed to save. The only thing on his mind is his survival (he eats a lizard he's stepped on) but he's caught by renegades speaking English with an Australian accent.
He says he was searching for a righteous cause but wonders if it's him or others who are more crazy. He also says that he's running from the living and the dead. Perhaps this is why he's "Mad".
The renegades' base is a clifftop retreat that is as huge as it is impressive to look at. An elderly dictator, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Bearne), lords it over the impoverished masses, dispensing water sparsely to keep them under his thumb.
Max may not have much to eat in this brave new world but he exudes superhuman strength when he attempts to escape.
The clifftop retreat's division of labour is interesting. The masses rot in the heat, but War Boys, who paint themselves white, work the machines there. These War Boys are also keen to give their lives easily in kamikaze-like behaviour.
One War Boy uses Max to infuse himself with the latter's blood.
The abovementioned rig is driven by Furiosa, who has stashed Immortan's five lithe, svelte and mainly-white beauties in it. She's on a quest to return to her homeland and perhaps seek redemption, too.
She veers off into the desert just after the convoy starts, which leads to Immortan dispatching his War Boys to chase after it.
One thing leads to another and Max is soon driving the rig. They are taken in by Furiosa's dream of her green homeland, but who knows if they'll ever get to it.
However, they do have a lot of fun doing it, what with every desert vermin wanting Max, Furiosa and the five women's (Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Zoë Kravitz, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee and Courtney Eaton) heads.
The five women seek hope, and they can be seen as providing hope for a new generation of people. Immortan refers to these breeding beauties as his "properties", reflective of his management perspective.
It's now non-stop violent action till the end of the film. One of Immortan's young rebels, Nux (Nicholas Hoult), seeks an early encounter with Varhalla. Immortan (who looks like Tom Hardy's character in The Dark Night Rises) has got a chokehold on his tribe, getting War Boys to happily die in battle so they can meet Valhalla.
I'm not sure why these thugs believe in Varhalla (a name invoked many times in TV's Vikings). Institutionalised religion would have been non-existent in this post-apocalyptic world, but why would these thugs pray to an ancient deity?
The action will definitely keep viewers on the edge of their seats, and I'm glad to say that women play a big role in it. Women are normally placed in films to be ogled by men, but they kick lots of butts in this film.
4 out of 5 stars