Hot Poppin' Culture News From New York City

‘Mad Max: Fury Road:’ Dystopian Hell-on-Wheels Escapism at Its Best

Tom Hardy (left) and Charlize Theron star in 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' a reboot of the 1979 Mad Max film series. (Photo: Studio)

Tom Hardy (left) and Charlize Theron star in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ a reboot of the 1979 Mad Max film series. (Photo: Studio)

The original “Mad Max” movie in 1979 may not have given birth to the post-apocalyptic, anti-hero action film, but it certainly put the genre on the map. Now, the new reboot “Mad Max: Fury Road,” is being screened at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival. Who knew?

Let’s be real, the brooding, post-apocalyptic character’s been done to death in the years since “Mad Max.”

But I was curious to see this movie because Director George Miller has helmed all three of the previous “Mad Max” films, which have been hugely successful commercially.

Miller is the master of the hell-on-wheels genre, and he delivers in his latest outing, starring Tom Hardy in place of Mel Gibson and Charlize Theron as his love interest.


 

But my first comment has got to be, it’s one of the loudest I’ve ever heard. In commanding 3D, it was actually hard to hear much of the dialogue.

Hardy’s character, “Mad” Max Rockatansky, meets Theron’s errant disciple Imperator Furiosa in the desert. She is trying to cross a vast wasteland on the run from tyrannical King Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) because she’s rescued five wives from his clutches.

Joe rules the wasteland with the War Boys, his bloodthirsty gang, and wants his wives back.

Theron is terrific, telegraphing her character’s fear and determination with every move. Actually, her performance reminded me of her take in 2005’s “Aeon Flux,” another great performance.

Max and Furiosa race madly through the desert, encounter a sand storm that swallows everything and clash spectacularly with the bad guys.

Needless to say, the stunts are terrifically awesome. One lone-soul plays a guitar blaring heavy-metal, while shooting fire. NO doubt about it, Miller’s sense of the absurd is wickedly captivating.

“One of the ideas that drove the first ‘Max Max,’ and drives this one is Alfred Hitchcock’s notion about making films that can be watched anywhere in the world without subtitles.” Miller says. He’s right: the visuals tell the story.

When the original Max Max blew onto movie screens back in 1979, audiences, as well as I, had rarely seen this type of action-hero before.

Yes, brooding Mel Gibson was the star, but it was Miller’s stark direction that gave the films their punch. He went onto to do two sequels, “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior” and “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome,” which featured a great title song “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner.

As I walked into the theater this time, I was lamenting the seemingly constant flux of re-booted adventures these days, be it “Spider-Man, “X-Men,” or even the “Terminator” series.

My companion said he felt the films keep getting re-booted because they can make them better now. Hmmm! I now feel as thought his statement may have some truth in it.

Miller has reclaimed his legacy and succeeded, yet again. Now, I’ve got to go back and watch that original.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” hits theaters this Friday (May 15). Let is know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest movie news.


Subscribe To TheImproper's Email Newsletters, Free!