Director: George Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron
Release: 15 May 2015
IMDB User Rating: 8.6;
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 89%
Well, it has certainly been a real long time between drinks for the Mad Max franchise, and I must that that this latest release or should I use the term 'power up' (the term director George Miller used to describe this latest reincarnation) pretty much gives every Mad Max fan what they would have wanted. There is probably only one thing that anybody familiar with the original movies would expect, and that is basically massive car chase in some really hotted up post-apocalyptic vehicles. Okay, the original didn't actually have anything along those lines, but when you get to the second and third movies that is what you end up in the climax.
It seems that this time Miller has pretty much ditched the plot well, there actually is a plot, but you don't go to a Mad Max film for a detailed and absorbing plot simply for the car chase. Basically the movie has Max captured by a group known as the Warboys and when one of their drivers, Furiousa suddenly changes directions and heads off into the desert, they all grab their vehicles and go chasing after it. So, for about a third of the movie we have this massive car chase, during which Max escapes and joins Furiousa. They then manage to outrun the Warboys and reach their destination, only to discover that there is basically nothing there, so they decide to turn around to go back, which, due to the Warboys still chasing them, results in the rest of the movie being a massive car chase. As I suggested, this isn't some ordinary Hollywood car-chase, this is a Mad Max car chase where you have all of these hotted up cars that look like works of post-apocalyptic art in and of themselves.
The funny thing about this film is that there are a number of posts about how this film seems to emasculate men. Okay, I didn't actually read them but I thought that it was quite amusing to see criticisms of this kind laid against the film. Still, it doesn't seem to have affected its earnings all that much, or the reviews. In fact most of the reviews that I have read use words along the lines of 'insane'. Okay, the thin strand called a plot that holds this film together is about how the renegade Furiousa is helping the wives of the Warboy boss escape his harem, and Furiousa's former tribe was a tribe of women, who after being reunited turn and declare war against the Warboys. Despite that I would hardly suggest that this plot serves to emasculate men (unless of course those men who are complaining of this have problems with their masculinity). We need to remember that this is the world of Mad Max where the strong rule and the weak are turned to slaves. What Max does is that he overturns this order and gives power back to the weak.
Mad Max is also a world of shattered dreams. Like the previous film Beyond Thunder Dome the characters have this dream of reaching a green and verdant land a paradise, but this paradise does not exist. In the end it turns out that the only paradise of any meaning is already being ruled by the gangs. As such it comes down to a wrestle where the strong fight the strong, it is just that one of the belligerents, Mad Max, is using his strength to empower the weak.
It is also interesting that Miller has created a much more psychological aspect to Max's character, something which we never saw in the previous films. Max, as we discover, is forever haunted by the death of his wife and family, having been killed by gangs during the time when civilisation was in the process of collapsing. Now he is just a road warrior that travels the desert, reluctantly helping those in need. While he is a loner, he knows how to fight and he shows his enemies no mercy. However, just like the lone ranger that his character represents, at the end of the film, he turns and walks back into the desert.
A have written a further analysis of this awesome film on my blog.