madmaxNo Dialogue Needed

Mad Max: Fury Road

Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, Zoe Kravitz and Nathan Jones
Director: George Miller
Scriptwriters: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathovis
Cinematographer: John Seale
Composer: Junkie XL
Warner Brothers
Rating: R for mucho violence and themed material
Running Length: 120 minutes
Spoiler alert paragraph 3

Excuse the dust on your computer/phone screen as the desert scenes and road chases from director George Miller’s latest “Mad Max” film, makes the audience think they are  riding the rig with Tom Hardy (Mad Max) and Charlize Theron (Furiosa.) Who needs dialogue? You can't hear much of it anyway due to engine/machinery/explosion noise. The action is multi-layered and I saw it in 3 D that brought some definition to what was going on. The story is in the Post-Apocalyptic Age of few resources (including paper and information is tattooed), fewer people and plenty of sun and dust to create storms. Satellites are seen overhead but who put them there and who is listening? Water is like gold and gasoline is like silver, oh, yes, and women who can bear children are a rich commodity, too. The world has changed since some kind of disaster and Australia is by itself. One wonders what Antarctica looks like then?


The original “Mad Max” (1979 and starring Mel Gibson) was a success and directed by George Miller.  In 1981, came the spectacular and cult-favorite, “Mad Max 2” also known as “The Road Warrior” (Gibson/Miller). Wow, those car chases. 1985 had “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdrome” and Gibson starring with Tina Turner (also directed by George Miller.) A hiatus of 30 years and 2015 brings a new view of Max and now stars Tom Hardy (“Bane” from “Batman”) who probably recognized some of the headgear other actors wore. 


The story of “Fury Road” begins with Max on the road in his trusty Ford Falcon with a near-rocket motor. Max runs afoul of Importan Joe  (Hugh Keays-Byrne, a previous villain) and his men who keep women as prisoners for breeding purposes.  Seems as though radiation  is making it difficult to produce and bear children. Joe is a dictator and lives in a mountain stronghold (think the Middle East and Petra), rationing life to his “people” and promising life forever if you die for him (sound familiar?) Max is pegged as a blood donor and before you can snap your fingers, the women prisoners disappear (along with a loyal “soldier,” Furiosa played furiously by a head-shorn Charlize Theron.)  A chase ensues in which people trade sides, friends turn to foes, new friends are found, a journey is not what it is supposed to be, and Max and Furiosa come to an agreement, though they probably say about 10 words apiece. Joe is not one to let go easily and keeps on the trail on a chase through a canyon reminiscent of the Gregory Peck/Burl Ives 1958 movie “The Big Country.”  Film directors seems to have a thing for canyons.
However, I do object to a birthing scene that did not have to be in the film.


The logistics of the chases (and little digital help was supposed to have occurred), designs of the automotives/trucks/cycles is astonishing, plus the stunt work that includes men on flexible poles aiming downward with their guns, climbing on anything moving half-clothed, and anything that just plain exists, is a weapon. Cinematography is exceptional including a dust storm and since there is a rock guitarist who goes along with Importan Joe in his own trailer with speakers on the sides, this soundtrack is rock, too. Nothing like music on the road.


Now, as far as acting, Hardy does quite well as a Max with appropriate fighting skills and a loner attitude.  He isn't required to speak much. Charlize Theron is really something as a woman who is as tough as a man and works with them, too. She also doesn't have much to say, but knows how to drive and gather information. Hugh Keays-Byrne is a villain wearing a skull mask and you don't hear him speak either (reference Bane.) Other than that, the words are spoken by the women and Nicholas Hoult, as Nux, Joe’s follower with a mind of his own. After waiting years and years for a “Max” film, I don't think the franchise has reached a peak. I'm OK here. As far as cars are concerned (start getting nervous, “Fast & Furious”), this new world is open for speculation. Will this series continue on a new note?  I'm not saying, but Hardy has many action years ahead of him, just look at Liam Neeson. Max could paddle to New Zealand and keep on going.




Copyright 2015 Marie Asner


For more film reviews of Tom Hardy's work see the following:


Child 44


The Dark Knight Rises  




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