Australian writer/director George Miller, who gave us a trilogy of Mad Max dystopian thrillers from 1979 through 1985, is back with his new incarnation: ‘Fury Road.’ For those who love sci-fi and action blended together, ‘Max’ should be your thing. Miller’s post-apocalyptic world takes place out in the desert where a group of mutants are lorded over by one Immortan Joe, a king worshiped as a god by his subjects, who sports a mask that resembles a human skull. His warriors look like modern-day skinheads and there’s also a grand coterie of Joe’s subjects, akin to medieval peasants, Joe controls the water supply at his fortress called ‘The Citadel’ and also owns a small harem of sex-slaves he maintains for breeding purposes (these women appear to be the only healthy ones in the realm).
The protagonist is Max Rockatansky, now played by Tom Hardy of Inception fame. Rocktansky is captured by the skinheads and makes a futile attempt to escape from the Citadel early on. The character with the bigger part for a while is Imperator Furiosa played by an enervated Charlize Theron. Furiosa moves things into Act 2 when she kidnaps Joe’s concubines and drives in a souped up tanker truck headed for the mythic ‘Green Place,’ which supposedly is some kind of aqua-infused paradise. Joe’s minions give chase in a crazy assortment of different vehicles, all patched up from parts remaining after the Apocalypse.
We don’t hear much from Max since his face is hidden by a steel mask and he’s strapped to one of those weird vehicles which is chasing Furiosa. After a series of spectacular chases and crashes, Max finally gets free of his captors (but still must have Furiosa assist him in cutting a chain that binds him to one of the skinheads (Nux) who ironically joins Furiosa and her group after deciding there’s great glory working for the rebels than bad guy Joe.
The long continuous chase to capture Furiosa temporarily slows down when the good guys must navigate their way through a canyon controlled by hostile forces. After successfully breaking through the canyon blockade, Furiosa finds an old woman who belongs to the Vuvalini, the clan which Furiosa was kidnapped from as a child. Wouldn’t you know it but the old woman makes it clear that the “Green Place” is indeed a myth so what are the good guys to do?
The plan is to finish off Joe’s forces on the way back to the Citadel (which they successfully accomplish) and then kill the king and gain control of the water supply, much to the peasantry’s delight. This of course allows Mr. Miller to stage another big chase scene, just as spectacular as the one in the first half.
That’s basically it. Fury Road is nothing more than one big chase scene after another. After a while, the whole thing just gets a little tiresome. One can admire the production design and how the chase scenes are choreographed—but the script is so paper thin, that the best rating I can muster here is 5 out of 10. Sorry!