The Original “Mad Max” Director Delivers Proof We Need The Wasteland

By Scott Kurland

Film: Mad Max-Fury Road
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Riley Keough, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Zoe Kravitz
Rated R
Director : George Miller

When it comes to trilogies, there's only two that really float my boat: “Back To The Future” and “Mad Max,” the Wasteland trilogy. I love Star Wars, but that’s a Sextet of films; “Indiana Jones” was ruined by the cantankerous LaBeouf; and as great as “The Godfather” is, I only seldom “Go to the mattresses”  to view a nine hour trilogy. For me, I always rooted for the McFly guy and the renegade of the wasteland. Something about the pre-2000s stigma-ridden Mel Gibson was appealing. Also, director George Miller painted a realistic view of the future. Gas will become sacred, and everyone will be sex crazed cannibals...ok maybe not that latter, but the former is true. The thought of wandering the wasteland in leather and helping people was exciting to think about. This week’s film is the long awaited “Mad Max” reboot “Mad Max: Fury Road”. In an age of sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots is Max Rockatansky still relevant? Let’s find out shall we?

In the distant future, Earth has become a dystopian nightmare. The world is barren and covered in sand, cars reign supreme, and gas is luxury that people kill for. The world has become “The Wasteland”; a violent and cruel place full of murderers, rapists, and the occasional hero. Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is a wanderer of the desert, that is until he is kidnapped by the satanic cult leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Max’s  survival looks bleak. However, by some odd miracle, Max ends up escaping and working with Joe’s top driver, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). As always though, there’s a catch. Max has to help Furiosa safely move Joe’s concubines (Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Rosie Hunntington-Whiteley, Abbey Lee, and Courtney Eaton) far away from Joe’s sadistic reign of terror. Can they escape or will this scourge of the Wasteland make Max pay?

Two things are incredible about this film, the first being that the film was made at all. For almost two decades this script has been in “development hell” at Warner brothers. That’s normally a sign that the film will never be made. The second is Tom Hardy being cast as Max Rockatansky. Hardy is even better than Mel Gibson. I know that’s not hard to do these days, but we’re talking 80’s likable Mel Gibson. “Mad Max” is a complex role, I know that sounds barbaric to say because Max is a renegade who drives a suped-up interceptor. Yet, this is a man who saw his wife and child be murdered right in front of his very eyes. This role requires range, and Hardy delivers a quiet desperation that is very intense to watch. He’s not trying to play the role like Gibson, he makes it his own, and by doing so he makes this film honor the “Mad Max” namesake.

I don’t know if you, dear reader, have seen the crazy misogynists men's right's group who call this film female propaganda.  Aaron Clarey’s rant basically says that “Mad Max Fury Road” puts women in charge, and to that I say "thank God." Also, has he seen a movie called “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”? Tina Turner is a strong woman running the wasteland in that film, so it fits Miller’s vision that Theron, Kravitz, and Keough take charge and help Max. We need more badass female leads in films, and honestly Theron’s Imperator is the best partner for Max. She can fight, drive, and take on a sand storm all on her own. The fact that it’s Charlize makes it even better.

All the female leads are fantastic, especially Riley Keough, a.k.a Elvis Presley’s granddaughter. She was one of the most charismatic characters to come out of this series. She seems like the only person capable of understanding and forgiveness, which is appropriate because her  character's name is Capable. This film is not only a stellar action film, but it’s also a film that can show women how strong they are. 

“Mad Max: Fury Road” proves that a great film series can be rebooted and long as the man who created the original is rebooting the series. George Miller has given us three amazing “Mad Max” films in the past, but now he has gift-wrapped and hand delivered the cinematic equivalent of a unicorn to theaters. Miller does everything right, whether it’s the story or even the casting of the villain, who I should say is Hugh Keays-Byrne. If that name sounds familiar it’s because he played the villain Toecutter from the original “Mad Max”film from 1979. Miller is a genius for bring Keays-Byrne back, and also for adding a few easter eggs from the Mad Max series into the film.

I can’t stress enough how gorgeous this film is. The cinematography is so rich and colorful, and don’t even get me started on the special effects because they are out of this world. In this day and age, films are going to date themselves with CGI images and effects that will end up looking cartoonish in five years. Luckily, this film won’t be one of those CGI nightmares. Miller took four years to make this because he used real effects like a sand tornado in the desert or a high octane explosion caused by a double neck guitar...yeah, this movie is that amazing. Miller has brought back that magic and excitement that movies have been missing these last couple of years. This film also reminds us of a time when summer movies were something to look forward to, and not dread because they’ve released another “Transformers” movie or The Rock is playing “Hercules”. “Mad Max: Fury Road” remind us why we love action films.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is the best movie of 2015 so far, with a 98% fresh rating from you can’t miss. If you don’t like action then you might want to see “Pitch Perfect 2”, but if you want to see a flawless action adventure film full of the best 3D I have ever seen, this is your movie. I give “Mad Max: Fury Road” my highest rating, and can’t stress enough how badly you need to see this film. Even if you never saw the original “Mad Max” series, you will be able to follow this new chapter. This is a film that has to be seen in theaters and not at home, so go out and see “the Renegade of the Wasteland” the way he was meant to be seen. 


scott kurlandComment