Mad Max: Fury Road

Directed By: George Miller

Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoë Kravitz, Abbey Lee, and Courtney Eaton

At the beginning of the year, I said that 2015 was the year of the reborn franchise.  Just look to upcoming installments for the Jurassic Park, Terminator, and Star Wars series.  It's undeniable.  There's one franchise introducing itself to a new generation of moviegoers this weekend that has a key advantage over these higher profile blockbusters as it lands in theaters.  That is this weekend's Mad Max: Fury Road.  The film's advantage goes by the name of George Miller.  Unlike the other re-emerging franchises, Mad Max has its original visionary in the director's chair.  I can assure you that Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, and George Lucas aren't returning to the other aforementioned franchises.

In the not too distant future, the world we know and love has collapsed.  The desert wasteland is ruled by the greedy King Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).  With his army known as the War Boys, all vital resources such as water and the flora are under his tight grip.  Even healthy blood is within his grasp.  That's unfortunate for former highway patrolman Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy).  Captured by some of the War Boys, he ends up being imprisoned and serving as a blood bag for ailing War Boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult).  With little hope of escaping as evidenced by his failed attempts, his exit will come by the unlikeliest means.

Natural resources aren't the only possessions Joe keeps to himself.  He keeps the most beautiful women to himself for breeding in search of a male heir to his throne.  These women are known as his Five Wives — the Splendid Angharad (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), Capable (Riley Keough), Toast the Knowing (Zoë Kravitz), the Dag (Abbey Lee), and Cheedo the Fragile (Courtney Eaton).  They're all tired of Joe's misogynistic ways.  With the help of Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), they might just make it to a better place.  To Furiosa, this place is known as the Green Land.  On a trip to Gas Town, Furiosa smuggles the wives and makes a detour to Joe's dismay.  When Nux goes after Furiosa along with all of Joe's War Boys, blood bag Max is dragged along.  This puts Max on a path to one bloody, maddening exit from the grasp of the War Boys.

It's safe to say that we can't afford to wait another thirty years for director George Miller to craft the next installment in the Mad Max franchise.  This post-apocalyptic thriller is a breath of fresh air at the mainstream box office.  It's something different.  It's something inventive.  It's something throwback.  Full of pulse-pounding action sequences fueled by suspense, resplendent visuals that harken back to a different era of moviemaking, and loads of utter theatricality, Mad Max: Fury Road is undoubtedly the best blockbuster to arrive in cinemas thus far in 2015.  If there's a single word that can best describe Miller's return to the franchise that made him a bankable filmmaker in Hollywood, that word is thunderous.

Mad Max: Fury Road offers an incredibly rich cinematic experience courtesy of some outstanding filmmaking from Miller and his crew.  Taking us back to the movies of old, the glorious cinematography is gritty yet offers us one surprisingly colorful post-apocalyptic world.  Chock full of elaborate, breathtaking actions sequences marked by suspense, the sound mixing and editing should be and certainly are nothing short of flawless.  Beneath the grandiose visuals and audio, there's a simple narrative that propels the film forward.  Miller layers plenty of suspense into this narrative and gives the film an electric energy.  All of this stokes the flames of chaos that define this outrageous dystopian thriller.

The cast is in impeccable form.  As our titular character Mad Max himself, Tom Hardy picks up Mel Gibson's torch with ease.  Channeling a bit of Bane from The Dark Knight Rises and the insular yet deadly barkeep from The Drop, Hardy can be utterly ferocious or silently menacing.  Either way, he delivers a knockout performance that will endear a new generation of moviegoers.  For her part as Furiosa, Charlize Theron is tough and edgy.  She brings a rugged character only topped by Hardy's Max.  She's essentially one undeniable badass who steals plenty of moments on screen.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Nicholas Hoult who give us a rather slippery fellow as War Boy Nux.  Hoult is ultimately one entertaining soldier.  Finally, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoë Kravitz, and the other girls portraying the Five Wives deliver strong performances that showcase varying degrees of resilience in the face of utter misogyny.

Mad Max: Fury Road gives the 2015 summer blockbuster season the jolt of energy we didn't know it needed.  Simply put, this raging movie is one hell of a ride.  With some impressive filmmaking and performances from all involved, the film immerses you in its chaotic world and doesn't let go until the end credits hit.  Mad Max: Fury Road gets a sober rating.  Don't miss this one.