Who’d have thought that a reboot of a 36-year-old Australian exploitation film, directed by a septuagenarian whose last contribution to cinema was the animated, dancing penguin sequel, Happy Feet 2, would be 2015’s boldest, and unashamedly fun action film of the year? But that is exactly what George Miller has done with this long-awaited fourth addition to the Mad Max franchise.
We return to the wastelands, Miller’s dystopian vision of the future for what is essentially a two hour car chase. Featuring heavy-metal armoured oil tankers, face painted fanatics, the War Boys, pole-vaulting from high speed vehicles, and a fully mobile, flame spewing rock band following the action while providing the soundtrack, it is a bombastic, 80-mile-an-hour fever dream. He sets a relentless pace, creating an exhausting yet devilishly enjoyable viewing experience.
Tom Hardy plays the practically mute title character with assurance, but it is Charlize Theron’s Furiosa who steals the show. An empowering, one-armed ass-kicker who inspires the concubines of cult leader Immortan Joe to rise up against their oppressor. Fully rounded female characters with well explained and justified motivations are as rare in big blockbusters as successful franchise reboots. For these achievements and many more, George Miller deserves all the plaudits he’s been getting.