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MAD MAX FURY ROAD: gravity optional

Thirty years after MAD MAX : BEYOND THE THUNDERDOM director George Miller brings MAD MAX : FURY ROAD. This new chapter in the post-acocalyptic saga includes an A-team cast made up of Tom Hardy (THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, BRONSON), Charlize Theron (MONSTER, PROMETHEUS), Zoe Kravitz (X-MEN FIRST CLASS, GOOD KILL) and Nicholas Hoult (YOUNG ONES, X-MEN : DAYS OF FUTUR PAST) .

In this sequel Max is kidnapped by a group of soldiers who need to use his blood to regenerate. Meanwhile, the Imperator Furiosa whips herself into frenzied rebellion against her boss Immortan Joe. She grabs his wives and takes off.

Theron’s Imperator Furiosa is a rogue lieutenant of the Immortan who goes on the run with his wives in hope of finding a place called the Green Place. Max eventually joins them, first as a prisoner and then a member of her crew. Miller immerses in a lawless manichean world devoid of pity or mercy. It’s entirely surreal. Or is it ?

Hardy succeeds in the role of Max and carves himself a place as a reliable descendent of the character originally played by Mel Gibson. The British actor impresses with his charisma, although Miller doesn’t linger too long on his already-familiar lead character. Ultimately you’re left to wonder if there is much, after all, to Mad Max or is it just that Miller doesn’t give Hardy sufficient time and plot to really push the role to its existential limits. On the other hand, limiting Mad Max’s breadth gives second roles some room to breathe and assert themselves.

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A still from the film

Charlize Theron delivers a nuanced performance as the patently-crazy Furiosa—but then, she’s one of the best actresses of her generation—and is a pleasure to watch (more please !). Another character who’s just as unforgettable as Furiosa is Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), a creature who ultimately gets served up giant-size humiliation but who is truly the top-shelf vilain of this new opus of the MAD MAX series. Finally, Nicholas Hoult’s Nux is completely unrecognizable with his shaved head and his makeup. Nux is another crazed bastard of the lot, a deviant two-faced opportunist who brings an interesting new layer to the energy between Furiosa and Max.

The pace of FURY ROAD is non-stop and you will feel more than mildly agitated watching this film. George Miller turns the speedometer to max., at least for the first half of the film (things go a little quieter in the second bit) and from go ! blasts an awesome car chase in the desert that soon meets a sand storm head on. Before long the screen churns with bodies, cars and other things flying at us from the screen—gravity : optional.

The film’s pounding soundtrack, some of it provided by the Immortan’s own band (trekking along the desert on a rig with its own flame-spitting guitar to boot), helps blast the chase along. FURY ROAD, which I saw at the last Cannes Festival in May, is exhilarating, mad and constantly moving, with hardly ever a chance for the audience to relax and breathe in the first half. Two enthusiastic thumbs up for this film currently playing in theaters, although if you do not see it in 3-D you won’t miss much. There’s enough show to go around in 2-D.

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A still from MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

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