A two-headed lizard and endless stretch of desert are the first signs that prove viewers been shifted into Max Rockatansky's world, where oil and water are the two buttons that control the entire universe. But there is more to his world.
For hardcore action lovers as well as the geeks, who have been waiting for 30 years for a follow-up to "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome", the two hours in the theatre is going to be a treat as it has all the things one expects in an action thriller. Mean machines, dusty, grubby men, tortured souls deprived of water, some babes wearing nothing but pieces of clothes, blasting punk rock music, the movie has it all; and of course, Charlize Theron at her unglamourous best.
The film opens with an impressive view of the Namibian desert and audiences are not allowed a moment of respite. After a brief history about his character, Max is seen in a car chase with hellish jalopies and is ultimately taken prisoner by these 'half-dead' followers of Immortan Joe.
Joe is a pale looking, old and weak martial who controls the water and oil of the region. The film also gives us a peek into the ground reality of prevalent society that is dominated by men. And in order to keep his legacy going, Joe keeps a group of women, 'the breeders', locked inside a cave. As the name suggests, they are just a vessel for carrying his children and the movie is about the journey of these women to a safe and distant "Green Place".
Furiosa, played by Theron, is the warlord's trusted lieutenant, who goes rogue in order to save the breeders, as it is later revealed that she was also taken to serve Joe when she was little, and now she does not want the girls to undergo the same fate.
Though the plot sounds rather simple, the journey itself will blow your mind away. And after all, for Miller it has always been the story of the journey and not about the destination. Films like "Happy Feet" and its sequel prove that Miller's story-telling technique mostly revolves around not-so-normal characters.
Tom Hardy's Max is a new character in itself. While no one can expect Mel Gibson like brilliance, Hardy builds his own Max and in some ways he has become successful in doing it. Hardy is all rough and tough and covered in dirt with the only skin show being the time when he was being tattooed on by the half-deads. And since there is very less dialogue in the movie, it is just Hardy's expressions and gestures that does not let the audiences' mind tune out.
This movie is yet another mind-blowing performance by Theron and though she does not play any of her glitzy, glamorous roles, the audience will love her as the one armed rebel, Furiosa, who is in search of redemption. She is strong and refuses to give up in in her moments of despair. She falls to her knees in despair when she is faced wit the harsh reality that her home is gone but still she hopes and wants to continue her journey even if it means she will most likely end up dead.
Her chemistry with Max is not infectious but once they get along with each other, they are like gasoline on fire. Both the actors weren't in talking terms during the shooting of the film but that doesn't show in the movie at all and they are totally in sync when it comes to shooting their enemies down.
The film though falling under the hardcore action genre, still has some moments of comic relief. Miller chooses to humour us with a weird guitarist that blazes out mighty metallic tracks with his equally weird guitar, each time the army goes out on an attack. Also, there are moments of respite in the tension between Max and Furiosa.
While Max might be the focal point of the movie, there are times when he is not the only one in the limelight. A scene shows Max trying to shoot the enemy vehicle from a distance, but he fails two times and surrenders the last shot to Furiosa, who nails the shot after warning Max not to breathe, proving that she is not the one to be overlooked.
Miller's use of CGI just comes short of the word brilliant and the way he has teamed it with Namibia's glorious landscape is just amazing. The sandstorm that engulfs everything, looks so real and frightening, that it will send a chill down everyone's spines. The tornadoes and the lightning gives the film those moments when the audiences just stare at the screens with their eyes wide open.
Despite its depressing and dark setting, the film gives way to a lot of hope. Audience will start to care for the characters even though they are rugged and haunted by their past. And though it has been 30 years since the previous Mad Max, it still is like the way it was supposed to be, plus the perfect music and the extremely real CGI.