(director/writer: George Miller; screenwriters: Brendan McCarthy/Nico Lathouris; cinematographer: John Seale; editor: Margaret Sixel; music: Tom Holkenborg; cast: Tom Hardy (Max), Charlize Theron (Imperato Furiosa), Nicholas Hoult (Nux), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Immortan Joe), Zoë Kravitz (Toast), Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Splendid), Riley Keough (Capable), Abbey Lee (the Dag), Courtney Eaton (Fragile); Runtime: 120; MPAA Rating: R; producers: George Miller/Doug Mitchell/P J Voeten; Warner Bros. Pictures; 2015)

“Richly visual reboot

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The 72-year-old Aussie emergency room-doctor-turned filmmaker, George Miller (“Lorenzo’s Oil”/”Babe: Pig in the City”/”Happy Feet”), masterfully helms this technically competent, loud, brutal, compelling, and richly visual reboot of his cult post-apocalyptic action-fantasy series (it’s the 4th installment, that began with Mel Gibson in 1979). It’s basically The Road Warrior, but on steroids. It features sparse talk, well-choreographed action sequences, good chemistry between the stars and a long cartoonish vehicle chase across the post-apocalyptic sun-parched Wasteland. There’s one episodic chase scene after another until the weaker viewers might get car sick, as there’s no rest-stops for the weary from the drawn-out increasingly tiresome chase. It also makes little sense, and I tried seeing it twice to see what I may be missing. But I determined it’s not worth the effort–this isn’t Homer, after all, it’s merely a diverting big-budget pop-culture film that has little knowledge to add in exploring the world’s culture scene.

During the time of a water shortage and ruin, the evil despot ruler Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), looking Village People smart in his toothy, death’s-head face mask, gets on the case of his ally Imperato Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and she rebels against his tyrannical rule. The scene takes place some forty years into the post apocalyptic period in Australia.

In the opening scene, things look bad for the captured Max, as the War Boys, the despot’s thuggish army, have Max wearing a trident-like mask and he is strapped onto the front of a marauding car. While Max is in dire straits, the despot and his minions are chasing down the rebel warrior Furiosa. She has a mechanical left arm. The gutsy lady has taken with her 5 of the ruler’s wives (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton and Riley Keough). We learn she’s hoping to return to her faraway homeland, the Green Place, and find shelter there.

The film was mainly shot in Africa’s Namib Desert by John Seale. Miller co-writes it with Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouri.