The world is becoming a desert wasteland after society collapses. Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is captured and taken to Immortan Joe’s (Hugh Keats-Byrne) Citadel by his Warboys. Max is used as a blood-bag, forced to give blood to a sick Warboy called Nux (Nicholas Hoult). Imperator Furiosa (a wonderful Charlize Theron) is sent in her armored war-rig to get gasoline and ammunition. When Joe discovers that she has taken away his five wives, he goes after her with his army, calling in the help of Gas Town and the Bullet Farm.
Nux joins the battle with Max strapped to the front of his car. Furiosa drives into a sandstorm, evading all her pursuers but Nux. Max escapes and restrains Nux, but the car is destroyed. After the storm, Max finds Furiosa repairing her rig with the wives—Capable (Riley Keough), Cheedo, (Courtney Eaton), Toast (Zoe Kravitz), the Dag (Abbey Lee), and the pregnant Splendid Angharad (Rose Huntington-Whiteley). Max steals the rig but takes the others with him. Nux boards the rig and tries to kill Furiosa but is thrown overboard. Furiosa drives through a biker-gang-ruled canyon. She has a deal, but they turn on her when Joe’s army arrives.
Max and Furiosa fight off bikers as Joe’s car breaks through the blockade. Joe catches up and puts Nux on board, but once again he fails to kill Furiosa. Angharad and her unborn son are killed. Furiosa tells Max that they are escaping to the Green Place from her childhood. Capable finds Nux on the rig and they bond. He turns and helps the escapees. After driving through swamps and deserts, they come upon a mysterious woman from the Vuvalini Clan, whom Furiosa remembers. Furiosa is broken-hearted to learn that the swamp they have just passed through is the Green Place. They now want to cross the salt flats in search of a new home. Max convinces Furiosa to return to the Citadel, which is now undefended. They can trap Joe and his army in the bikers’ canyon.
So, the first half of the movie is one long car-chase in one direction, and the second half is one long car-chase coming back. There are astonishing battles. Furiosa is seriously wounded and Max fights Joe’s huge son Rictus Erectus (Nathan Jones). Joe captures Toast, who distracts him so Furiosa can kill him. Nux sacrifices himself to help them escape the army. Max transfuses his blood to save Furiosa’s life. Back at the Citadel, the people rejoice when they see Joe’s body, and Furiosa and the wives take power. Max heads off into the desert again.
Thirty years is a long time to wait for a sequel, but it was worth it. The idea began in 1987 and filming did not begin until 2011. The film was co-written, co-produced, and directed by George Miller. The screenplay was by Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris. It underperformed at the box-office for some reason but was a critical triumph. It is now considered one of the greatest action films of all time. It received ten Oscar nominations and won six of them. Mel Gibson would not return as Max, but Tom Hardy is great, and Charlize Theron is glorious, even missing an arm, shaven-headed, and covered in crap. Once again, Akira Kurosawa was an inspiration. The movie is a triumphant grotesquerie, cranked up to 11 and a fitting end to the Road Warrior trilogy.
In the early days, when they were thinking of hiring Mel Gibson, the production received a letter from Gibson’s wife saying that his family would like to visit him on set, but could they tell her if there were a lot of Muslims in Namibia? Later, they decided to have a younger Mad Max and hired Tom Hardy instead. Mel Gibson saw the movie and loved it. The eye-popping chase scenes were almost devoid of CGI. There were real vehicles, real dust, real acrobats from the Cirque de Soleil, and real fire. All the vehicles were fully functional: The Peacemaker was a Ripsaw Tank chassis with a Valiant Charger body. The War-Rig was based on a Czechoslovakian all-wheel-drive military vehicle. The Gigahorse was two stacked Coup-DeVilles with dual supercharged V8 engines. Of the 150 vehicles built for the movie, 15 survived.
Charlize Theron’s stunt double and Tom Hardy’s rehearsal double fell in love and married on the movie, then started a stunt performer school. There was serious conflict on the set between Hardy and Theron, for which he apologized later. He did, however, act like a dick. The production had to move to Namibia early because unusual rains in Australia filled the desert with lovely wildflowers. The Doof Warrior, whose guitar shoots flame, was actually played by Australian singer/songwriter Sean Hape, known as Iota. George Miller, famous for the Mad Max movies, also directed Babe: Pig in the City and Happy Feet. Riley Keough (Capable) is Elvis Presley’s grand-daughter. A hint: whenever the camera focuses on the skulls on the War Rig, someone will die in the next scene.