Mad_Max_Fury_Road_posterIt’s difficult to imagine a better choice to replace the great Mel Gibson in the upcoming reboot of the Mad Max series than Tom Hardy, and the trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road, confirms it. He has just the right look for the part, and with the Mad Max films, looks are everything, because if you listen to the dialogue you’re sure to go mad yourself. Add Charlize Theron as a fierce lady-warrior ally, and that’s a very sound start to your cast.

George Miller’s Mad Max kickstarted the apocalyptic thriller genre back in 1979, with a relatively straightforward crime-vengeance narrative. It was with the first sequel, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, that Miller really began to indulge his imagination and introduce increasingly bizarre characters and ramp up the stunts and visual effects to 11. Since then, Mad Max has been a cultural touchstone even though there have been only three movies in the series, the third being Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Arriving on the heels of the Arab oil embargo, bad economic times, high crime rates, and foreign policy humiliations of the United States under President Jimmy Carter, Mad Max struck a chord with Americans dismayed at the rapid decline of their nation’s power, prosperity, and prestige.

After Mad Max 2 (1981), however, the United States began to recover from the blight of the 1970s and began a long run of economic growth that did not end until 2008. It makes great sense that the series went dormant for those three decades, and that a new Mad Max film is coming along only now, three decades after Thunderdome, as the nation’s economy remains in the dumps and social problems (such as police killings of citizens, riots, and economic inequality) are on the rise.

That sense of apocalyptic doom is in the air again, as it was in the Carter years. It’s time for cinematic visions of worldwide catastrophe, as in recent films such as The Road, The Book of Eli, Legion, I Am Legend, Watchmen, World War Z, and so many others.

Miller says Fury Road will be an almost continuous chase, with little dialogue, and visuals will be the most important element. If those statements and the trailer are any indication of the film’s effect, the Fury Road will spur a strong revival of the series and its cultural influence.

Here’s the trailer: