Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road is a movie everyone should see. It’s not just an action movie. It’s not just a car chase movie. It’s not just a fun summer blockbuster. It’s a subversive film that operates on two levels. The surface level is a high-octane, 2-hour-long action extravaganza, but below the surface it provides social commentary for the patriarchal society in which we all live. This fluid combination of excitement and societal themes elevate Mad Max: Fury Road far above anything else playing in cinemas today.
The original Mad Max films created a popular version of post-apocalyptic Earth. The “fuel wars” dragged humanity down, and obliterated the lush, green planet on which we currently live. The future is a desolate wasteland. Gasoline is scarce, and a gallon is worth more than a human life. It feels like a fully realized world, and has been copied and parodied a million times since the first movie was released in 1979.
30 years after the last film came out, the new film picks up without missing a beat. The post-apocalyptic future is just as bleak and intriguing as it ever was. It’s dirty and dangerous, and it envelopes the audience in a sense of wonder and despair. The increased production values and budget help to make the world more immersive and realistic. Director George Miller had a clear vision for how he wanted his wasteland to look, and he presents it spectacularly.

The plot of the movie is fairly straightforward. The villainous Immortan Joe is the leader of the Citadel, and he lords over his wives, his sons, and his peasants. He has several wives/daughters which he impregnates constantly in order to give him a host of men to do his bidding. They comprise his army of white-faced warriors, resembling the near dead more than the living. Joe (also called “Dad” by his warriors) is almost god-like, and most of his sons have never even spoken to him. Joe has dealings with the leaders of other nearby towns. They trade fuel and supplies for women.
The movie begins with Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, who is the leader of Joe’s convoy meant to bring some of his daughters to another town. However, Furiosa has other plans. She veers her “war rig” off course, heading for the “green place” where she grew up. She means to escape from Joe’s clutches and takes all of his enslaved daughters with her. Naturally, Joe isn’t too happy about this, and sends his warriors after the war rig.
What follows is probably the best car chase ever committed to film. Mad Max: Fury Road is pretty much a 2-hour-long car chase. There are breaks here and there to flesh out the characters and plot, but the vast majority of the film is stuffed with action. Even though it is so heavy on the action, the action doesn’t get boring. You’d be surprised with how many cool and different things the filmmakers were able to come up with. The chase is always doing something new to keep the action fresh and the audience engaged. It’s heart-pumping, and occasionally tense enough to put you on the edge of your seat. At one point, one of Joe’s daughters, a pregnant one, dies. This signals to the audience that all bets are off, and no one, not even the main characters, is safe from death.
But what about Max?
Max is captured in the beginning of the film, and doesn’t really get to do much for the first 30 minutes or so. He is tied up by Joe’s warriors and brought along on their pursuit as a “blood bag.” He’s Type O Negative, the universal donor, and if anyone needs a transfusion, they plan to use him. It was sort of a clever way of getting Max involved in the action. Eventually, he manages to break free and joins up with Furiosa’s group, not out of the goodness of his heart, but simply to use them as a means of escaping from Joe’s crazy warriors.
Furiosa is actually the main character. Her motives are more fleshed out, and she certainly has far more lines of dialogue than Max. You really get a sense of who she is, where her moral compass points, and what she is willing to do to survive. She is played expertly by Theron. Without a talented actress to sell the character, the movie could have been terrible. Fortunately, her character’s large and subtle emotions are equally portrayed with precision.
Max, on the other hand, is there to facilitate Furiosa’s success. He is a tool wielded by her, engaging in whatever task needs to be done at any given time. Do a couple of bad guys needs to be killed? Max does it. Does some extra fuel need to be spit into the engine? Max does it. He is a character meant to bring the audience to the wasteland and to present other peoples’ stories. His own story isn’t important. He exists as a constant while everyone else is moving and changing. And it works extremely well.
While the action scenes are incredible, the message the film portrays is even better. Let’s face facts, we don’t live in an equal society. Women still get paid less than men for the same job, are relegated to domestic duties in their households, don’t get to participate in jobs that are for men (e.g. military combat), and frequently become second-class citizens in all aspects of life.
Mad Max: Fury Road shatters those long-held patriarchal notions. Furiosa and her women break free from Joe’s male-dominated society. They want to forge their own world free from tyranny and sexual suppression. Furiosa, and other women in the film, kick a ton of ass all over the place. They can do whatever men can do, such as combat, such as driving, such as surviving. Gender doesn’t figure into the equation at all.
Essentially, Director Miller wants to show us that woman can do everything men can do. Sometimes they can do it better. They are not just vessels for reproduction. They are real people with thoughts, feelings, and motivations. They can be just as active and important part of society as any man. The women in this film are strong and fully realized characters.
While Max is indeed a male, and he certainly does help the women, he wasn’t absolutely required. Furiosa and her crew might have been successful without him. Sure, he’s important, and that’s where the next important message come in. Instead of repressing the other sex, men and women should always work together. They should be equal partners. When that happens, anything can be achieved.
An action movie with a message is a rare thing. An action movie that never lets up its incredible pace, and deftly tells a subversive tale is an even rarer thing. Mad Max: Fury Road is that rare film. It deserves to be seen by everyone. Even if you aren’t a fan of the genre, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. I hope that Hollywood will try to make more films like this in the future.
Verdict: Awesome

11 Responses to “Mad Max: Fury Road”

  1. 1 Themaster20000
    June 15, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    George Miller definitely did the female empowerment theme great,unlike what that hack Zack Snyder tired to do with that piece of shit Sucker Punch. I loved the limited use of CGI,which was only used when needed. Then the action scenes which all had a point in moving the plot forward.

  2. 3 Dober
    June 16, 2015 at 8:40 am

    I seem to be the only one who disklikes this movie.

    • June 16, 2015 at 9:29 am

      How can you dislike it? There’s nothing to dislike. It’s a perfect film.

      • 5 Dober
        June 17, 2015 at 12:53 am

        I actually dislike it for the reasons you like it.

        But mainly the movie is not a Mad Max movie. It’s about Charlize Theron and her female gang. Max has next to zero purpose to be in this movie. He acts totally dumb with all his grunting and finger pointing. Also he barely does anything relevant for the plot. The few scenes he is in could have been easily rewritten to be handled by the girls themselves with no actually need for Max. Max is a side character in his own movie.

        I know you adressed this “issue” in your review but therefore you liked it for what it is and I seem to dislike it because I expected something different. I might be cool with an hommage to the 70s and 80s exploitation genre but then don’t call it a Mad Max movie.

        Also the action is not violent enough for a post apocalyptic world. You barely see anyone getting killed anyways. Most happens off screen in the car chases. I wanted to see Max killing bad guys, taking revenge for being held as damn blood bag. The story about the girls sucked so hard I cannot even believe it. I don’t know if I liked it better if they acted more believable. But the girls not wanting anyone to get hurt, even befriending the warboy and stuff … it was so dumb and idiotic that I wanted the film to end the longer I watched it. Also the flashbacks sucked ass and had no purpose at all. Not even for nostalgia.

  3. June 16, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Goddam it, I really need to see the shit out of this movie. Great writeup, and glad to see a rare “awesome” rating for a movie from you, ol’ chum! 😉

  4. 8 pilotmkn
    June 18, 2015 at 9:58 am

    “Let’s face facts, we don’t live in an equal society. Women still get paid less than men for the same job”

    No they dont and this BS “fact” has been debunked a million ways from Sunday

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June 2015


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