By Ilan Rich
What a Movie!
Current children and young adults probably did not grow up watching the Mad Max movies, which came out in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Before the creation of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Mad Max was not as much of a household name as some other movies, such as Star Wars, which became adapted later on. George Miller, the director of all the Mad Max movies, didn’t hold back when trying to make Fury Road not only appeal to the original Mad Max fans, but also to the young adults who had never heard of the original movie.
As the movie begins one thing becomes clear: all preconceived notions of a post-apocalyptic world have to be left at the door. This movie is in a different league with other movies set in the near future. Humans have wasted all of the resources on earth, and what is left is a desert wasteland. The resources are controlled by a few and everyone else is at their mercy. Leaders have formed armies of War Boys who will sacrifice their lives for the promise of an afterlife. The most precious resource is Aqua Cola, or known today as water (what a concept). In fact milk is a more accessible commodity than water.
The title character Max is constantly on the run in his pursuit to be controlled by no one. This pursuit is futile as he is captured within the first minutes on screen. His captors make him into a blood bag (as he is a universal donor), and take him to the Citadel where the audience meets Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Bryne), Nux (Nicholas Holt), and Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). Joe is the Citadel’s leader and Nux is a warrior for Joe’s army. Furiosa is the driver for the Citadel who picks up gasoline (also a scarce commodity). When she steals a truck and some of Joe’s other prized resources, Joe goes after her.
The rest of the film is essentially a car chase between Furiosa and the leaders of the Citadel. This doesn’t become disinteresting, as Miller makes sure that not all of the film is high paced and full of action. There are some slower moments when the audience gets to learn who the characters are and what drives them, but it takes place while on the run nonetheless.
A strength of this film is not only the incredible action sequences but the underlying messages throughout. One clear message is the flaws that are shown in a system that delegates vital resources to the 1%. Yes, in the middle of a car race in a post-apocalyptic world, commentary is made against monopolies and the few controlling the many.
The role of female characters is also very important in this film. The title character is Tom Hardy, and in the past Hardy has played super macho characters such as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. It would not be outlandish to suspect that he would be the dominant alpha character in this film as will. That is not the case though. The strongest character in the film is Imperator Furiosa who is not only the best driver, but also has the deadliest sniper shot. She eventually meets up with a band of women who have been able to survive in the desert. They represent some of the most badass women you will see featured on screen. These women were also able to do something Max never could; live freely. It is no coincidence that Miller decided to make all the tyrannical rulers fat old men and the powerful fighters women. Too often women are portrayed as weaker or having fatal flaws in cinema. Miller shows what it means to drive like a girl, shoot like a girl, and punch like a girl. People have lauded the film for having feminist undertones, and it is indeed great that women are portrayed the way they are. Miller gives the other 50% their due in a post-apocalyptic world devoid of equality. It is time for the rest of Hollywood to follow suit.
Mad Max: Fury Road features some of the most explosive and entertaining action sequences seen in cinema. This movie should appeal to those who crave fast paced car chases and fighting. What is unique about this action movie though is that it has substance. There is nothing empty about this film. This film has been by far the best movie of the year for any genre. I implore you all to see it.
4.5 out of 5