People had a lot to say when Mad Max Fury Road hit theaters. It was hailed as a feminist movie. It was seen as a warning to future masses that if we didn’t smarten up as a civilization, nuclear holocaust and severe drought would be the outcome. It was seen as a movie based on revenge and redemption.
I saw it as a gritty, brutally tough film in which you needed to have a backbone and an escape plan in order to survive any and all obstacles thrown in your way. My perspective on this movie was that of an awe struck fan because I love Tom Hardy as an actor and think that Charlize Theron is freaking AWESOME. The two of them paired up as the main protagonists was a dream come true for me, as a science fiction and fantasy film fan.
Max Rockatansky is a tortured man – physically and mentally scarred – he drifts through the desert, unkempt, wary and scattered. After an intense car chase and fight sequence, he is caught and used as a universal blood donor for the Nux, one of the War Boys – a tribe of young teens and men who are bald, painted white and follow Immortan Joe – a sick, powerful and sinister man. Immortan Joe has control over the water and resources in the land. Themes of rich versus poor, bounty versus desert and good versus evil is ever present during Mad Max Fury Road. Immortan Joe is as evil as they come: fighting to control lives, enslaving boys to serve in his army, terrorizing the terrain and using and abusing women to breed the ‘perfect’ sons. He has 5 wives that he keeps captive; repeated rapes give the women no other choice but to flee.
Enter Imperator Furiosa. Charlize Theron is KICK ASS in this role. As one of Immortan Joe’s lieutenants, she is charged with delivering guzzoline to the nearby town of Gas Town and returning back for her next assignment. This woman is on a mission and there are moments throughout the movie that we see she’s wounded, as in haunted by her past. Only this time, as she drives off road, it quickly becomes apparent that she has more than fuel on board. The fact that Furiosa has smuggled the five wives – Splendid, Capable, Toast, Dag and Cheedo – and made a deal with some biker gangs for safe passage through a canyon in order to get away from Immortan Joe, has now made her a traitor and the enemy. Immortan Joe enlists the help of the Bullet Farmer and Gas Town warriors.
Resources such as water and guzzoline are scarce; those who control it wield a great deal of power. After an intense sand storm –
which sees Furiosa being pursued relentlessly by the War Boys, Nux (with Max strapped to the car) and the rest of Joe’s crew, the driving becomes intense, fast paced and frantic. Several fights and misunderstandings later, Max boards the War Rig (he drives off, but Furiosa’s kill switch prevents anyone from going very far – smart feature) and ends up bringing Furiosa back on board. The tattered crew, including Nux as a stow away make their way for a place called “The Green Place” – and it almost sounds too good to be true. In a harsh and unforgiving desert climate, the thought of a lush, fertile spot such as this one sounds like heaven on earth.
After many miles of driving, constant attacks and mechanical ruptures and rapid repairs, Max, Furiosa and the wives head to the Green Place, only to discover a naked woman (“That’s bait,” quotes Max) and a tribe called the Vuvalini. These women are what is left of Furiosa’s clan: as a child, she was stolen. Makes you wonder what trials and trauma she had to endure. When you look at Furiosa, you see a very attractive woman who is tough, mechanically inclined and well, to be blunt, has a mechanical arm. There’s a backstory to how that happened, I’m sure. Devastated to find that the Green Place no longer exists, all is lost. Either they keep driving until they come across some place to call home or they turn back around and take back the water, guzzoline and beat down the oppression that is Immortan Joe.
Several tragedies and sacrifices are made along the way – with some terse fight scenes taking place inside, on top of and outside the War Rig – and you are rooted to you seat, cheering for the good guys and screaming for the bad guys to waste away in the desert heat. In a dystopian world where women are prey to sexual violence and only seen as baby breeders, Furiosa stands out as a survivor. Max isn’t too shabby himself, proving that he can literally roll with the punches, while decimating the enemy garrison. Let’s just say that Immortan Joe gets his just desserts in the end and the people are freed from his sick reign of terror. Furiosa gets her revenge and her redemption. Max gets his freedom and disappears in the crowd, preferring to go on his own.
If you like your movies with a raw, gritty edge and enjoy amped up cars and trucks, killer audio tracks and fight sequences that are tightly choreographed, then this is a movie that you won’t want to miss. If you were a fan of the original Mad Max Movies, you will enjoy this one, as it brings on a unique perspective to Max, while pairing him up with an equally brilliant and powerful protagonist.
Find Mad Max: Fury Road premiering on HBO on Saturday, January 9 at 8:00pm.