Contemporary Review / Review

Mad Max Fury Road

by Alistair Bennie Underwood

MM(2)

Mad Max Fury Road is the kind of movie that only gets better and better the more you watch it and the more you dive into the lore of the world.  The fourth and most recent film in the Mad Max series, created by George Miller, stars Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy as Furiosa and Max, respectively. It is an adrenaline shot straight to the brain, a feminist think piece, and a modern legend akin to Superman all at the same time.

To really appreciate this movie, you have to be a fan of the previous installments. With the original Mad Max starring Mel Gibson in the title role, the film was made with the sense of a gritty exploitation film. The sequels, Mad Max 2 and Mad Max Thunderdome were survivalist and action adventure in nature. Fury Road came out thirty years after Thunderdome and is something completely new, yet simultaneously something that has always been associated with the series before. That isn’t to say that the film doesn’t make sense if you don’t know the context of the other films. You can go into this film completely blind and have a wonderful time. Miller has described these films as being “stories of future legends.” The character Max Rockatansky is this world’s Hercules and these are his adventures.

The movie takes place in the future, whether it is near or far is unclear,  but civilization is past dystopia to humankind huddling in the outback in tribes. It is all very grim; there is no hope for saving the world. The only thing the people can do is attempt to survive. That is exactly what Max is doing before he is captured and taken to Immortan Joe’s Citadel. Meanwhile, a high ranking officer,Furiosa, frees Immortan Joe’s sex slaves which sparks a chase that goes across the entire desert, involving Russian cannibals, dirt bike rider with explosives, and gorgeous visuals in the hope that they can escape to a ‘Green Place’ where there is fresh water and food. The entire film feels like it belongs in the early 1980s when crazy exploitation films and space travel and mad rulers were in charge of the box office. But, it has all been updated and revolutionized for a modern audience.

The story has been simplified to being a chase movie with clear good guys and bad guys. Both of which are so awesome and memorable that you find yourself actually squirming in your seat when either shows up. While the story is simple, you feel as if you are only scratching the surface of a larger piece of work, a greater lore or fantasy story that you are only permitted to peek at. For example, the audience only gets a glimpse at  the horde of brainwashed henchman that worship Immortan Joe. It gives a greater reason as to why these people are faceless and so willing to toss themselves to their deaths,something that many other movies always fail to explain.

The acting by Charlize Theron, Hugh Keays-Byrne, and Tom Hardy is what gives the movie a lot of the emotional punch that so many action adventure movies lack. They get hurt and spend time reflecting and attempting to overcome this paint. They don’t simply shrug and embrace a toxic masculinity complex that encourages the squashing of emotions. Instead, they hurt then find a way to be productive and do what they can. If me gushing about this absolute masterpiece of great writing, amazing explosions, deep meaningful characters, and powerful imagery isn’t enough to get you to watch it, then I heartily suggest that you find the movie and watch it yourself.

Mad Max Fury Road is a ten out of ten. Maybe even higher as I am going to go and re-watch it to try and find more things that I missed the first million times I watched it.

5 out of 5 stars

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