Rev up the engines.
If there’s something that Mad Max: Fury Road does better than every other action movie you’ve seen. Everything. That is one bold statement, but hear me out. Every action movie is based not on a premise, but as a vehicle for an individual. Sometimes, it’s the lead actor and sometimes it’s the lead actor and some of his friends. Another times, it’s made as an escapist fantasy in which you can relate to the star on screen and dream yourself a hero. But rarely, meaning almost never, is action the number one reason for the film.
And that’s the reason why I believe that George Miller is really a director behind the wheel of his own film. He’s not making this for you and me, he’s not making a fantasy where you can be the winner in every scene, he’s not pandering to the audience. He’s making a film in which the action is the lead and the main subject of every scene. That means whoever is in the scene becomes the action. Nobody is waiting for anybody in particular to save you every time.
The thing that I love about this film and I hope remains undisturbed if this franchise is reborn is that Mad Max is no longer the story. He shouldn’t be. Mad Max is there to be that fortuitous element that tips the scales in favor of the oppressed, in defense of those who fight tyranny. He’s not the main hero, but both the familiar and foreign road warrior that joins your cause almost without meaning to do it. It’s his destiny to make other people reach theirs. A destiny reinforced by mad hallucinations that seem to drive him towards adventure. Don’t expect him to be a mere witness, he does deliver more than few of the killing blows.
The hero of the story, if there has to be one, is Furiosa. Imperator Furiosa if you prefer. In this world, war boys dream of being Imperators – a title reserved to the best drivers. Furiosa herself commands a War Rig, a tractor trailer built for battle. Her self appointed mission is to find the Many Mothers and the world she came from. Along for the ride are the five wives of Immortan Joe. They are selected for breeding. Queen Splendid herself is noticeably pregnant with Joe’s son. But Joe doesn’t want to give up his wives and goes after Furiosa with all his War Boys.
It’s amazing the level of depth in world building in this movie. Each of the War Boys has their own steering wheel and wants to become an Imperator. They all pray to their King for the chance to die for him so he can lead them to Valhalla. Philosophy and religion sanded down to guts and glory. The vehicles are epic. The characters are epic. Immortan Joe, the ruler of the Citadel, is a walking corpse that drapes himself in plastic armor and a breathing mask. He controls the most precious of elements, water. When Furiousa veers away from her task into her own quest, Joe charges after him with an army of crazy and disturbed.
Max is along for the ride courtesy of Nux, a War Boy that needs his blood supply to charge his own veins. Nux is also an interesting character, who’s got more than one surprise under his pale skin and I’m not talking about the two tumors he calls Larry and Barry. The way that Max ends up being a part of Furiousa’s party is almost incidental. He’s not the most interesting character, but the bystander that got in the way.
Extremely recommended. It’s over the top, balls to wall, pedal to the metal an action film. Nobody gets to stand idly by and get rescued. Go get your life or have it taken away from you. With visceral and gut-wrenching moments back to back, you’ll be tired before the movie gives you a chance to breathe which does not happen right away. But once you get that rare pause, it takes just a moment before you’re ready to go again.
(Sources: Mad Max: Fury Road)