I’m a man, and I survived the Mad Max: Fury Road experience. I
Actually, the movie gave me life. Before it, I was dying. The lack of strong female characters in action movies was collapsing my lungs, but when Charlize Theron took to the screen with a robot arm and a mission to liberate a group of strong-willed women, Hollywood pushed air back into my lungs one scene at a time.
The Mad Max films have always been a spectacle, there’s no debating that. But it has also had its toes buried deep in a political message. In the 1970s, the films focused on the oil crisis, but the latest release focuses on something completely different: reproductive rights.
It’s the newest message that has ‘meninists’ from emptying their wallets to experience one of the best action films in recent years. They’re sitting in their homes just imagining all the high speed fighting, explosions and tornadoes of fire, without a single woman in the drivers seat.
Let them stay there. But for those who care less about what gender is kicking ass, let me map out why you should see the newest addition in the Mad Max franchise.
1. The action. George Miller, the now 70-year-old director who brought us the first three Mad Max films, knows how to entertain an audience with jaw dropping sequences of post-apocalyptic doom. The two-hour film is and almost uninterrupted chase sequence filled with mind-boggling, startlingly visceral car craziness than just about any film in history. Miller hasn’t lost his touch, and driving home from the theater was almost unbearably boring compared to the film’s road rage.
2. Tom Hardy. Hardy had big shoes to fill portraying Mad Max. When one thinks of Max, they think of Mel Gibson. The films catapulted Gibson into stardom, and to many fans Max isn’t really Max unless it’s Gibson. But Hardy did it. He didn’t have much dialogue, and was almost reprising his role as Bane with a mask on the entire time, but the character didn’t need to say much to make a statement. He didn’t disappoint.
3. The women. I mentioned earlier how Hollywood has a serious lack of strong female characters that don’t have to rely on a man to get her out of a bad situation. The women in Fury Road are the complete opposite. The entire plot is about their escape from the movie’s main antagonist, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played Mad Max’s original villain Toecutter), who claims these five healthy women as his breeding property. The women make it known that they are not with the single most important line in the movie, “We are not things.” These women are not damsels in distress. They hold their own. One highlight is an eight-month pregnant woman scaling the side of a war machine. Why? Because she can.
4. Charlize Theron. Make no mistake, the movie may be titled Mad Max: Fury Road but the movie was all about Theron, who played Imperator Furiosa. As the title boosts, she owned that road. Her mission, help Immortan Joe’s beautiful brides escape his terror. She did things even Mad Max couldn’t do. Cue to a scene where he continually fails to shoot an approaching vehicle and is put in his place when Theron takes the rifle, uses his shoulder as a stabilizer, tells him not to breath and takes the car out herself. She is smart. She is tough. She is something that Hollywood desperately needed.
Hey action directors take notes, because George Miller just made your movies look like child’s play.