Summary: Let’s start the New Year by looking at Mad Max: Fury Road and seeing how we have changed and where we’re going. The reviewers are, as usual, blind to anything but the conventional perspective. It is a stunningly politically incorrect film, debunks radical feminism, and shows two possible futures for America. Spoilers!
“This is the post-apocalyptic movie to end all post-apocalyptic movies. ”
— George Miller in The Independent.
Review of Mad Max: Fury Road
As a Boy Scout leader, I was taught to look backwards as well as forward when hiking. Seeing the trail behind you provides perspective about what lies ahead. This works in many aspects of life, and the start of a new year is a time to do this. Films can help. They provide snapshots of America, allowing us to see how we have changed. For example, Casablanca (1942) is a story about honor and duty. It is a tale about highly differentiated men and women. They hold each other to high standards of masculinity and femininity.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) tells an opposite kind of story. Like The Handmaid’s Tale, it is a vision of toxic masculinity in a world ruin by men. Both nuclear war and eco-collapse! The fourth in this series, it consists of nothing but full-bore roaring action. There are two very different ways to see it.
Fury Road tells of a strong women (Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa). She is a modern kick-ass heroine with “a shaved head and a fierce leather outfit …in a fiery feminist” parable. She leads a rebellion, aided by five angelic women (also kick-ass heroines), a group of kick-ass motorcycle-riding grandmas, and two men (Max and Nux) – against an evil tyrant and his army of monstrous men. The numbers of bad guys mean nothing against their grrl-power. After two hours of violent car chases, Fury Road comes to a happy conclusion.
The critics loved it. With 97% positive, it has the second highest Rotten Tomatoes rating for an action-adventure film. “Mad Max: Fury Road voted greatest Australian film this century by critics.” How could they not? Could Soviet critics pan films about the glorious Soviet State in which the role of Joseph Stalin was played by – Joseph Stalin!
The plot of Fury Road has less logic and depth than that of Independence Day or Transformers, with less fun. The acting excited the critics, although it is mostly gross expressions of basic emotions. Like a Acting 101 class, but with experienced actors as students. The dialog consists of a little exposition, separated by grunts. The characters are cardboard cutouts. Most especially the leading: Tom Hardy as Max and Hugh Keays-Byrne as Joe. The good ones are noble, the bad ones are devils. All are inarticulate.
See how our tastes have changed by contrasting Fury Road with Air Force One (1997). Its action was just as intense, the dialog much more so. Both sides powerfully explained the reasons for their actions. The bad guy got some of the best lines and most tense drama. Such as the bad guy (chillingly played by Gary Oldman) toys with the President’s 13-year-old daughter (Liesel Matthews), showing her and her father that he can do whatever he wants with her.
“A kinetic, hallucinatory, boldly feminist chase flick that, with its vibrant color palette, harrowing stunt work and show-don’t-tell style of yarn-spinning, leaves every Marvel movie and every Fast & Furious in its irradiated dust.”
— By Chris Klimek at NPR.
The real Fury Road
“Feminism is the assertion that men are evil and naturally want to harm women, followed by pleas to men to solve all of women’s problems.”
— Dalrock’s Law of Feminism.
Let’s take off our ideological glasses, so like the green glasses worn in the Emerald City of the The Wizard of Oz. Clearly seen, Fury Road is a two hour demonstration of Dalrock’s Law. The men are evil. The five pretty angels are imprisoned by their evil leader. The women wish to escape. Only Max’s fighting skill and ferocity – and Nux’s heroic sacrifice – make this possible.
Imperator Furiosa is the central character. Her judgement is awful. Her two key decisions are suicidal. Her initial escape would have quickly ended without Max’s aid. Her Plan B was to lead everyone on motorcycles off to endless salt flats. Max suggested a rational alternative.
Immortan Joe is the unsung hero of this world. In an inhospitable wasteland he has created an industrial oasis. A fleet of vehicles is maintained and powered. Water is pumped up from deep in the Earth, feeding his people. Armaments are manufactured and an army raised to defend it. Most importantly, the people are organized and chaos held at bay. In a post-apocalyptic world, that is a fantastic accomplishment.
The film ends on a sad note. With Joe dead, there is no unifying center. Furiosa has no obvious way to establish a new political regime. A destructive struggle for rule seems likely. And Max, who makes Furiosa powerful, leaves. Civilization is a fragile flower in good times, and even more so in the End Times.
Which vision of Fury Road is correct?
Fury Road describes two visions of our future. Only one can be correct. Almost everyone believes the first story, but that does not mean the second is not true.
Or, you can see our future in the two pictures of Charlize Theron. Which one will be our future?
Fury Road is available for rent or purchase at Amazon.
For more information
For a more detailed and insightful review see Locke Peterseim’s “Our Burning Skull: The Dark, Brutal Ritual of Mad Max: Fury Road.”
Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.
- “Passengers” – see it because the critics hate it.
- See Solo, a Star Wars film that says much about America.
- Incredibles 2, a Father’s Day gift from Disney.
- See “Constantine” – challenging your ideas about God and the good.
- Mary Poppins shows us how we’ve changed since 1964.
- Aquaman rocks. Also, the future of superhero flicks.