“Oh, what a day! What a lovely day!” – Nux
George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road is poetry in motion at its finest. It features spectacular car chases that involve more than a hundred kick-ass vehicles with spiked wheels, acrobatic motorcycle stunts and half-naked men who jump from one moving vehicle to another like deadly phantoms.
The visceral feast that Mad Max: Fury Road offers belies the straightforward nature of its story – escaping a tyrant and surviving the road to hell. It is set in the future, after a nuclear holocaust that made the world barren. Red sand fills the landscape as far as the eyes could see.
Water, and to some extent, gasoline are rationed by powder-covered, transparent vest-encased and mask-wearing Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Aside from water monopoly, he has a thriving garden in his high-rise abode called The Citadel, has a clan of loyal and war-tested white-as-ghost servants called the War Boys at his beck and call, drinks mother’s milk and has five gorgeous wives. Immortan Joe owns everything and everyone, and his ubiquitous Skull Gang stamp is a testament to the extent of his power.
Immortan Joe’s good life changes when one of his trusted lieutenants, the grease-loving Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), drives the war rig off course during a scheduled trip to get much-needed gasoline. During the manhunt, it is revealed that Furiosa steals rescues Immortan Joe’s five wives from having to bear his offspring and plans to deliver them to The Green Place.
In the middle of metals clashing against metals and bones, Furiosa and the five wives meet ex-prisoner of the War Boys, Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy). With metal grille stuck to his face, Max cannot string more than three words at a time in the first 20 minutes of the film. It is reminiscent of Hardy’s Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. The thought of not hearing Hardy speak a complete sentence the rest of the film must have entered the minds of the viewers, and there must be a collective sigh of relief when Furiosa asks him to take the grille off his face. The removal of the grille does not make Max a chatterbox, but at least his words are intelligible from that point forward. Besides, Max lets his biceps and guns do much of the talking.
While Max is a man of few words, War Boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult) is a bit loquacious. When Nux holds Max as his prisoner and blood donor, Nux talks about his chrome-colored fate in Valhalla once he dies in the Fury Road fighting for Immortan Joe. Due to a series of unfortunate events not his doing, Nux has a change of heart and makes the ultimate sacrifice. Although Nux is a War Boy, he can be considered a victim of circumstances, along with Immortan Joe’s wives, and his conscientious choices in the last third of the movie make one wish that he and his chrome lips get to Valhalla in the end.
At the start of Mad Max: Fury Road, Immortan Joe’s five wives seem like sacrificial lambs ready for slaughter. This is especially true when they hose themselves down with water in the middle of the burning red dessert, in translucent clothes. When Furiosa finds herself in a dangerous position, these seductresses change to warrior princesses in a blink of an eye. It is a welcome surprise that they turn out to be more than just gorgeous would-be breeders. They know how to fix the war rig, match bullets with compatible guns, drive the war machines, and put themselves in danger’s way to serve higher purpose.
The girl power revolution ignited by Furiosa and the wives reaches its climax with the meeting with the biker women called Vuvalini. The members of Vuvalini are the previous occupants of The Green Place. It is the same spot that Furiosa remembers from her childhood before she was kidnapped 7000 days ago.
The last part of the film is filled with eye-popping explosions, spellbinding car stunts, stunning exchanges of gunfire, and minimal conversations among the characters. It is a joy for all senses, yet it also touches emotions.
The women, Max and Nux are victims of one man’s greed. They lose their homes and loved ones, and for some, their childhood and innocence. Their journey through Fury Road and back helps them discover their individual strengths and their collective home.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a crazy fun movie full of explosions and explosive characters. Its soundtrack, in the form of a masked Coma-Doof Warrior, travels through Fury Road with the characters, hangs from metal beams in front of a truck, and plays the guitar in perfect timing with a crash, a death or a blow up. He is hard to miss as he is dressed in red from top to bottom, like Santa Claus. He is just so cool. What is not to love about Mad Max: Fury Road?
Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the eight Best Picture Nominees for this year’s Academy Awards. 2/8 done.