Mad Max rides again in ‘Fury Road’


Brianna Brooks, Columnist

Better late than never, here is a little something you’re going to want to add to your Blu-Ray Disc collection.

Let me lay the scene for you: a post-apocalyptic world, sans the zombies, lack of water and a never-ending desert. Fast cars, breakneck plot, and a star-studded leading man under a never-quite-blue sky. Sound familiar? Could only be “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the movie that hit theaters this summer. Stay with me: rich rewards await.

Now for just a little background for those who are unaware. The “Mad Max” franchise originated with a single film that came out in Australia in 1979. Since its wild box office success then, it spawned two sequels and a fourth installment in 2015. Naturally, the franchise has accumulated a following of die-hard fans and there was immense hype from both old and new fans when the latest movie was announced, especially since it was produced, written, and directed by the original director, George Miller.

Now, why should you see this movie? Well, aside from the reasons listed above, because of the ways it differs from all other stereotypical dude/bro films in appealing to a much broader audience. Ladies, this is an action film where women are more than love interests.

From the first theatrical trailer, the movie appears to be about a man named Max, played by Tom Hardy, and explosions and cars. But when you see the film, you’ll realize that Max  functions as more of an observer and learns more about the world with the audience. He does have his own storyline, but the true “hero” is Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron. As we are drawn further into the world of “Mad Max,” at its center is Furiosa, who kick-starts a domino effect of events that will leave you reeling.

Now, of course, this would not go quite amiss. Weeks prior to its release, “Mad Maxwas labeled by reviewers as a sort of “Trojan horse” of feminist films. A movie that depicts women as people? Crazy, right? Anyway, controversy. That’s what drew me into the theater.

Now let me say, this movie has everything: stunning visual effects, hot rods, cult leaders, war-boy legions, humor, romantic subplots, car chases, active character development, a physically-disabled character who holds her own, and a guitar that is also a flamethrower! From the beginning, the movie will drag you into its world and hold you in a willing suspense of disbelief (i.e., I’m still in a movie theater, right?).

There are other films that could possibly hold their own against “Mad Max,” like “The Expendablestrilogy orThe Hobbittrilogy. These films encompass a glorious show of action and adventure, camaraderie and plot twists. However, both casts are made up almost entirely of men. Not that that is a bad thing, by any means, but it is highly improbable. Statistically, women make up a little more than half the general population. Even in fantasy, unless it is clearly stated why, there’s no reason not to have just as many women as men.

And, all joking aside with feminist films, the movie does pass the famed Bechtel test. The Bechtel test is an observation of a film and the simple answer is, yes or no: Do two named female characters speak to each other about something other than the male lead during the film? In most movies, yes, but in action movies? Rare find. And, if I do say so myself, the female characters of this movie rock! Furiosa communicates with nearly all women over the duration of the film and shares in intellectual conversations discussing the state of world’s remaining populace, distribution of resources, the price of freedom and battle plans.

The writers of this movie did not pull punches when it came to breaking the norms of action movies and delivering a thrilling storyline. There was no meaningless romance plot, no overtly sexualized characters, and no unexplainable phenomenon to save our heroes in the end.

This is a raw and real action film with no overly “Hollywood” scenes. It’s designed to keep audiences at the edge of their seats and represent women accurately. And guess what else? George Miller has announced during the San Diego ComicCon that there will be a sequel titled “Mad Max: Furiosa.” The film already has a script.

Mad Max” may have already left theaters, but it will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray on Sept. 1, or on Netflix and Redbox on Sept. 29.