I was skeptical of George Miller’s sequel to his Road Warrior films after so many years away. Seriously, he made Babe and two Happy Feet movies more recently than he told a Mad Max story. How could Fury Road be any good? But as I admitted here, I thought the film was the best I’d seen this year – and it’s still my favorite after seeing it a second time in high definition at home.
Max (Tom Hardy) and Furiosa (Charlize Theron) are the coolest one-two punch of heroes we’ve had onscreen all summer, with apologies to the Avengers, and everyone else they smoked on their dusty way through the desert. As two broken, discarded, forgotten individuals, they’ve learned to scrap their way through the post-apocalyptic landscape and to ignore everyone else. But what happens when they discover a task to great to complete on their own, that is, achieving their own escape and the transport of several innocents as they run from Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne)?
While I rarely rewatch a movie this quickly, I was struck by the power of Miller’s narrative, even though I think he could’ve told this story dialogue-free! How amazing would that have been? A completely rabid film with a hard rock soundtrack and no one speaking? But I digress…
Sure, we have the ‘universal blood donor’ in Max, who gives his blood (literally) to save Furiosa at one point, but she’s the one playing ‘Moses’ to lead the innocents, the child-bearing women, to the promised land. She’s already lost an arm, and been discarded, but her broken humanity makes for a great leader. It’s just that her remembrance of the promised land isn’t what she thought it would be… and it’s better to return and face the music.
There’s also the certain matter of the ridiculous crazy and ultimately weak (physically) Joe, who has ruled by fear and intimidation, but is really (kinda) easy to take down. How often do we raise people to a level of leadership, honor, even idolatry, only to recognize that they are merely men/women who we shouldn’t fear or worship?
And ultimately, the film proves to be about two loners who are intent on one thing but choose a greater good over self-preservation. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite verses, but in John 15:13, Jesus says that there is no greater love than to lay one’s life down for one’s friends. We see that happen in the final third of the film by several characters because Max and Furiosa model it first. Are they ‘Christ figures’? I don’t know. But they definitely model this kind of sacrificial love and service.
Whatever your take on the deeper themes behind this movie (seriously, Furiosa tells Max that she’s looking for “redemption,” a word not outright bandied about many action films), there’s too much action, beauty, magic, and skill to this film not to love it. Check out the special features, enjoy the flick, and then come back and tell us what you thought.
Enter the wasteland and be sure to be amazed.