I got roped into watching this movie even though I had zero interest because one of my lady friends wanted to go see the new “feminist action film”. While it’s still fresh in my mind, here are some thoughts and observations. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!
Keep in mind I’ve never seen any of the Mad Max films. I don’t care for action movies. I also don’t really like post-apocalyptic films. I saw this because my friend wanted to and she paid for my ticket.
Let’s start with things I didn’t like so we can end on a good note:
- As with most action films, the movie has a thin plot designed to showcase the action rather than the characters. They drive from one location to another and back again. They get attacked going both ways. Some vague nonsense about redemption and sex slavery happens but that all takes a back seat to the action.
- You could have eliminated all the dialogue, left the ambient noises and music and it still would have made sense. This would work as a music video. That is not a good thing for a movie.
- The sped-up portions at the beginning when Max is running around were jarring. I found myself getting irritated probably less than 10 minutes in.
- Max is weird. He basically grunts and speaks in short, clipped sentences throughout the film. My friend posited that that’s where the “mad” comes from. Not that he’s angry but that he’s crazy. The hallucinations of his family dying (?) appear to be haunting him thus he’s not 100% present in the moment all the time. Personally, I found that annoying. Get with the program, Max. Focus.
- They burn A LOT of gas for people who are living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with apparently finite resources. It was frankly distracting.
- Bullet farm? What does that even mean? Just some post-apocalyptic nonsense term for factory? Just say factory.
- They were basically just driving through the desert the whole time. It got boring. I was bored.
General stuff that stuck out:
- The bad guys have a fella dressed in red pajamas playing an electric guitar that spouts fire on the front of a giant vehicle covered in speakers with dudes drumming on the back. People in my audience laughed when they saw him. I thought it was cool looking but I definitely thought “Wut is going on?” when I saw him. This looks like the type of thing a 13 year old kid would pitch saying “You know what would be really cool?”
- The costuming was...unique. Very creative. The nipple cut outs on the gasoline guy’s vest were interesting as were his nipple piercings connected with a chain.
- Mad Max cleaned blood off of himself with “mother’s milk”, which for some reason they were keeping around in a bucket on the big gas truck. Yes, that is exactly what you think it is. I don’t know why they have a large bucket full of breastmilk but a lot of things in this movie don’t make any sense.
- The gas truck looked like a big ol’ penis complete with veining and a giant ball.
Stuff I liked:
- Charlize Theron (Furiosa) is a BOSS. At one point Max hands her a gun with one bullet left because he knows he can’t make the shot. She just rolls up on him and he hands it over without any trouble, acknowledging her superiority without a fuss. People actually clapped when that happened.
- The “sex slaves” weren’t treated as victims. When we first see them they are literally breaking their own chains. They count bullets, reload guns, trick people, fix things, scramble and climb all over the truck, fight, drag pieces of scrap metal to get the truck out of the mud and generally don’t slow everyone down.
- The women aren’t treated with any kind of delicacy which was weirdly refreshing. This is a post apocalyptic world. They don’t have time for that. A super pregnant chick hangs off the side of the gas truck like it ain’t no thang to save some other characters from getting shot. We all think she’s gonna be fine since she’s pregnant but NOPE. She falls and gets run the fuck over by a car.
- The violence against the women isn’t any different than what happens to the dudes. A woman gets a chainsaw to the neck, a few moments later a guy gets a chainsaw to the stomach. Dudes get run over, ladies get run over. Guys get thrown off vehicles, women get thrown off vehicles. Everybody gets shot or stabbed and punched at one time or another. Equality!
- They don’t focus too heavily on the sex slave stuff. That might be a symptom of the plot being as thin as a fingernail but they mention it in passing maybe twice in the whole movie. The former slaves aren’t constantly harping on it. They just want to get to the “green place”.
- There are tons of women of a bunch of ages and races in the film. You don’t really get to see older women in action films doing anything but running away. These women were kicking ass and taking names, riding motorcycles and shooting people and laughing about it.
- Femininity isn’t a weakness in this movie. The former slaves and the women in the desert look pretty but they run around, climb on stuff, shoot guns, move heavy shit, ride motorcycles and basically do everything they can to help. Furiosa, with her oil-slicked forehead, isn’t the only one doing her part.
- I loved that Furiosa killed the main bad guy in a particularly gruesome way. I loved that she head butted that one guy. I loved that the dirty townspeople called her name and vaulted her to the top. Max was just a helper guy along in her story.
- SHE HAS A BIONIC ARM! But they also show her get in a fight not using the arm and she still takes care of business. You don’t need both arms to kick ass!
- There was no romance between her and Mad Max.
- Nicholas Hoult is in it and he’s cute. Always a plus.
- ABS FOR DAYS. Sorry, I like muscular male bodies. Actually, not sorry. There was some lovely, well-defined man torso on display.
- It was beautifully shot.
- The modified vehicles were fun to look at. I especially liked the ones that looked like hedgehogs with all their spikes and the ones with the bendy-pole attachments.
- They don’t have a glamour shot of Charlize at the end. She’s just been through some rough shit. They didn’t give her the normal delicate little scratch across her cheek. She has blood all over her face and neck, her eye is black, puffy and closed up and she’s dirty. She looks fucked up. Which is good because if you’ve watched the movie, she should look like that.
Final verdict: If you like action films, GO SEE THIS. It’s a feast for the eyes. Women are featured as fantastic, capable action stars. Don’t expect any kind of depth. It’s basically a 2 hour demolition derby. The only real emotional point is when Furiosa realizes her old home is gone. The scene lasts maybe 20 seconds. Then she’s over it and gets on a motorcycle to go off somewhere. I liked a lot of things about this movie but I personally wouldn’t see it again because I just don’t care for action movies.
If you don’t like action films, you might get bored. But still-try to go see it just to stick it to the MRAs. See if someone you know will spot you for a ticket like my friend did.