When we first met Max Rockatansky (Mad Max, 1979) he was a police officer in an Australia that was not quite dystopian but certainly just a couple of power outages away. We next saw him sometime later, Somewhere in the Outback (Mad Max 2, bka The Road Warrior, 1981) then fifteen years later (movie time), still Somewhere in the Outback (Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, 1985). Now, thirty years later (real time) we meet him again in Mad Max: Fury Road.

Max is still Somewhere in the Outback, captured by the warlord Immortan Joe. When Joe’s number one convoy driver, Furiosa, goes rogue during a gasoline run, Joe sends his War Boys (henchmen) after her. One of them, to whom Max has been assigned as a sort of living IV bag, takes him along for the ride.

It seems that Furiosa wants to take Joe’s Wives with her to the Green Place, her ancestral home, a place where they (and she) can be free. Max is still just along for the ride, but he sides with Furiosa because… at least he can temporarily escape from the ghosts of the people he could not save.

And that’s about it for story.

By the filmmaker’s own admission, Max Max: Fury Road is a two-hour car chase, with gunfire and frequent explosions. It does not disappoint in the thrill department: the director goes old-school, doing as much of the stunts as possible as “practical effects (moviespeak for “real”). When you see an actor strapped to a speeding vehicle, that’s really the actor (or his/her stunt double)—until it blows up or flips over, anyway. Unlike some other BIG MOVIES this summer, very few green/blue screens were used.

Fury Road is as much Furiosa’s story as it is Max’s; there is a strong feminist thread running through it, touching on everything from women’s reproductive rights to female empowerment (Furiosa’s people are called the Vuvalini). Existential questions are posed throughout (the most frequent one being, “Who broke the world?”) and the War Boys live and die by a creed that is half fanatic and half Klingon. And there’s this whole overall theme of redemption, but…

The world Max inhabits is inconsistent. It’s a place where there appears to be no formal education but people can routinely type and cross-match blood, distill ultra high-octane gasoline products and build incredible muscle cars that seemingly never need to be refueled. There are roads that run through the desert but are not overblown by sand and are in better condition than your average Interstate highway. But most of all, for all the thrills and the sly sense of humor… there’s really no point to any of it.

Mad Max: Fury Road is remarkable in that it is both a reboot and a sequel, the first new Mad Max Movie and fourth in the series: Max encounters some people who need his help. He helps them. Then he wanders off. Until next time. It’s like they said in the last Mad Max outing: We don’t need another hero. More specifically, we don’t need another Mad Max movie.

You need to be a member of Blacksciencefictionsociety to add comments!

Join Blacksciencefictionsociety

Email me when people reply –