Mad Max is a joyous thrill ride into the suspected outcome of some unknown collapse of society. It follows the meandering, brutal, wreathed, dust covered man who is out to survive for no other reason than following his nature. Fortunately Mad Max (the man) does not get an exceptional back story and offers us a close up view as he becomes a product of desolation. Motorcycles are ever prevalent and reinforce the wayward, risk taking essence of each movie.
The motorcycles in the first movie can be spotted with relative ease. With salty fingers and swollen elbows any self respecting man can poke this movie companion and guess that the bike that ‘Toe cutter’ is riding could be a modified kawasaki KZ1000. They offer a rebel ascetic that plays against the polished machines used by the Road Warriors.
By the second film the roads are still paved but the sun does not shine as brightly. The mob now rules and the bandits (not the bike) are in full strength. By this time it also appears that the punks had arrived at the apocalypse. With supplies running dry, no infrastructure or manufacturing of new parts survivors went about fixing and reusing. Therefore the motorcycles were modified to suit the era and kept running with relative ease.
Lightly skipping over the third move and we arrive at the totality of the fall out demonstrated within Fury Road. From the Thunderdome to Fury Road thirty years have pasted which is evident in the immersive wasteland where who holds the water, ammunition and oil are king. This is a society in its infancy being reborn. People are sick, living is harsh and reminiscence of the old world is present only by the waste that was left behind. This hand to mouth living is reflected in the vehicals.
It would be a shame to not mention all the vehicles in Fury Road. Each one is a masterpiece of resilience and celebration of craft and necessity. Cobbled together they offer a unique look into what is possible. The ‘War Rig’ is character as much as Max is and the spliced monster double decker Cadillac is joyous. The way of life for these people, as it is for us, is reliant on their vehicles. Gods themselves they are lavished with names such as; ‘The Gigahorse ‘(below), ‘The People Eaters Limousine’, ‘Razor Cola’ and ‘Doff Wagon’. Each vehicle having characteristics of the driver.
By this point the motorcycles not only have to be fixed but they have to be fixed using anything to hand. Be it used cans, old chairs, bones or animal skin. One of the more worrisome aspects of Fury Road is that it is possible. It is all possible. It is not such a far flung concept that has no grounding. The vehicles therefore have to reinforce this ascetic. They look exactly how I would think they would look having to be kept running for +30 years in desolation as well as acting support vehicles in war.
Mad Max Fury Road is an mesmerizing look into a derelict lonesome future which celebrates corse irregular survival techniques. When you imagine ‘survival’ it is easy to think of being deep in a forest or middle of a desert with little to hand. However evident in Fury Road is the outcome if you are trying to survive with bric-a-brac hand. It gives me hope that with a little attention and availability of new parts my motorcycle can run headlong into fray.