Fig. 1. Mad Max: Fury Road poster.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) directed by George Miller who also worked on the previous Mad Max films, is a film that tells the story of a female protagonist who rebels against a villainous ruler in a post-apocalyptic world, freeing a group of female prisoners and attempting to escape to her homeland. With the assistance of Max, a fairly mysterious character who travels the wasteland with surviving as his only intention, they take on the ruler in hopes of a better life.
The purpose of this review is to discuss what makes Mad Max: Fury Road an exploitation film. It appears that a few genres of exploitation could be present in the film, this could include: Carsploitation, Women in Prison and Ozploitation. The review will explain the genres and then discuss how they may link with Mad Max.
Fig. 2. Vehicle still.
First of all we have Carsploitation, this is a subgenre of an exploitation film in which the main interest is the use of vehicles. This is very present in Mad Max as the films main spectacle is the use of its outrageous vehicles. Being on the road and in the vehicles in the film is an exciting thing, the cannon fodder all fight over who will get to drive on fury road, to catch the traitorous female that has upset the ruler.
Fig. 3. Furiosa still.
Next we have Women in Prison, this is a subgenre of an exploitation film in which women are imprisoned and subject of physical or sexual abuse. It could be possible to link this subgenre with Mad Max, as the plot in essence is a prison escape, the strong female protagonist Furiosa attempts to free a group of women that are being treated as sex slaves. This in a sense is relatable to the subgenre, the prisoners looking like super models is also a common trope of the subgenre. The film however doesn’t abide by all of the rules of the subgenre, for example it doesn’t display sexual acts and it steers clear of the lesbian love route. In fact the film overall appears to be empowering women, making them strong and confident. So it may be that the film has some elements of the women in prison subgenre but doesn’t completely fit in the genre.
Lastly we have Ozploitation, a subgenre of exploitation films which were created in the 1970/80’s which was a golden age for Australian cinema. It involves films being made in Australia and exploiting Australian stereotypes and culture, this was done to gain interest in audiences from Australia and with the hope that it would be a success overseas. This subgenre was very present in the previous Mad Max films in which the outback and violence was the main point of interest, this almost translates over to the newer Mad Max, however it may not be as clear. The film is set in post-apocalyptic Australia and the idea of being out on the road is very reminiscent of Australia. The film also has more subtle/hidden Australian references, for example the cannon fodders spray their mouths with something that leaves a silver colour on the user. They claim that it will allow them to enter Valhalla, shiny and chrome, it appears that this spray is like a drug that makes them high and willing to give their life for the ruler. This could be a reference to the Australian slang ‘chrome’ or ‘chroming’ which refers to inhalant abuse.
To conclude, Mad Max: Fury Road is an action packed film with very little plot, it claims merit in all of its visual effects, as the film looks beautiful even though it is set in a post-apocalyptic time. It also appears to have many links to exploitation cinema which is understandable as the older films were definitely exploitation films. Overall the film is easy to watch and has a lot of action to keep the viewer interested.
Miller, G. (2015). Figure 1. Mad Max: Fury Road poster. http://www.uncanny.ch/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/mad_max_fury_road_poster_hi_res.jpg (Accessed 01/11/2015)
Miller, G. (2015). Figure 2. Vehicle still. http://d3d9npwwya966f.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Mad-Max-Fury-Road-Stills-HD-Wallpaper.jpg (Accessed 01/11/2015)
Miller, G. (2015). Figure 3. Furiosa still. http://static.srcdn.com/slir/w700-h350-q90-c700:350/wp-content/uploads/Charlize-Theron-in-Fury-Road.jpg (Accessed 01/11/2015)