The cars of Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

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By Alexandra C. Ang 

 

The latest installment of the Mad Max franchise keeps the focus on Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy) and the vehicles that fuel her quest for revenge. The ease with which these vehicles are modified by characters elevate the film’s post-apocalyptic setting. In the Wastelands, firepower and horsepower are often the only means of survival. BMW bikes feature in a nail-biting opening sequence, which sets the scene for Furiosa’s negotiations between two rival factions who both add unique vehicles to their arsenals.

As the leader of a biker gang, Dementus (played by a gleefully diabolical Chris Hemsworth) typically rides a chariot with three BMW R 18 motorbikes instead of horses. Bikes also feature in grisly rituals over who gets to secure powerful positions within the gang. It is these absurdities that make Furiosa’s world feel rich and full of detail, despite the scarcity that abounds in the surrounding landscapes.

Dementus’ rival is Immortan Joe, a warlord with a seemingly unlimited outfit of vehicles to service his bellicose causes. The most crucial addition to this fleet is the War Rig, a refitted truck built to service and protect the supply runs used to maintain the Citadel, Gastown, and the Bullet Farm. Making a return appearance is the death cult made of War Boys who worship Immortan Joe with monuments of detachable steering wheels. Manning these vehicles are Furiosa and Praetorian Jack, who are in charge of securing these supplies and defending them.

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Deadly modifications often drive rival gangs away, and writer-director George Miller gets creative with outfitting the war rig truck with explosives, a spinning whip, and armaments best viewed on the big screen. The war rig is a marvel, imposing in structure and a sign of the Immortan’s power. It is flanked by a 1962 Chrysler Plymouth Valiant that is deftly handled by Furiosa in a particularly tense chase scene. Brute strength can sometimes triumph over agility in the brutal landscape of the desert, however, and the car is then chased by a monster tow truck owned by Dementus that plows over vehicles and the harsh terrain with ease. Many of the other vehicles that appear in these high octane action movie sequences are often made from the corpses of other car parts, making for a kind of twisted beauty that emerges from the chaos.

Just like its 2015 predecessor Fury Road, this new addition to the Mad Max universe displays how vehicles are central to the plot, usually becoming sets in themselves that contain the action on moving wheels. While Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga contains less of these sequences, often meandering into the character’s backstory spread across several chapters, its crucial plot points are still dependent on whether characters can maintain control of their vehicles for long enough to achieve their ends. Furiosa has established its own twisted take on the car movie, and extended the success of the Mad Max film series.