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Film review: Mad Max reboot 'Fury Road' teaches superhero films a thing or two about action

Visionary Australian director George Miller infuses his action spectacles with pacifism, environmentalism and feminism.

One of the master purveyors of the post-apocalyptic landscape where humans have been reduced to their natural animal states and will stake everything for mere survival is back with yet another eye-popping allegory. Visionary Australian director George Miller’s fourth Mad Max movie, made after a 30-year gap, is set in a dystopia marked by a severe shortage of water and natural energy resources, desertification, genetic engineering and a culture dedicated to war and the enslavement of women.

The first Mad Max film was an examination of outback anomie, the second one looked at severe fuel shortages, while the third (which was also the weakest) was set in a slave colony where pig excreta is converted into fuel to run humankind’s last outpost. Suggesting unconventional solutions for the pressing problems of the world that we are leaving behind for the future generations, Miller has managed to infuse his action spectacles with anti-war and pro-environment concerns that make them an effective companion in climate change debates.

Fury Road makes a  nod to Mad Max 2, in that it is one long road movie featuring a band of crazies chasing a lone vehicle containing the last  good people left on the planet. There are also elements from the third part, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, especially in the slave colony governed by genetic freak Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played in the first Mad Max in 1979) and where Max (Tom Hardy) is initially held captive. Immortan Joe, who has a death mask for a face, and his chalk-white minions (called “war boys”) rule over the populace by controlling the water supply and replenish themselves by harvesting the blood of healthy humans. When Furiosa (Charlize Theron) escapes along with Immortan Joe’s wives, who are part of a programme to breed a pure, defect-free race, she sets into motion a dangerous, thrill-filled journey across an endless desert. Max and breakaway minion Nux (Nichloas Hoult) hop on for the ride, but these female road warriors prove that they are no wilting lilies in need of care.

Moral purity amidst the mayhem

Miller’s trademark absurdist humour pops up ever so often in the middle of the stunningly directed and relentless mayhem. “Don’t get addicted to water!” is one character’s advice to the parched slave population early on in the movie.

As Immortan Joe and his war boys set out for the hunt, they are accompanied by the soothing strains of heavy metal, delivered by a war boy who never loses his nerve or a string in the most chaotic of situations.

The 70 year-old director’s eye for inventive visuals has barely dimmed with age. The make-up and costumes of Immortan Joe and his war boys are as striking as the array of retrofitted trucks and bikes that make this franchise an original. The dialogue is as functional as in previous films, and purists might even complain that Fury Road’s characters talk a bit too much.

Amidst the breathtaking action and no holds-barred violence, much of it computer generated but nevertheless realistic, Miller holds on to the moral purity that marks the Mad Max franchise. In this movie, the women are the pillars of sanity, hope and bravery. In one of Fury Road’s most effective scenes, Max takes aim at a target but then realises that he will probably miss and gamely hands over his weapon to Furiosa.

Feminism on the battlefield? Miller’s filmography includes the two Babe films, about the talking pig, and the Happy Feet animation series. He has piled on a few minutes of running time and greater wordiness with every new Mad Max movie, and has raised the profile of Fury Road through the presence of Hollywood regulars such as Hardy and Theron. Fury Road is both in 2D and 3D, which makes the on-screen violence more immersive and immediate.

But Miller is also as attuned to the headlines as he is to the audience’s hunger for pure, elemental violence that goes all the way down the wire. Fury Road’s twinned themes of the search for racial purity and the impact of war on women chime perfectly with the times. Every Mad Max movie contains a simple truth: when all options run out and the world as we know has irrevocably changed, men descends into their true beastly selves. Thank the heavens for women.



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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.