Editor’s note: This story contains no spoilers.
The new Mad Max movie (Fury Road) takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where war lords and roving gangs control vast swaths of land, resources and people. Max is a loner who gets captured by one such war lord, and is forced to endure physical abuse while also suffering from his own inner demons.
Max is many things, but first and foremost he is a survivor. The movie is set in a desert world where water, gas, and food are scarce enough to be fought over, and between the harsh environment and endless rivals, the chances of survival are slim. But Max manages to endure, and can give us a few lessons along the way.
1. Be Wary of Strangers
The movie is fraught with this lesson. In a survival situation like Max’s, it is probably best to take a long look at anyone you meet. When push comes to shove, humans will go to great lengths to survive, and when society has crumbled, there is no telling what others are capable of.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look out for others. Don’t use civilization’s downfall as an excuse to become a terrible person. You can put your own survival first, while keeping those around alive as well.
2. Arm Yourself
From exploding spears to guns to chains, almost anything can and should be used as a weapon when you’re facing a rival who wants to kill you. Tools, gasoline, grenades and vehicles are all effective weapons, but only if you know how to use them as such.
You should have a familiarity with firearms, as well as hand-to-hand combat. The weapons you have at hand may run out of ammo, break down, or get lost, so you better know how to throw a punch and a kick, too.
3. Have a Solid Vehicle
The cars, trucks and motorcycles in the movie are built to kill. Constructed to withstand a tremendous amount of brunt force, they are fully designed as weapons in and of themselves. While your own vehicle may not need as many amenities as the ones in the movie, you should look for a powerful and fast vehicle.
The car should be solid enough to keep running after an impact, and you should provision it accordingly. Have plenty of water and gas with you. The most amazing survival vehicle in the world can still become a sitting duck if you run out of gas.
4. Be Quick in a Bugout
Furiosa at one point says, “Grab what you can and run.” That is pretty solid advice. If you have to bug out in a hurry, grab what’s available and go as fast as you can. No amount of provisions will do you any good if you get killed before you even get out the door.
This is why it’s handy to have a bugout bag and basic survival skills. In a worst-case scenario, having to bug out only with the knowledge in your head is still better than not being able to get away at all. If you have the basic skills and know-how to survive for a few days, then great. You should try to grab anything of use, but really the speed is the essence of a successful bugout.
5. Don’t Be Overly Sentimental
While it is important to remember the people and places you love, sometimes you have to let go. It’s always a difficult thing to do, even though some people are less sentimental than others. If you’re one of the unsentimental ones, then you’re lucky. But regardless of where you lie along the sentimentality spectrum, the important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t let memories get in the way of surviving.
Mad Max is a movie, so there are plenty of professional stunts and special effects. And while they may be a work of imagination, there are some tangible take-aways from the film. Mad Max might not be considered a “survival” film, but Max is most definitely a survivor, and he has a few lessons to share.
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