Mad Max is a 1979 Australian action film directed by George Miller that has a dystopian theme to it. The main star Mel Gibson as Mad Max Rockatansky had yet to become a major Hollywood star at the time of this film’s release. It was a top grossing film in Australia and is responsible for opening up the Australian film industry to the world. Mad Max spawned two sequels Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior in 1981 and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. A fourth Mad Max movie is in production called Mad Max: Fury Road starring Tom Hardy as Mad Max.
Mad Max is set during an unknown timeline in dystopia Australia. The earth’s oil supplies have begun to diminish and crime becomes rampant due to energy shortages. Nightrider (Vincent Gil), a member of a motorcycle gang is seen in the beginning of the movie escaping Main Force Patrol (MFP) police custody.
The MFP is in pursuit of Nightrider, who is driving a stolen pursuit special car he stole from the officer he killed. Nightrider manages to elude the initial group of the police who are chasing him. Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) appears on the scene and engages the Nightrider in a game of chicken, which the Nightrider eventually loses, resulting in him dying in a fiery crash.
Nightrider’s motorcycle gang led by “Toecutter” (Hugh Keays-Byrne) swears revenge. A member named “Johnny the Boy” (Tim Burns) of the Toecutter led gang throws a brake drum through the windshield of the truck “The Goose” (Steve Bisley) is driving. The vehicle rolls over and gas leaks from the fuel tank, soaking the ground around the truck. Toecutter bullies Johnny the Boy into throwing a lighted match on the ground near The Goose. The Goose is severely injured with 3rd degree burns all over his body. After seeing his best friend The Goose barely alive and severely burned in the Hospital, Max becomes angry, disillusioned, and quits the MFP police force.
Max takes a vacation to spend time with his wife Jessie (Joanne Samuel) and their son. While on vacation Toecutter and his gang track them down. Max gets separated from his wife and infant son. Toecutter and the rest of his hooligans run down and kill Max’s wife and son with their motorbikes. Max is given word during his hospital visit of his wife and son, that his son is dead and is wife is barely alive with massive injuries. The enraged Max now becomes an anti-hero and dons the black leather clad police force outfit once more in his quest for revenge. He steals an MFP pursuit car and along with his sawed off shotgun; Max hunts Toecutter and his gang down and kills them all. Soon after the desolate, broken shell of a man Max has just become, drives off into an unknown territory.
Mad Max Movie: The Review
Mad Max is a thrilling low-budget action movie, with great car chases, explosions, and intense violent sequences. It is somewhat comic book like with the way some of the characters speak. The young 23 year old Mel Gibson plays the brooding anti-hero role quite well. Mad Max Rockatansky, I consider Mel Gibson’s greatest role and it’s sad that he didn’t do another sequel after “The Beyond Thunderdome” movie. Instead he did more of the tiresome Lethal Weapon movies and later went crazy for whatever reason.
The biker gang led by the charismatic acting by Hugh Keays-Byrne as “Toecutter” are real scum, much like “The Droogs” featured in A Clockwork Orange. When watching the film you will be disgusted how they go around stealing, beating up people, killing people, and raping women. Hugh Keays-Byrne did a really great job with his character. The Mad Max movie isn’t without some humor as some of you might find the scene where “The Goose is in a club drinking and he is getting turned on by this rather creepy, ugly, and somewhat alien looking singer played by Robina Chaffey. I would assume in such a society shown in Mad Max, you don’t have much to choose from and can’t be picky. Either that or “The Goose” was just too drunk to know any better. I do give her points for her singing ability.
The score for the film is well done also. I love the hero theme that plays whenever Max rises to the challenge. The camera work is some of the best in this film as it follows the cars and zooms in on the high-speed action. I did find it weird they added this effect whenever someone met their end onto a coming vehicle crash that their eyeballs would pop out all cartoon like. The pursuit special car that Max drives in the movie, which is a black limited GT351 version of a 1973 Ford XB Falcon Hardtop is badass. The MFP police force black leather uniforms are cool too.
I have just reviewed my special edition DVD of Mad Max, which has the original Australian dialogue track instead of the dubbed American. The DVD 5.1 Dolby Digital sound is very good with its booming clear dialogue and action scenes. The Mad Max movie is a classic entertaining action movie that gets better in “The Road Warrior”. Mad Max Rockatansky becomes a hero with a message in The Road Warrior and the following “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”.
Mad Max Movie Review: Done by Rancel
Click to read Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior Review at Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior Review
Mad Max Movie 1979 Trailer
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