Mad Max 1979 Movie Review: Done by Rancel
Mad Max is a 1979 Australian action film directed by George Miller with a dystopian theme. Mel Gibson (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.
Set during an unknown timeline in Australia, the earth’s oil supplies have begun to diminish and crime becomes rampant due to energy shortages. The Nightrider (Vincent Gil), a member of a motorcycle gang is seen in the beginning escaping Main Force Patrol (MFP) police custody. The MFP is in pursuit of The Nightrider, a Methamphetamine powered freak who is driving a pursuit special car he stole from the officer he killed. The Nightrider manages to elude the initial group of the police chasing him.
Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) appears on the scene and engages the Nightrider in a game of chicken, which the Nightrider eventually loses. The Nightrider dies in a fiery crash. The Nightrider’s motorcycle gang led by “Toecutter” (Hugh Keays-Byrne) swears revenge. A member named “Johnny the Boy” (Tim Burns) 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 police force.
Max takes a vacation to spend time with his wife Jessie (Joanne Samuel) and their infant son. While on vacation, Toecutter and his gang track them down. Max gets separated from his wife and son. Toecutter and the rest of his hooligans run down and kill Max’s wife and son with their motorbikes. Max is told during his hospital visit that his son is dead and his wife is barely alive. Max has now become 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. He kills them all without hesitation. Max is now a broken and desolate shell of a man. He drives off into unknown territory.
Mad Max is a thrilling low-budget action movie. It has great car chases, explosions, and intense violent sequences. It is a 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 is Mel Gibson’s greatest role and it’s sad that he didn’t do another sequel after “Beyond Thunderdome”.
Instead he did more of the tiresome Lethal Weapon movies and later went crazy for whatever reason. *laughs* The biker gang, led by the awesome performance of Hugh Keays-Byrne as “Toecutter” are real scum. They are very much in the vein as “The Droogs” in A Clockwork Orange. When watching the film, you will be disgusted by how they go around stealing, beating up/killing people, and raping women.
Hugh Keays-Byrne did a really great job with his character. Vincent Gil as the Nightrider was also great. I would have liked to have seen the speed freak stick around longer in the film. He was so intense and nuts. The film isn’t without some humor. The scene where The Goose is in a club drinking and getting turned on by this rather creepy, ugly, and somewhat alien looking singer played by Robina Chaffey. I would assume in such a society you 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 it is excellent. I love the hero theme that plays whenever Max rises to the challenge. The camera work for the action scenes is well implemented, as it follows the cars and zooms in on the high-speed action. I did find it weird that they added the effect of eyeballs popping out whenever someone met their end onto a coming vehicle crash. It just looked cartoony and cheap. The pursuit special car that Max drives is a black limited GT351 version of a 1973 Ford XB Falcon Hardtop looks badass. The MFP police force black leather uniforms are cool too. I have just reviewed my special edition DVD which has the original Australian dialogue track instead of the dubbed American. The DVD 5.1 Dolby Digital sound has an excellent mix, with its booming clear dialogue and action scenes. Mad Max is a classic entertaining action movie that gets better with it’s sequel “The Road Warrior”. Max Rockatansky becomes a hero with a message in the two followup sequels.
Mad Max 1979 Movie Trailer
Filed Under: Action
About the Author: Hello and welcome to Rancel's Movie, TV Show, Animated Films, and Japanese Anime Review Website. I love writing, watching films (especially foreign cinema and horror), playing video games, listening to music, repairing computers, and spending time with people I love. I have always been into the world of cinema, animated films, and TV series. So now as an adult I am an amateur film reviewer.