Movie Review – Mad Max

1979 Kennedy Miller Productions

Three Stars

Mad Max

The maximum force of the future? What the heck is that supposed to mean exactly? Damn silly if you ask me.

Before Mel Gibson’s career faded and his outlook dimmed he had built an impressive catalog of movies. Mad Max is the movie that launched his career all those years ago before he turned into a loon. Made on a shoestring budget in Australia Mad Max took advantage of the crazy car culture and long stretches of empty road in that country and cashed in big time.

Mad Max is set in a dystopian future where civilization appears to be breaking down and law and order are on the verge of collapsing all together. Mad Mel portrays Max Rockatansky, the best driver in his police force the MFP or Maximum Fluoride Protection. Their job is to stamp out tooth decay and gingivitis. Well not really they actually are battling roads gangs and guys who shave off half of the eyebrows and like to torment anyone they possibly can. Max is married and recently became a father and is torn between leaving the police force or staying and becoming another casualty. When his best friend Goose (no not the one from Top Gun) is burned beyond recognition he quits the force. In an amazing coincidence his wife gets into trouble with the same road gang that took out Goose and Max is forced back into action.

Mad Max is an interesting movie. The story is bare bones and there is not really any explanation at all as to why the world is going to hell. It’s basically a western with the good guys and bad guys trading their horses for cars and motorcycles. The characters have no real depth they’re all just kind of nuts and like to drive fast and wreck things. Max and his wife are just about the only somewhat normal characters in the whole movie every other character is weird as hell.

This movie is not about the people anyway Mad Max is all about the cars and stunts. There are some seriously wacko stunts in this movie. The car chases and crashes upped the ante in a decade that was dedicated to destroying as many road vehicles as possible in almost every movie and TV show being made. Director George Miller in my opinion is second to none in filming intense chase scenes that really get the adrenaline pumping. His filming style actually brings an amazing sense of speed to the road high jinks that I have never seen done as well.

I have to admit to being a big fan of movies with a dystopian setting. There is just something so interesting to me about modern civilization in decline. Maybe it’s because I expect something like this happen in the real world any day now? I don’t care how cheesy the movie is I can enjoy it if it has a cool vision of a wasted world . Mad Max is not quite as high on the cheese meter as some end of the world movies such as Omega Man but it has its moments. It also has a lot of energy and is a lot of fun.

The good:

Mel Gibson was great as Max. I enjoyed his movies immensely before he went bonkers.

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Mel Gibson, Australian for nuts.

The cars especially the black Pursuit Special.

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Cool car but a little too colorful.

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Perfect. One of the best movie cars ever!

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Just awesome.

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Maximum Fluoride Protection has never looked so good.

The car chases and the wreckage. There is an amazing sense of speed in the chase scenes and the various crashes are awesome.

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Big truck 1, Toecutter 0

The sawed-off double barrel police side arm. Not very practical but imposing to say the least.

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The not so good:

Toecutter is not that interesting a villain in my opinion. Neither is his gang all that great.

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What is he a vampire?

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Man was I glad when these two finally shut up.

The singer that Goose is attracted to is scary.

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Olive Oil sure can belt out a tune…not a good tune but a tune nonetheless.

Random thoughts and observations:

What are the odds that Max’s wife goes to get ice cream and runs into the same gang that Max and Goose had trouble with? Small world isn’t it?

Why doesn’t anyone swerve around or brake when they’re in a car being pursued by motorcycles? I would pretend my car was a bowling ball and the bikes were pins.

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You’re in a heavy car being pursued by motorcycles. Swerve and brake and swerve and brake.

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This scene cracks me up. They attached a rocket motor to the car and sent it down the road. It went off course and raced around a field. You can clearly see no one is in the car.

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Then they attached a tow cable to it that is visible just before the car goes boom.

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Speaking of cables you can see the cable that yanks Bubba off his bike when Max shoots him.

I was so happy when they finally released the non dubbed version of this movie with the original Australian language track. I absolutely hated the dubbing and I think it made everyone sound like a complete and utter retard.

I actually saw The Road Warrior in the theater in 1981 before I even saw the first movie. The second movie is by far my favorite of the series.

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For some odd reason director George Miller loves showing eyes popping out in intense scenes. He uses this effect when both the Nightrider and Toecutter are about to kick the bucket. He used it again in Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior and the segment he directed for Twilight Zone: The Movie.

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Great idea for revenge. Better watch out or Alan Moore might steal the idea and use it in Watchmen.

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Max wanders out into the wasteland where he learns to live again. Did he forget his wife actually survived?

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