Mad Max

"Extraordinary"

Mad Max Review


"They say people don't believe in heroes anymore. Well, damn them! You and me, Max, we're gonna give 'em back their heroes!" Those empty words come from the chief of police (Roger Ward) to his top dog on the force. Mad Max, read as a fairy tale horror film, follows the logic of a Jacobean tragedy. The hero has everything he loves stripped away, then enacts a horrible revenge on those who wronged him. George Miller, who went on to direct the two sequels and the more benevolent Babe, crafted a low budget vision of slow burning madness on the road through a series of high-octane chase sequences.

Set in Australia "a few years from now", things have fallen apart. A handful of die hard policemen operate out of their cars (labeled "Pursuit" or "Interception") to fend off roving bands of biker gangs. Those roving marauders pillage, rape and destroy everything in their path along the handful of thinly populated shanty towns or, more often, the long, lonely stretches of road through empty wastelands.

Thrown into the fray right from the start, a brutal chase sequence offers a highway's eye view of a police car zooming after some bushwhacking thug known as the Nightrider (Vince Gil), who, together with his floozie girlfriend, has been tearing up the roads. After demolishing the pursuit vehicle and nearly killing one of the young cops on his tail, riding through civilian areas nearly taking down an innocent baby in his wake, the cops send in Max Rockatansky, played by 23-year old Mel Gibson. Max relentlessly chases the Night Rider down and stampedes him into a dangerous construction area. It's a killing on the road, death by fire.

After the Nightrider is brought to justice, his vicious crew of friends ride into town on their bikes (led by Hughs Keays-Byrne's wild-eyed Toecutter). After a series of incidents where they brutalize some civilians for fun, particularly a hippie couple that suffers a disturbing fate (after their car is demolished, of course,) they go after Max, his partner, and his family.

Mel Gibson brings a strong presence and easy confidence to Max, before his star vanity kicked in with the Lethal Weapon series. He's young, troubled, trying to do the right thing. He's loving and gentle with wife, paternal with child. In the scenes on the road, however, Gibson's steely-eyed resolution is not unlike Gary Cooper in High Noon. And after Max leaves the police force mid-film to take his family off to the country (and away from hell), the villains will follow and ultimately transform him (through bloodshed) into something new, no better than they are. That's the tragedy of Mad Max, and the lasting impact it has beyond the superbly orchestrated chase setpieces (perfected in George Miller's follow-up, The Road Warrior). Max's personality burns away until he becomes part of the car, or the gun -- a machine intent on two things: speed and death.

Hey, we don't need another skid mark.



Mad Max

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 12th April 1979

Box Office Worldwide: $100M

Budget: $400 thousand

Distributed by: s

Production compaines: Kennedy Miller Productions, Crossroads, Mad Max Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 41 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Mad Max Rockatansky, as Jessie Rockatansky, as Toecutter, as Jim Goose, Main Force Patrol Officer, as Johnny the Boy, Lisa Aldenhoven as Nurse, David Bracks as Mudguts, Bertrand Cadart as Clunk, as Underground Mechanic, Robina Chaffey as Singer, as Fifi

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.