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

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

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.