Movie Name: Mad Max
Studio: Kennedy Miller Productions
Release Date(s): April 12, 1979
MPAA Rating: R
Max Rackatansky (Mel Gibson) works as an officer for the Main Force Patrol (MFP) in a dystopian future where motorcycle gangs are gaining control as the country. After the a gang leader Nightrider escapes MFP custody, Nightrider is killed as Max pursues him. Nightrider’s gang sets out for revenge, and Max’s partner Goose (Steve Bisley) ends up getting severely burned. Max tries to leave the MFP but Nightrider’s gang goes after him and now they have to watch out for Max.
George Miller’s direction of this movie gives it a very grindhouse feel. The young Mel Gibson is nice as a young father and reminds you that he hasn’t always been crazy (which is sad since his character is “mad”). For America, the Australian voices were dubbed before the film’s released.
The movie met with some criticism due to its subject matter and bleak take, but was a financial success. Audiences like the violence and car chases enough for Mad Max to break records all over the world. Mad Max for years held the record for profit-to-cost until The Blair Witch Project beat it in 1999.
Most of the fun of the movie is the intense car chase scenes, which were done at an ultra-low budget ($400,000 Australian dollars was the alleged budget for the whole film). The movie doesn’t hold back and no one is safe in Mad Max. Part of the way that the budget was saved is only Mel Gibson’s costume was real leather because of all his screen time, all the other actors had vinyl costumes.
Mad Max also is interesting when looking at it sequels. It really does fit in a trilogy feel. In Mad Max there is some structure to society. The MFP is fighting a losing battle and society is falling farther. By Mad Max 2 (or The Road Warrior as it was known in the U. S.), society is pretty barbaric and by Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, any resemblance to society is gone.
Mad Max holds up and still fun. The movie is much more toned down than the sequels (especially Mad Max: Fury Road), but it shows the decay of the society. Many might feel Mad Max is pretty mundane today, but as an important part of my childhood, I can’t ignore it. Mad Max was followed by Mad Max 2 (or The Road Warrior) in 1981.
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