Mad Max - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mad Max Reviews

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½ June 6, 2018
Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller.
This Australian cult classic can't be taken too seriously. With some great action sequences and quirky characters, this film pushes the boundaries. A classic Australian film.
April 25, 2018
The original mad max has dated, but its still very watchable. Basically a "flawed superhero" movie before they became the thing.
April 23, 2018
This film is disappointing because the action is more at the last 7 minutes of the movie and before that there is some boring scenes of Max with his wife and kid doing nothing.
½ April 12, 2018
the turnaround from portrayal of impulsive endeavor to self-righteous, indignant revenge thriller is problematic. but there's no question in its exuberant stunts, great lead and watchable plot.
½ April 12, 2018
Disagree with me all you want, but I personally believe this is better than Fury Road (one of the most overrated movies of all time in my opinion). I'm not exactly sure why but something about this flick makes me want to rewatch it again and again. This was the one that started it all, to sound cliche, and put Mel Gibson and George Miller on the map. Mad Max became an icon of Australian cinema, and deservingly so. While it may seem like a B level revenge thriller, this film introduced the weirdness and vehicle destruction that we have come to associate the franchise with.

For a film that was obviously done on a minute budget, it's entertaining as hell. I have a preference for the exploitation films of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and as far as B movies go, Mad Max is one of the best. It keeps it fast and low-key and stays gritty and unpleasant. Whereas Fury Road was bloated and fantastical, this one is grounded in near reality, with hints of societal breakdown being subtle. The cheap cinematography is dirty and washed out, adding a nasty grittiness. Characters we grow to care about are maimed and killed in brutal ways. The action may not be as prevalent as the later entries but shows up in sudden bursts with satisfying results. The car sequences are still solid stuff, and the final scene was also the inspiration for the SAW franchise.

As Max, Gibson doesn't exactly deliver a tour de force performance but he still does a good job (better than Tom Hardy) and his character spiral in the second act is believeable, and we can really relate to and root for him. The real scene stealer here though, is Hugh Keas Byrne as the ToeCutter, the primary antagonist and raving lunatic. Byrne is terrifying as the leader of the biker gang, bringing an otherworldly weirdness to the role. The rest of the gang, especially the psychotic Johnny Boy, provide extra menace.

Another thing I liked that no one seems to mention about this film is the score. Brian May's schizophrenic soundtrack carries heavy influence of Bernard Herrmann, adding dramatic layers to the action, while also creating an atmosphere of impending doom.

It's no Road Warrior (how many movies are?) but Mad Max is still the second best film in this franchise so far, and the most raw. Fury Road was very entertaining, but this film delivers the same amount of adrenaline based fun on just a small percent of the former's budget. So for pulling off that impressive feat, it wins my respect.
½ April 2, 2018
This Is a really good film. It is not quite as good as The Road Warrior or Fury Road, but it was a great start to one of my favorite series of all time. I highly recommend a watch regardless of what you think of Mel Gibson.
March 28, 2018
A low budget gem that uses the lack of funds to its advantage. The realism in this film and Gibson sell the dystopian future and make the villains more chilling. Easily one of the best low budget films ever made and one of the best endings too!
This is "the ducks guts*
March 21, 2018
Ethan C. Ethan C March 21, 2018
Although Mad Max at first glance would seem like your regular revenge story, Mel Gibson's performance, and brilliant character development along with thrilling action sequences make it a terrific film, and truely one of the best Australian movies of all time.
March 21, 2018
Although Mad Max at first glance would seem like your regular revenge story, Mel Gibson's performance, and brilliant character development along with thrilling action sequences make it a terrific film, and truely one of the best Australian movies of all time.
½ February 17, 2018
A great cult classic. 1001 movies to see before you die.
½ January 29, 2018
A bit over rated and surprisingly slow at times. On multiple occasions the characters make mind numbingly stupid choices and overall the plot just feels disjointed. On the plus, the stunts are amazing for its time. But, I have to say this smells of a movie that has become cool solely based on its cult status and some of the reviews make this fact very evident. However, I decide to like movies based on their merit, not just because it is cool to like them.
½ January 10, 2018
Brilliant. Do not expect this movie to be like its sequels, it is its own movie. Think of it as a cop movie with a twist, set in a future where society is slowly crumbling, but the institutions of law and order are still intact, existing as under funded, under resourced functionaries that are ineffectual in preserving law and order, the police do the hard tasks, while the legal system lets the criminals go. Made
on a small budget, but is so well done you can watch it a million times and not get bored.

I note a lot of reviews mention it is set in a world where oil has run out, or a post apocalypse, this is not really addressed in this movie, that is mentioned in the sequel Mad Max 2 (or The Road Warrior if you live in the US), all that is apparent is there is a social decay of some sort, it certainly doesn't really give any indication of why, definitely doesn't appear to have any nuclear strike indicated.

Think "A Clockwork Orange" meets "Death Wish" with similar evil
characters and themes plus fantastic car chases. Hugh Keays Byrne plays one of the most memorable bad guys in history, subtly menacing, sadistic,
crazy... If you notice, he doesn't really
respond to what others say to him, he keeps talking about what he wants.

Mad Max is one of my all time favorite movies (pretty obvious by my review!), Mad Max 2 was also stunning when it was released, but an entirely different movie (and also easy to watch many times over), I never compare them as they are brilliant but distinctly different movies.
½ January 5, 2018
Guilty confession: Typically when I watch a "classic" or a film I've really been looking forward to, I go into it expecting to like it. In other words, the film is already ahead of the curve when it comes to my grading scale. It has to do a lot to let me down. I hate to say it, but Mad Max? It let me down. Not in the sense that it was bad, but rather in the sense that I was hoping for more.

Max is a police officer in a post-apocalyptic world where biker gangs rule the road. After his partner is brutally burned by one of the most dangerous gangs, Max decides to retire but a terrible turn of events sucks him right back in.

The film got off to a slow start for me. I was confused by what was happening and why it was happening. It's not a good sign when I have to jump on to Wikipedia to clarify things. Unfortunately things never quite bounced back for me after that. I spent a good majority of the film thinking, "What are the stakes for Max? Why should I care about his character?" You're not really given a ton of insight into who he is and why he's a hero you want to root for. Read to kids in the hospital. Pull a cat out of a tree. Do something! Give me a reason to care. I don't think that's too much to ask for.

Despite my issues with the film, Mad Max is carried by a solid performance from Gibson. Visceral rage just oozes from the man as he goes out for his revenge. He's got that look, one we've seen in many films before. A look that says, "I'm crazy and I want you to know it." His passion in the role is a shining spot.

The film also benefits from solid world-building. Though you're only given a small taste, it's all you need to see. The road is what's important, the heartbeat of the film. You witness it in the attention to detail behind the cars (Max's car in the end was dope) and the gangs' constant power struggle over maintaining territory. The road is a wasteland, yet extremely vital for those living in it.

I'm giving Mad Max a 73. Perhaps that's not a bad thing. For a movie to be missing some key components and still get a decent score says a lot. It's kind of like eating at an expensive restaurant: When you see your plate, you're slightly let down because you were hoping for more, but you quickly find that the portion you received was good enough.
December 29, 2017
This is the start of something great!
December 27, 2017
One of the most PERFECT movie I've ever seen. From the beginning, life going on in a quiet australian country town when a tragic car chase between the policemen and the "fired up" Night Rider, ending with Max (the best one as Nightrider himself says), to the description of the future where "Law" is losing its battle against steets gangs, and at the same time Max feels he's losing its battle to stay sane (i'm becoming like them!), to him losing everything he fells valuable to the evil Toecutter (a greatly underrated villain I think), to the final truly apocalitpic revenge he takes.
No pauses, no lost moments, no character not perfectly fitting its role, and in all of this the genius of George Miller building action scene after action scene as a cruel stage for the incoming drama. AWESOME!
December 25, 2017


[George Miller]
December 23, 2017
Writing this in 2017. If you really want to catch up on the entire franchise (Up through "Fury Road" right now), you may find this original film from decades ago frustrating. Better is to go into it looking for an Australian "art" film, which may help you enjoy it more. The first several minutes are just plain confusing, bordering on irritating. If you stick with it though, you can see the a thin plot generally start to coalesce. It's never clear that it's a post-apocalyptic film, it could just be a poverty-stricken area where law enforcement has broken down, and paint-sniffing gangs are running amok. That said, if you're just looking for a good sequence of car chases, or to check all the boxes on the Mad Max franchise, this is worth seeing!
½ December 17, 2017
This film has aged and has not aged perfectly but there is a clear reason why it stands up as a landmark in action directing. The stunts are incredible, the performances are suitably insane, and the heart behind the violence beats with purpose. It is a strong film, though it doesn't reflect where the franchise went, anchored by Gibson's sympathetic hero and driven by the insanity of the it's unforgiving world.
November 17, 2017
What an awesome and classic film. MAD MAX was the most incredible and very good film even though it was low budget but it was so good with intense scenes and the way it looks was cool and Max is a badass character and I like it. Well done George Miller you made one hell of a movie the first film was awesome love it a lot.
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