Mad Max Reviews
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.
This is "the ducks guts*
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.
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.
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.
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!