Mad Max (1979) – movie review

mad max

In 2015, critics and audiences alike were amazed by the quality and magnitude of one Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller’s first Mad Max film in 30 years. The perfect editing, screen-shattering visuals, pounding soundtrack and simple story made for what I would consider the greatest action movie ever made.

Prior to Fury Road, I hadn’t seen any other Mad Max film. However recently, I finally caught the original on TV and was slightly disappointed but satisfied at the same time.

Mad Max follows Max Rockatansky, an Australian cop in a dystopian near-future travelling the outback with his wife and daughter in hopes of protecting them from a gang of savages known as the Acolytes.

The story structure feels slightly awkward for an action film. Mad Max kicks off with a great introduction to the barren wasteland that is Australia (fictional or not, you decide) by plopping the audience in the dead centre of an perfectly edited car chase, then for some reason after the chase, the movie decides to abandon that beautiful Miller action until the final 2o minutes, until then you get the other 50 minutes of Max’s story.

I will admit that this was disappointing when compared to the non-stop action thrills of Fury Road but in response to the few action scenes that are in Mad Max, I was riveted.

Mad Max: Fury Road showed us that George Miller understands how to fit as much comprehensible action into as little a time-frame as possible. However Mad Max didn’t have nearly as big a budget as Fury Road so one should expect a slight downgrade in the visual quality but the heart is still there. The editing technique, fast yet comprehensible cuts and vision of exploding automobiles remain the same throughout the two films and for that, I’m thankful.

In Fury Road, Tom hardy portrayed the road warrior as being merely a badass in a leather jacket who speaks entirely through grunts whereas Mel Gibson in this movie, portrays him as a badass in a leather jacket who speak a lot more than Tom Hardy. So not that much more.

I think Mel Gibson was great as Max and I was genuinely afraid of tapping him on the shoulder during the climax. Seriously, I wouldn’t want to talk to Mel in that kind of mood.

An interesting fact to note here, the antagonist in this film (Toecutter) and the antagonist in Fury Road (Immortan Joe) are both played by the same person. Hugh Keays-Byrne portrays the villain Toecutter and he portrays him so well that every time his menacing face was on screen, I felt the need to lean back as to not have his breath stench my room.

Despite the vastly inferior budget to Fury Road (Mad Max had $350 thousand whereas Fury Road had $150 million), you can definitely see that George Miller’s vision was strong since the beginning. The story may contain a flaw within it’s 50 minute lack of action and maybe the whole thing was just a set-up for the films to come but I enjoyed it. However if you are looking for a full action movie, look no further than Mad Max: Fury Road.

What did you think of Mad Max? Leave your comment on the side and don’t forget to follow my Instagram page for movie posters.


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