Action Movie Fanatix Review: Mad Max

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The Maximum Force Of The Future

Starring: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel

Director: George Miller

1979  |  94 Minutes  |  Rated R

“They say people don’t believe in heroes anymore. Well, damn them! You and me, Max, we’re gonna give ’em back their heroes!” – Fifi

I am a huge fan of post-apocalyptic movies and it occurred to me that I had never seen (or at least didn’t remember seeing) the original Mad Max.  It seemed only right that I track it down to find out where the influence for some of my favorite movies comes from.

In the future oil has become scarce and gangs rule the highways.  Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), a Main Force Patrol (MFP) officer, quits the force after he becomes disillusioned when his partner’s killer is set free.  Then, after his wife and infant son are killed by the same gang, Max gets angry and then gets even.

For a movie called Mad Max it sure does take Max a long time to finally get mad.  You have to kill not just his partner, not just his wife but also his baby boy.  Mad Max should be called Cool As A Cucumber Max but that just doesn’t have the same ring I guess.  The majority of the movie we are just watching things slowly build until he finally strikes back.  I get that he is a police officer but good golly he put up with a lot before getting a little pissed off.

Aside from a few decent car chases and subsequent crashes there isn’t a whole lot here for the action fan.  There is violence, sure, but violence doesn’t necessarily mean action.  This is usually played out as violence against innocents until Max finally decides to get mad and gets pretty sadistic himself.

It’s weird that this is one of the most respected post apocalyptic movies.  In actuality Mad Max is closer in theme to A Clockwork Orange as it is more a critique of a civilization in decay than it is a true post-apocalyptic movie.  This is of course fine as it is obviously what director George Miller was going for, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.  Ultimately Mad Max sets up where the rest of the series will go, which is to a true post-apocalyptic future.

I’ll go on record and say that I didn’t really care for the original Mad Max.  It’s weird because this is where the majority of our current post-apocalyptic movies got their first inspirations and yet they aren’t even all that similar.  Mad Max left me bored for the majority of its hour and a half runtime and, more than anything, that is my biggest complaint.  Maybe I would enjoy it more if I watched it again since I wouldn’t be expecting a Road Warrior type movie but I still think the slow pace would kill it for me.

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