Mad Max ***1/2

madmax

It is an odd experience watching “Mad Max” on bluray.  I have only seen the movie once and it was at least 15 years ago.  I have seen the sequels so many times that this movie now feels like an origin story.  “The Road Warrior” and “Beyond Thunderdome” take place in a desert waste land but this story happens while society is still sort of what we know. But a prequel this is not.  “Mad Max” is an original story.

Now for a movie that was made in 1979 on a budget of peanuts the action in this film is fairly well done.  Nice to see chase scenes that are not enhanced by computer effects at all.  Back in the day when everything had to be done using practical methods.  The opening scene for example shows some fairly insane car crashes and they were all done with real cars and stunt drivers.

Mel Gibson was completely unknown when this movie came out.  He plays Max, a police officer on a force that is slowly becoming overwhelmed by the local gangs in the area.  Society seems to be breaking down as roaming biker gangs begin terrorizing local towns and cities.  When Max’s wife and daughter are killed, Max goes rogue and hunts them down one  by one.

George Miller, the director, really puts together a bleak vision with what was a shoe string budget.  It is fascinating to see Max before and after he became a loaner wandering a deserted waste land.  It may not be the best in the series but “Mad Max” makes most of todays action movies look tame in comparison.

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