Starring: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley
Directed By: George Miller
Written By: James McCausland, George Miller
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 28 min
Mad Max is a classic blend of visceral revenge story and raw action set-pieces, that launched a franchise, and Mel Gibson’s career. And while I do like this film, let’s be honest, it has some issues!
The dialog and performances are extremely cheesy, and Brian May’s score (not the lead guitarist from Queen or the presenter of Top Gear) is loud and over the top. There also isn’t much story here, and despite the short running time, it could have easily lost another 20 minutes. There’s little to no explanation (or evidence) for the supposedly post-apocalyptic setting, and Max isn’t actually ‘mad’ for most of the film!
In the plus column however, when the movie heads out on to the open road where it belongs and the action starts, this film is a lot of fun to watch. The loud growl of V8 engines and the great stunt work in Mad Max, combine to provide some classic moments of vehicular mayhem. Especially in the opening set-piece as the police chase down the Nightrider (Vincent Gil).
Director George Miller and editors Cliff Hayes and Tony Paterson, pace these highway encounters perfectly. Cutting between high-speed action on one part of the road, and setting up potential obstacles further down the highway. This team also know to let each shot linger enough for the audience to fully appreciate the live action stunt work being performed. This less is more approach to filming action sequences is sorely missing in a lot of modern movies.
If you’re looking for loud powerful cars, great action and explosions I think you’ll be happy you checked this movie out. The film has a certainly cultish charm, and even though some of the dialog and performances are a little over the top, the movie is never dull. Mad Max earns its R rating due to some adult situations, language and violence.
While not on the road, this movie isn’t much to look at. Out on the highway, this is impressive and should be enjoyed on a movie sized screen if possible. At home a HD viewing on your large TV is the best way to go. The film’s action will lose its impact on a laptop, tablet or phone sized screen.
The opening action as the police chase down the Nightrider is superb. Especially as all the vehicles involved approach a set of obstacles that include a small child that runs out on to the road, and a caravan that stalls in the center of the street.