Mad Max (1979 Australia)

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Mad Max (1979 Australia)

Post  BoG on Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:20 pm

There aren't too many Australian Sci-Fi films. Mad Max did start a trend of sorts; there was virtually nothing like it before in Australia and very little elsewhere. Mel Gibson was unknown when he starred in this. Hugh Keays-Byrne, a big actor, plays his nemesis, Toecutter.
Though there are the science fiction elements - this is a near future dystopia - this also functions as a horror film in places and also recalls the biker films so prevalent a decade earlier. In this setting, things have not collapsed suddenly; there is a suggestion of slow decay, that society is steadily falling apart. Gibson, as Max, a young top cop 'interceptor,' represents the best of remaining civilization, to some extent. He's married, with a young child. On the other end of the spectrum is the gang led by Toecutter, a collection of degenerates & savages on motorcycles who have arrived at this area which is hanging on to civility by a thread. They plan to tip things into all-out anarchy, despite the efforts of Max and his friends on the weakening police force.  
This film was a pretty big success worldwide. I think what attracted most audiences back then was the less-than-subtle suggestion of vengeance practiced by Max in the trailers, but this theme, though potent, doesn't really happen until the last 20 minutes or so. There is also, of course, the incredible car stunts and photography on the roads, always stressing intense movement. The film, though low budget, is surprisingly effective, especially in building suspense; there is a very good style at work in places, such as the slow introduction of Max near the beginning.
Most fans saw the American dubbed version for many years; the original Australian language version was finally released on DVD in 2001. BoG's Score: 8 out of 10.  Mad Trivia: The even better sequel, Mad Max 2, was named The Road Warrior in the USA.
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