Mad Max (1979)

“I’m scared, Fif. You know why? It’s that rat circus out there. I’m beginning to enjoy it.”

A baby-faced, 23 year old Mel Gibson, wearing a leather uniform; riding around in a bright yellow police car and chasing the motorcycle gang, led by the manic and crazy haired Toecutter, who killed his wife and baby.  What a bizarre and truly awesome movie.

Mad Max is set “a few years from now” in Australia.  The world depicted in the film has little law and order and gangs run rampant.

The acting isn’t awful, but its not great either.  Gibson (Max) didn’t have all that much dialogue and honestly his performance was somewhat weak.  His cool factor, however, and slight charm filled any gaps; making Max the appealing and likable character he is.

There was a storyline, but it was never explicitly outlined.  The first half hour produced many questions, the biggest being ‘whats going on?’.  But I soon realized to just go with it.  There were more than a few weird moments including two of the motorcycle gang doing what appeared to be a waltz in the street while kissing, as well as an almost comical scene of Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne) licking Jessie’s (Joanne Samuel) ice cream cone.

Shot obviously on a low budget, the movie was still filled with desert car vs. motorcycle chases and some cool stunts.

The thing that bothered me the most was how often Jessie and Max left their baby unattended; it was extremely often but the little tot remained unharmed until near the end when both Jessie and their child are killed by the gang.  Most of the characters didn’t do anything emotionally for me but Jessie and Max’s relationship was exceptionally cute (especially the “I’m crazy about you” part), so I did grieve for Max when he looses Jessie and the baby.

There is also something about Mad Max that gets you thinking about the future and the what if questions about the erosion of law and civil order.

Overall, Mad Max isn’t a great movie.  In fact, it’s kind of bad.  It’s a low-budget whirlwind of bad acting and a strange storyline.  But it is also very enjoyable and such an iconic classic that you can’t help but love it.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/10





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