MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
As society crumbles in Australia, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) works as one of the few policemen left, trying to keep order. However, when a savage motorcycle gang targets him and his fellow officers, things start to get dangerous for Max and his family. Soon, the situation gets terribly brutal for Max, leading him to take revenge on the bikers in this wildly famous road race movie from down under.
WHAT I LIKED
I sort of grew up with “Mad Max” in the sense that I remember when “The Road Warrior” and “Mad Max: Beyond Thuderdome” came out. While “The Road Warrior” is considered possibly a bigger classic to many of my contemporaries, it was wonderful to go back to the original Australian film. It’s so easy to say that the original is the best, but in this case, I believe it.
Sure, what “Mad Max” is known for is the fast cars and cutting brutality, and that stuff is awesome. Even today against the action films of the modern era, “Mad Max” is brilliant. What leads to that brilliance is the fact that the movie is shot in real time with actual stunts. There was no blue-screen shots or digital explosions. The cars crash… for real. The explosions explode… for real. And that’s refreshing to watch nowadays.
But beyond the explosive nature of the road movie, “Mad Max” also works as a character piece. We get to see Max’s descent into madness. In the 90s, Mel Gibson proved himself as a solid actor, but people didn’t give him the credit back in the early 1980s. In retrospect, it’s nice to see him taking that on at such an early age.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
For what it is, “Mad Max” works perfectly well. There’s some cheesy acting and some weird dialogue choices, but as an element of Ozploitation cinema, it works with the flaws of the genre. Previously, I had only seen the movie on VHS, and I believe those releases were all the dubbed versions. Why, I cannot understand. Apparently Americans in the 1980s couldn’t understand Australian accents. Go figure.
Fortunately, this Blu-ray/DVD combo includes the original dialogue, accents and all, so it doesn’t sound as muddy as the VHS.
The Blu-ray comes with commentary by Jon Dowding, David Eggby, Chris Murray and Tim Ridge as well as the retrospective featurette “Mad Max: The Film Phenomenon.”
The enclosed second DVD disc includes the same commentary and featurette. There’s also the original theatrical trailer, a photo gallery and TV spots. It comes with a “Road Rants” trivia track as well as the featurette “Mel Gibson: The Birth of a Superstar” documentary.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who like fast cars and explosive action.