In a dystopian future Australia, the roads are run by violent marauders and gangs. Only a small few policemen stand against them, hoping to maintain some order and civilization. One such officer, Max (Mel Gibson) crosses paths with one of the more violent gangs led by a psychopath known as The Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne). When The Toecutter starts targeting Max’s partner and family, Max decides to take the law into his own hands, seeking revenge on The Toecutter and his gang.
A few weeks ago, I reviewed Mad Max: Fury Road, and I was pleasantly surprised by the awesome action and insane moments. I decided to go back and watch the 1979 original, and the two barely resemble each other. Taking Mad Max on its own, there are some great moments of action and suspense. Max is a well thought-out and defined character whose vengeance-filled motives seem entirely justified. The other supporting roles, such as his partner Goose (Steve Bisley) and his wife Jessie (Joanne Samuel) all play their parts well in establishing Max as an interesting character. In terms of action, it is much more limited than I expected. There are a few car/motorcycle chases and a couple gunfights. This makes it hard at times to actually see Mad Max as an action movie, since there are plenty of moments of down time.
All around, I found this movie to be particularly confusing. The pace is much slower than more modern action movies. It takes a while to establish the world, characters, and set up the villain. But once the movie does, it improves dramatically, as the villain and hero chase each other around through the back half hour of the short 90-minute run time. Mad Max might be great for someone who enjoys late 70’s and early 80’s action movies and viewers who can handle a slower pace. But if you’re looking for non-stop, edge-of-your-seat action, I suggest Fury Road instead.
Mad Max is rated R for violence and some sexuality.