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Retro Review: Mad Max and Preview: Fury Road

Mad Max

Here at Comic Booked, we cover more than comics. Any movie, TV show, or video game is also fair… well, game. Sometimes going back and watching old movies just for fun gives you an interesting perspective of movie making and cultural ideas about the future. That is what I want to talk about as I review Mad Max. Also, the fact that the trailer for the new Mad Max: Fury Road was released this past week at San Diego Comic Con.

Mad MaxReview: Mad Max (1979)

Mad Max stars a very young Mel Gibson, as Max Rockatansky, following a script written by George Miller and Byron Kennedy. Filmed in Australia in the late 1970’s, this film is set in a dystopian future “a few years from now”. The MFP, or Main Force Patrol, are the law enforcement on the roads of Australia. And the roads are dangerous places, even for the law.

One of the main plot points, which is not very clearly explained in the movie, is that in this future, there has been a huge petroleum crisis and fuels are at a premium forcing certain individuals with lesser morals to congregate into roving gangs, raping and pillaging like road pirates on motorcycles and muscle cars. One such crazy person and his girlfriend are on a driving and killing spree in the beginning of this movie that introduces both the disregard for human life of the gangs and the hardness of the MFP as they mete out justice to hold back the chaos.

From the classic muscle cars to the gritty storyline, this movie is a classic post-apocalyptic future tale. The lesser known of the original three Mad Max movies, this movie was filmed and originally released in Australia. The wide open expanses, desert, and proximity of wooded areas and ocean give an interesting feel to this movie, as though it is not so much in the future, but maybe next week or in a year. No souped up technology, no flying cars, and no super weapons. This movie relies on the grit and cunning of the main character and the desperate madness of the berserker cycle gang.

The overall plot of this movie revolves around a run in between the MFP and the Nightrider. Through a near psychotic car chase and killer game of chicken, the Knightrider is killed. It is found that he was part of a gang led by Toecutter, a ruthless gang leader. His bloodthirsty crew will stop at nothing to get revenge. They wreak havoc wherever they go.

After a shake up in the MFP, Max turns in his resignation and is instead told to take a vacation and leaves with his wife and son, heading North to take some time at his mother’s homestead. In the process, his wife has a run in with Toecutter’s gang and messes them up a bit with her car. This leads them to seek revenge for this slight to their pride which ends with the brutal murder of both wife and son. This pushes Max into that madness for which he is so aptly named. He proceeds, through a series of chases and gun and knife fights, to hunt and kill each of the villains. Even in the end, battered, shot, and cut, he still is able to send Toecutter and Bubba Zanetti to their dooms.

The last scenes of this movie show the main point of what this film is trying to teach. Max finds the last of the gang members, Johnny the Boy, and cuffs his ankle to the underside of a car. He then sets up an explosion using the fancy lighter that he took from Johnny and a slow fuel leak. As a final shot at Johnny, Max leaves him a hacksaw, giving him the opportunity to survive, but at the loss of his foot. There is a darkness in each man’s soul that, when everything else is taken away. He will plumb that darkness for the strength and the rage to avenge his loved ones. What Max becomes, from the fun-loving man in the beginning to the cold killer dealing death to those who deserve it, is a testament to what a man can be driven to do. Overall a great movie, although parts can be a little slow, but the action and dialogue is decent for a movie from the late 1970’s.

The Future of Max

Now that you have read a review of the original film, check out this awesome trailer released this last weekend during the San Diego Comic Con for the upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road.

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This new Mad Max, from series originator, George Miller,  looks as though it will be starting the story on a much darker note than previous films but following the same gritty future style that made each of the previous three great movies to watch. Max will be captured by the roving gangs and tortured until he escapes or is rescued and is able to fight back. It looks really cool. The female lead, Furiosa, can be an interesting character, someone who thinks that her only salvation lies in returning to her childhood home across the desert. As always, Max will fight for the underdog and he will do it with any weapon available… and carnage will reign.

Let us know what you think. Will you be seeing Mad Max: Fury Road?


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