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A movie directed by George Miller

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Mad Max - the beginning of a new era

  • Nov 3, 2001
Pros: Gibson

Cons: none

The Bottom Line: A great introduction to Gibson's style that would soon develop

The Oracle says: Mel Gibson has a Bacon number of 2.

Mel Gibson was in Hamlet (1990) with Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter was in Novocaine (2001) with Kevin Bacon ***

This could have easily been my first introduction to the enigma that is Mel Gibson. As different from the doppleganger that became Harrison Ford, Gibson adapted to his multi-role variations with decency, diplomacy and a bit of charisma. Where I found the early Ford (Star Wars, Indiana Jones) to be exciting and that the immersed himself into his roles, he didn't, as far as I am concerned, grow with his roles later on. He has become a boring plodding old man, very Tom Berenger like. Gibson, however, has grown and improved and adapts to his roles and characters remarkably well.

Thinking of all the productions that I have enjoyed - laughed myself silly with Conspiracy Theory and greatly admired him in Man Without A Face. The Mad Max series, most especially this one, pretty well set the tone for his career.

First, to enjoy this movie, you must be of the mind that can immerse yourself into the unknown and the unusual. You have to be able to accept that the world destruction will result in a lifestyle that is set forth in this movie. Frankly, I had no trouble imagining such destruction, such horrible living conditions, such desolation. I could easily picture such chaos.

Gibson plays a good guy, a decent policeman, trying to make things right for everyone else. Viewing so much destruction, so much loss of life, he is disheartened and wants to leave the force. His boss tempts him with an outrageous vehicle, and a vacation. Deciding to take the trip with wife and kiddie, Max goes to the beach for a nice repose. Unfortunately, a small altercation with some low-life scum results in the death of the wife and kiddie and it also results in the birth of tough guy road avenger, Mad Max.

Not that this is a great production, nor is the script a first time issue. We've seen it many times before from battles in the dark ages, the shoot-outs in the wild West, World War I, World War II, Viet Nam ...... anytime good meets bad, a battle ensues. That's a given. What did result, however, was a damn decent movie that amazingly was followed by two sequels that were just as good. It appears Gibson is one of those rare souls that can put himself into a sequel and make it work (look at the Lethal Weapon series, I could watch those bad boys all day!).

This movie was an independent release, made on a shoestring budget, but it worked and it produced one of the best stars to ever grace the screens in modern times. I'm not booting out Cary Grant and the boys from those days, they were a world apart, but in today's acting group, few can dispel the fact that Mel Gibson ranks in the top.

In Mad Max you will be introduced to some of the most bizarre and outrageous car (?) chase scenes to grace the media, but they are what makes this movie a step higher and a action scene better to other movies released under this same genre - whatever genre this is. It's a love story, an action flick, it's comedic and dramatic. It has something for all ages, and something for all sexes.

Do not confuse this is a pretty movie. It is far from pretty. It's evil, it's nasty. There are shoot-em-ups that are pretty bloody, the attack on the wife and child are particularly brutal, the scenery is stark and painful, but nevertheless, it is a pretty movie.

Directed by George Miller, writing credits to James McCausland based on a story by George Miller & Bryon Kennedy. Great special effects by Chris Murray


*** Compliments of Department of Computer Science
School of Engineering, University of Virginia


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review by . April 27, 2009
The film that launched a franchise, a sub genre and a hundred knock-offs
Mad Max is a low budget Aussie film that became a huge success in the U.S. because of it's sequel Mad Max 2 a.k.a. The Road Warrior. Not only did this movie spawned a franchise but it created a new genre of film (the post apocalyptic wasteland/road film) many rip-offs and pro wrestlers inspired by the movie and it's sequels.      Mel Gibson (in his greatest role in my opinion) stars as "Mad" Max, a cop who has seen too much while trying to enforce the law in …
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The first film of the Mad Max trilogy.

Rebel bikers combat the police in a bleak post-nuclear future where the highways are bloody battlegrounds. When a gang of motorcyclists brutally murder a policeman's family he becomes Mad Max, avenger of the highways. Sequel: THE ROAD WARRIOR.
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