• James Rutherford

'Mad Max': The High-Octane First Chapter in the Legendary Australian Post-Apocalyptic Film Series


Movie poster for the Australian film Mad Max (1979)

Mad Max (1979) is a frenetic Australian action thriller starring Mel Gibson as the titular Max Rockatansky, a determined young officer with the Main Force Patrol (MFP). Surviving in a near-future age of widespread fuel shortages and societal decline, Max and his fellow lawmen battle a vicious roaming motorcycle gang of "glory roaders" lead by the maniacal "Toecutter" (Hugh Keays-Byrne).


Max's superiors within the MFP become attentive to his growing weariness and gift him a custom-made, V8-powered black GT Falcon in order to spur his enthusiasm. Behind the wheel of his V8 "Interceptor", Max lays siege to the lawless open roads of the Australian outback before the death of a fellow officer impels him into early retirement. Living a tranquil life with his wife and son in the countryside. Max and his family are besieged by Toecutter and his henchmen, however, setting Max on a fierce course of brutalistic reprisal.


Written and directed by Australian filmmaker George Miller (The Witches of Eastwick, Mad Max: Fury Road) in his feature film debut, Mad Max is a blistering tale of retribution delivered in a hard-nosed yet adroitly bent manner. Gibson bears the weight of the storyline's darkest tones under a steely gaze—intent, despondent and increasingly unhinged. The first installment in Millers' now-legendary "Mad Max" franchise, this initial chapter in the desert wanderer's escapades delivers a riveting thrill-ride ripe for rediscovery.

 

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