Mad Max (1979) IMDb

Commentary

Car-fondling revenge flick on paper-thin excuse for a backdrop. Not worthy of its own sequel.

References here: Burst City (1982), Casshan: Robot Hunter (1993).

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Sequel:

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) IMDb

Commentary

High cult. No matter how profoundly silly its concepts, how very post-Jaws its presentation, this film’s version of the post-apocalyptic remains absolutely iconic.

References here: Always Coming Home (1985), Fist of the North Star (1986), The Stand (1994), Doomsday (2008).

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Sequel:

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) IMDb

Sequel:

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) IMDb

Extent

Seen in 2015. Previously rated a 3.

Theatrical 3D (colour version) and 2D (“Black & Chrome”, at the 2018 Draken SF film festival).

Categorization

Substantially more mature and grandiose than its prequels.

Subject

Insane with guilt, Max loses his car to a group of warlords knitted together by their respective access to food, fuel and weapons. One warlord’s wife has drawn intelligent conclusions about the academic question of “who killed the world” and persuaded one of the generals to her cause.

Commentary

As an action thriller it is superb. The impressive storm, mid-desert swamp and ridiculously high estimate of the size of the desert flats indicate that George Miller has settled on a mythological approach to the subject, far removed from the first film. It is a good choice, given the weakness of the “terminal crazies” premiss that runs throughout the series, and the general ecological implausibility. As science fiction, it’s thin.

The meandering journey through several warlike little cultures reminds me of The Warriors (1979) with everybody but the gangs removed from society. The “Buzzards”, for instance, use The Cars That Ate Paris (1974). The blind Doof Warrior is a fantastic idea, well executed, like a corner detail in some schlocky 1990s Games Workshop illustration brought to life. It is just one of numerous such details in the continuous chase: Ingenious novelties held together by solid work in every department. It lines up too well with the male gaze upon Joe’s wives, despite all that is done to soften that gaze.

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