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Movies E.C. McMullen Jr. Review by
E.C.McMullen Jr.
Mad Max
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MAD MAX - 1979
Mad Max Films, Kennedy Miller Productions, Crossroads, Filmways Pictures
Ratings: R

A decrepit crest of the halls of justice.

A few years from today.

A cop peeping through his rifle scope at a couple fornicating in the bushes.

And a cop killer on the loose.

A psychotic cop killer who calls himself The Nightrider (Vincent Gill: ONE MORE MINUTE, ENCOUNTER AT RAVEN'S GATE, GHOSTS OF THE CIVIL DEAD, BODY MELT, RAZOR EATERS), busted out of jail and stole a V8 Pursuit vehicle.

Two police Pursuit cars head off after the escapee. In one care, two cops fight over the dibs to drive the Pursuit vehicle. Two Pursuit policemen at odds because they both want to be the hero. One wants to blow the psychotic away the other wants to ram their car. They nearly wind up killing each other and the psychotic gets away.

As the psychotic goes flying past an outback gas station, more vehicles are involved in the pursuit including motorcycle cop Jim Goose (Steve Bisely: THE CHAIN REACTION), and a few opportunistic tow trucks.

Of course, when entering areas of population there are bound to be other people on the road.

In spectacular, explosive action never seen on the screen before or since, both the motorcycle cop and the two pursuit vehicles are "100% SNAFU."

It's time for Max Rockantansky (Mel Gibson: THE ROAD WARRIOR, BEYOND THUNDERDOME, PAPARAZZI). He doesn't drive a Pursuit vehicle: Max drives the Interceptor.

Merry mishaps occur resulting in one less Nightrider.

Home at night, Max burns the fumes of work away with his baby son Sprog (Brendan Heath) and listening to his wife Jessie (Joanne Samuel: EARLY FROST) play the saxophone. Later, the radio news reports his escapades. Max knew next to nothing of the psychotic who died in the fiery crash. "Just another glory rider I guess."

As society disintegrates, crime in the street and on the road gets worse. Max is done with the highway bloodbath and turns in his resignation papers. He has a family and he'd rather be with them. But his buddy, Jim "The Goose", wants him at the station. Something is going down.

What's going down is the police department wanting to keep their best man from retirement. Max doesn't realize it, but as a gift, the department has a new fuel injected, Weiand turbo charged, Nitro burning V8. The city spent a lot of money on this and they don't like it. But Max's chief, Fifi (Roger Ward: THE CHAIN REACTION, LADY STAY DEAD, BLOOD CAMP THATCHER, LONG WEEKEND, BAD BEHAVIOR), thinks the world needs heros again, and he sees one in Max.

Meanwhile, in another town, a group of outlaw bikers, The Nightriders, arrive.

"We've come for our friend arriving on the train."
"Nothing coming on the train except two crates and a ... coffin."
"Our friend."

For the Nightriders, the death of their leader means it's time for revenge and vengeance. So they go on a violent crime spree of rape and mayhem to bring the cops, knowing that the Interceptor will be among them.

Soon Max and Jim Goose come upon two citizens who were gang raped in the outlaw biker's drug fueled rage.

One of them, Johnnie the Boy (Tim Burns: THE CHAIN REACTION, CASSANDRA), got left behind, too whacked out of his skull to ride.

In his stupor, Johnnie keeps hollering out "Nightrider."

Message received.

Except that isn't the way the outlaw bikers meant to have it go down. The new leader, Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne: THE CHAIN REACTION, STARSHIP), sends Bubba (Geoff Parry: THE BIG HURT) back to town to bail Johnnie out of jail. It's clear that Bubba has no love or respect for junkie Johnnie, but Toecutter admires his other charms.

It finally comes to a showdown where the frightened townspeople refuse to show up in court against a single member of The Nightriders while the rest ride free. So Johnnie is out, no contest.

Through Johnnie, The Nightriders swear vengeance on "The Bronze", a criminal slur for police officers (the metal of their badge). The cops are ready to engage out on the road. Unfortunately for people like The Goose, the police still think like cops and haven't learned to start thinking like victims. That's all about to change for Goose in the most violent, painful way possible. Max, traumatized by the powerful level of violence inflicted on Goose, is allowed to take a vacation to clear his head. But Max wants more. He needs to quit.

Fifi tries to change his mind, but Max won't hear of it: he has a family to think of. More to the point, Max is scared: scared because he's cracking. If he has to see one more inhuman attack like what happened to The Goose, he might stop thinking like a cop and turn into one of them.

The Nightriders aren't dissuaded by Max's career change. Max killed The Nightrider. Max will suffer. But first they have to find him.

There are only so many roads in a given area and their next meeting is an unlucky stroke of coincidence.

So The Nightriders visit a revenge upon Max far worse than what happened to The Goose. Max was already on the edge, and this pushes him over. Max has gone mad. There is nothing to stop him now.

MAD MAX is a stunning classic. As of 2012, no car chase movie comes close to MAD MAX and even today the movie is exciting and mind blowing.

This fantastic high speed brutal dystopian movie remains a gut-punch amazing Thriller: All the more so considering that all of the stunts were real - no cgi.

The relationship between Max and his wife feels playfully real and genuine. The friendship between Max and his fellow cops ranges from best friends to father figure. And yet it's all so action packed - action driven - that even during the lull of character development, we can only sit on the edge of our seats suspensefully anticipating the next Horror that is sure to come. What's more, the cultural image was way ahead of it's time. Heterosexuals and homosexuals isn't a barrier between people and straights and gays belong to the same packs, both criminal and law enforcement, without issue. It is simply presented as natural.

Director and co-writer George Miller never came close to such an achievement again, but no problem. How many futuristic movies can remain futuristic and thrillingly relevant after 32 years? George and his co-writer, James McCausland, created a bar so monumentally high that no one has come close to reaching it since. MAD MAX is the ultimate ass-kicking action Thriller: the apex of car chase actioneers and still the most influential of all dystopian movies.

5 Shriek Girls

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2012 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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