Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Roger Ward, Steve
Bisley, Tim Burns, Hugh Keays-Byrne
Director: George Miller
Audio: Australian Dolby Digital 5.1, Austrailian Dolby Mono, English Dolby Mono
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1, Standard 1.33:1
Features: See Review
Length: 94 Minutes
Release Date: January 2, 2002
“They say people don’t believe in heroes
anymore…well damn them! You and me, Max…we’re gonna give them back the
the realm of international cinema, Mad Max
will forever remain a groundbreaking film. In addition to being perhaps the
first post-apocalyptic movie, it singlehandedly put Australia on the moviemaking
map, along with the early works of director Peter Weir. Director George Miller,
who would go on to direct the family-oriented classic Babe,
fashioned what would be not just the first post-apocalyptic film, but the ultimate
one. Twenty two years after its release, the movie still holds its appeal as a
full throttle, uncompromising, take-no-prisoners, sci-fi classic.
movie begins with an absolute bang, as high speed pursuit engages between law
enforcement and a speeding madman. Enter heroic officer Max Rockatansky, who
wages a one on one pursuit with madman, resulting in a series of destructive
collisions. Max is played by a then unknown actor by the name of Mel Gibson, who
at the time was only 21 and was just then a rising star in Australia. The
actor’s undeniable sense of charisma and tension in his performance as Max put
him on Hollywood map, which then led to a power-packed career.
the opening segment of the movie, it’s quite amazing how such scenes of car
collisions were pulled off back in 1979. Made on a very low budget, Mad
Max introduced the world to a new level of action filming and set pieces. It
looks as if special effects were not used at all, and the actual vehicles were
damaged to make for a more authentic movie going experience. Miller, along with
his director of photography David Eggby, kept this raw feel throughout the next
two films in the trilogy, The Road Warrior
and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
soon finds himself up against a deadly gang of bikers, led by the bloodthirsty
Toecutter. Toecutter and his gang soon get to Max on a high personal level,
killing off not only his friend and partner, but soon slaying his wife and
infant son in cold blood on the highway. Taken over completely by vengeance, Max
forces perhaps one of the most memorable acts of payback ever to be seen in the
cinema. The level of violence in Mad Max
pretty much set it apart from the rest in terms of how unsettling and intense it
was. A few scenes even dare to place infants at the center of close calls and
shocking danger; a gesture that many films don’t even dare to do.
far as hard-edged entertainment is concerned, Mad Max will forever hold a place in my heart as one of the all-time
greats. I don’t give it a full high rating only because it slightly pales in
comparison to its sequel, The Road Warrior,
which contains some of the greatest stunt work ever captured on film. This first
installment, though, is and will forever remain a classic post-apocalyptic
visions ever filmed.
has done a most superb job in transferring Mad
Max to the DVD format, even though it was previously available from Image,
which didn’t consist of any extras whatsoever. Anamorphically enhanced, this
presentation is mostly impressive with it sharpness and crispness, but only
suffers from a few brief scenes that don’t seem as a fault of the DVD, but
simply of the film stock of the time. Overall, MGM has done a mostly fantastic
never did own a copy of the Image version of this movie, but I can certainly say
this, this offering from MGM delivers what I’ve never been able to experience
before, which is the chance to hear the movie in its original Australian format.
I’ve seen the movie countless times, but only in the English dubbed version,
which is also included in Mono format only. The Australian track is also given a
big boost with the 5.1 digital presentation, which picks up surprisingly well in
everything from roaring engines to the pulse pounding music score. A most
wonderful job from MGM.
once again delivers their uncanny Special Edition goods with this release.
Included is a commentary by photography director David Eggby, art director Jon
Dowding, special effects supervisor Chris Murray, and film historian Tim Ridge.
Also included is a Fact & Trivia Tract option, which displays loads on info
throughout the presentation. Featured as well are two intriguing documentaries;
“Mel Gibson: The Birth of a Superstar” and “Mad Max: Film Phenomenon”,
trailers and TV spots, and a photo gallery.