With the release of George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road only days away, it is time to go back and remember where it all started. George Miller has always been an underappreciated director and that should change. The man can direct any genre with panache and style including action (The Mad Max series), thriller (Twilight Zone: The Movie), blockbuster comedy (The Witches of Eastwick), powerful drama (Lorenzo’s Oil), and family films (Babe: Pig in the City and the Happy Feet films). But back in 1979 he co-wrote a story and screenplay and directed a film that would become one of the biggest cult hits of all time and a pivotal film in the action genre, Mad Max. It also made a star out of a little known Australian actor named Mel Gibson.
Max Rockatansky (Gibson) is a cop in the barren post-apocalyptic wastelands of Australia. As the system of civilization and modern society slowly disintegrate, bands of insane outlaws take over the outback and terrorize anyone they come in contact with. But when they attack Max’s best friend, wife and child, he takes the law into his own hands and becomes judge, jury and executioner as he sets out to rule the road and destroy anyone who gets in his way.
While the events in the sequel, The Road Warrior, were much more apocalyptic with gas being in high demand and not much of civilization being left, Mad Max is more of a portrait of the beginnings of the end. There isn’t really anything in the way of law or rules, but people can still live in relative peace unless they come in contact with the roving gangs. Mad Max is fast paced, exciting, thrilling and a landmark film in the action genre for its stripped down take on car chases and fights, making it all about taking things to the extremes. There are no fancy sets, no luxurious costuming or special effects. Just raw stunt action in fast moving cards in the middle of nowhere in the Australian Outback.
The new Collector’s Edition from Shout Factory boasts a great new transfer, the original Australian audio track and the US dubbed audio track, brand new interviews with Mel Gibson and other crew members, audio commentary, and some great documentaries, trailers and galleries. This is the definitive edition of an action classic and the perfect opportunity to start from the beginning before taking on Fury Road.