Sunday, May 10, 2015

Netflix Instant Queue Movie Review: "Mad Max" (1979)

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Movie"Mad Max"
Director: George Miller
Year: 1979
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

In a dystopic future, chaos runs wild on the streets of Australia. Outlaw motorcycle gangs torment the few remaining citizens of the cities and an underfunded police known as the Main Force Patrol is their only protection. When MFP officer Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) takes out one of the gang members, known as the Knightrider, in a high speed pursuit, the gang turn their sights on him. When the gang starts to hurt those close to him, Max is ready to get mad and unleash his revenge on them. 

"Mad Max" is the epitome of low budget grindhouse Oz-sploitation cinema. Its dystopic setting is perfect for this type of film as it allows filmmakers to use fewer extras and leaves the streets relatively empty for some big car chases with a lot of booms, and my, what great chase scenes this movie has! The opening chase in particular where the MFP are trying to catch The Nightrider amazingly perfect and really fun to watch. The chases and crashes are very realistic, mainly because the filmmakers didn't have the budget to bring them that very far over the top. They had no choice but to keep them realistic, which is something we don't mind in a genre now exploited by CGI and sometimes poorly executed fake looking effects. Director George Miller even allowed for his own personal trailer to be destroyed in a chase scene, adding an extra touch of realness to it all.

There isn't exactly a strong plot to this film. It's a simple revenge flick, but it actually takes a long time to get to the revenge part of the story. Once it gets there, it quickly wraps up in a violent blaze of glory. If this is what we have to look forward to in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian future, well, we certainly don't want to be there when ish goes down. All the actors in the film were unknown at the time, and even an up and comer named Mel Gibson got his start with this movie. It was the one that launched his career before he became a household name and massively successful film actor and director. More importantly, it was before he lost his accent, and before he, you know, went all "sugar tits" on the world, becoming "mad" himself. Even the biker gang in this movie was an actual real life biker gang, not actors. It's these little touches that have helped "Mad Max" become a cult classic and a sensation in its own right. Though short on plot and any layered detailing, it's gripping and messed up enough to be entertaining, and when you add all the zooms and booms, as we have affectionately come to refer to them, it's fun to dig this movie out every now and then and go a little mad ourselves.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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