Starring: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne
Director: George Miller
Running Time: 93 mins
Mad Max is an Australian film about a post-apocalyptic world where law and order are destroyed, and gangs run riot around the country terrorising the people, leaving one audacious police officer to avenge the deaths caused by the thugs.
This is a pretty important film in the history of post-apocalytic sci-fi, mostly because it brings a different, grittier perspective to the table. With crazy action and merciless themes, this is a pretty brutal film at times, whilst its atmosphere of a barren world gone mad is very strong, however, largely due to being somewhat dated, it isn’t the most exhilarating film of all time.
The film starts off with a ten-minute long car chase, which is one of the most exciting car chases that you’ll ever see, with non-stop high-octane thrills and insane action, explosions and crashes, letting you get properly engrossed in this world before the story even gets going.
However, the problem is that, over the course of this film, a lot of the big action loses its shock value. It’s not that prevalent throughout, but when it does pop up from time to time, it’s progressively less exciting to watch, and it takes away from the most heart-pounding part of the whole film.
Also, the slow pacing in the periods in between action sequences makes this a little less exciting to watch, and although that’s a feature of many films from the 1970s, it’s still not something that will glue your eyes to the screen for the full 93 minutes.
Despite all that, however, the creation of this post-apocalyptic world is very effective here. The setting is excellent, set in the middle of nowhere in the middle of Australia, which gives that sense of isolation and desperation that makes the villains in this film all the more scary and threatening, whilst it also makes for a bit more of an eerie and tense atmosphere.
The main character, Max, is a pretty simple one, who doesn’t speak a lot, but appears as a silent hero that you can’t help but love, even if his methods are sometimes way too far and often extremely brutal, because, after all, this film is meant to be completely mad.
Overall, this gets a 7.1, because despite the slow pacing and lack of consistently exciting action, there are bursts of proper thrills from here to there, as well as convincing world-building and a great main character.