day three: mad max. [another day, another movie – post-apocalypse.]

I know it’s pretty sad that a movie freak like myself had never seen Mad Max before today, but it’s true. There are just so many thousands of amazing movies to see, it’s hard to get to them all. That’s where ‘Another Day, Another Movie’ comes in. It gives me the necessary motivation to familiarize myself with genres I have little or no experience of.

Mad Max has such a rabid reputation, beloved by so many for its car and motorcycle stunts, it’s road cinematography, it’s impact on sci-fi and post-apocalypse films, and it birth in Australia. Also, before it became clear he was insane, it was beloved for launching to stardom of Mel Gibson as well. I had a strong feeling this movie was going to be overrated, or, since The Road Warrior seems to be the consensus favorite of the franchise, I thought perhaps this one would suck, and they hit their stride in #2.

Let me tell you, folks: This film is not overrated.

I quite honestly had no expectation of saying this, but here it is… I loved Mad Max from beginning to end. It was basically a post-apocalyptic western. Instead of a band of outlaws on horseback, a band of insane motorcycle thugs wander the desolate remnants of society raping, terrorizing and pillaging. They run up against what’s left of a police force, based in the Halls of Justice, and… you know, one thing leads to another, people are killed, our lone wolf hero loses his shit and wreaks havoc as he gets his revenge. So many of the western film staples are present, perhaps most notably a take on Leoné’s boot shots, which in Mad Max were fucking awesome.

For those like me who haven’t seen it, the car and motorcycle stunts are everything they’re cracked up to be. Guys riding motorcycles off bridges, guys getting hit in the head by a tumbling bike, a guy flying off his bike at high speed, cars crashing through trailers at tremendous speed. I know the stunts in part two are even more intense, which means I can’t wait for The Road Warrior.

As cinematic revenge obsessed vigilantes go, Mel Gibson as Mad Max just may be my favorite. I won’t write out the whole line and spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it, but I was already really enjoying this character before he uttered, “The chain in those handcuffs is high-tensile steel…” Total bad-ass. Yet, they did such a great job creating the tenderness in earlier scenes that we totally understand his anger and insanity.

My only complaint is that I wish they’d made the revenge sequence longer. They did such a great job setting it up, I wish it had lasted more than 25 minutes.

Damn, I love movies!