Classic Film Review: Mad Max (1979)

The film Mad Max was an Australian independent action film that was released in 1979. It quickly became so popular in the U.S. that it was almost immediately deemed a “classic”, spawning numerous sequels and even being brought back into the light of a modern audience by the release of the newest instalment in the series Mad Max: Fury Road starring Tom Hardy instead of Mel Gibson as Max.

However, the version of the movie seen by many in North America is not the one that we watched. In 1979 America, the Australian accents in the movie were considered to be too hard for Americans to understand. To that end, they dubbed over Mel Gibson’s voice in one of his breakthrough roles. The version that I watched, howMad-Max-Posterever, was the original Australian version, chock full of Gibson’s accented badassery.

In the original film, the protagonist of the series, Max Rockatansky(played by Mel Gibson), is a member of a police force in post-apocalyptic Australia. After causing the death of a renowned criminal, Max and his family are put into the cross hairs of a highly aggressive motorcycle gang, who had taken over the highways surrounding the town, led by a man named Toecutter (played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who also played Immortan Joe in the new movie). This eventually leads to the death of Max’s family, which sets him on a path of vengeance against the biker gang with the help of the “last of the V8’s”.

This movie was entertaining to watch, but not necessarily for the reasons the film had intended. The action scenes were very well done, with car chases, explosions, and the standard action fare. However, the acting style within this film is highly outdated and just appears cheesy in the eyes of a modern audience. Because of this kind of acting and dialogue, it was difficult to take the serious moments of the film seriously at all. If you add to this the long sections during the first half of the movie that have little to no action to speak of, it becomes more of a drawn-out comedy. That is until the last half hour which is pure, high-intensity action.

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