Low budget classic that is now a genre landmark.
Set somewhere in the future we are privy to a world where the roads are ruled by maniac gangs with souped up cars, and bikers that literally could come from hell. Trying to stop these marauding loons are the overstretched police force who themselves ride in exceptionally fast cars. At the front of this story is Max Rockatansky, a good honest cop trying to hold his own against the chaotic world that is forming around him. After his best friend is burned and left for dead he decides enough is enough and thinks about retiring from the service, but whilst on a vacation with his wife and child things go decidedly bad and Max becomes an avenging force of fury with devastating affect.
When evaluating this film I feel it really needs to be put into perspective just how brilliant a job director George Miller did with next to no cash to work with, in fact Miller edited the film in his own bedroom just to emphasise the low-fi nature of the beast. The costumes are excellent, the cast are terrific, with Mel Gibson as Max particularly impressive, and here we have villains to truly fit the word villainous, but it's the stunts and chase sequences that makes this film a rich rewarding experience. The opening ten minutes alone are pure adrenalin pumping genius, but the film as a whole delivers a crash bang wallop punch that has often been imitated since its release, but rarely bettered, and although the heart of the film is a simple revenge story, it grabs your attention and delivers right to the corking finale, 8/10.
Footnote: Region 2 Users should note that the bargain bucket Mad Max Trilogy flip pack set still contains the foolishly dubbed version of this film, incredibly stupid move from the American distributors.
Though I had only seen the previous installment, 'Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome', which I enjoyed whilst a great many people didn't, with the present sequel earning ten (!?) Oscar nominations, I wanted to catch up on things before seeing the new film at the Cineplex. I was very pleased with this early film in the post-apocalyptic movie category, and can see how and why both it and star Mel Gibson became so successful. Other than Kenneth Anger's experimental film, 'Scorpio Rising', I have never seen a work that so fetishes both cars and the ritual of dressing, either for driving or for war. It's very well directed and suspenseful for a first-timer in Miller, and I'm so glad he's still helming the films of the series 36 years later! All that one has to do to see How To and How Not To Continue a Fine Franchise is compare how both George Miller and George Lucas have done this century. It's sad that they were so short on funds that only Gibson could be fitted with real leather in the film--I think I can rightly assume that money isn't a problem anymore...