VIDEO: Mad Max (1979)

A look at the hugely influential Oz-ploitation film Mad Max.

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  • Muthsarah

    Would you believe it (really, you should), I can’t find this movie anymore. I’m in a weird part of the country where it’s still practical/possible to RENT movies from VIDEO STORES. As in one. Literally one video store. Like in the 90s. Quaint, we are. And all Mad Max movies are currently checked out. For how long, I have no idea.

    Normally, the argument “so what if the remake sucks, it raises awareness of the original, so people who see and like the $#!++y remake will check out the original, that should please you backwoods Luddite lovers of stuff of days of yore” goes nowhere with me. But…well…”Fury Road” being such a glorious piece of cinema…

    SIDEBAR: I saw the movie in 3D the first time. It looked crazy cartoonish. Is it worth seeing in 2D, just to see what it’s like, in a, perhaps, slightly more coherent…dimension? Was it NOT cartoonish then? Aside from Scorsese’s “Hugo”, I dunno if I’ve ever seen 3D that didn’t look like a cartoon (disclaimer: “Frozen” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2” don’t count, for reasons that should be obvious).

    …I really do feel like it [Fury Road] has sparked/will spark a true Renaissance of the Mad Max franchise. Not only because it’s the rare remake/reboot/relaunch that’s actually good, but that it worked without actually BREAKING from the old formula in any substantial way. It really did honor the old films. Or at least “The Road Warrior”, the only one I’ve actually seen. Hence why I’ve been trying to track down the others, including the movie you’re reviewing here.

    Oh, the reason I can’t rent it these days? The waiting list is MONTHS long. Yeah. In the days of Amazon and stuff. There’s a months-long waiting list at a physical-media video store in a major metropolitan area. Because of this crazy (good) film. I might hafta buy it. Netflix hadn’t anticipated this, obviously, so that’s not an option. But the franchise was just jumped to life. Like….a lightning bolt hitting a….car engine. I don’t know cars.

    Anyway, I really wanna see “Mad Max”. I just can’t. Because “Fury Road” was THAT good. Bolt of lightning, it was. How often do films like that come out? That can legitimately re-awaken interest in an old franchise, without disrespecting/misinterpreting it in any way. Once in a lifetime, maybe. Best I can remember.

    Which is my long way of saying “I want to comment on this review, but due to circumstance, I really honestly can’t otherwise”. Love the show.

    • danbreunig

      I’m so totally on board with this–it’s a true lightning in a bottle moment and an sparse example of how to do a remake/relaunch right. Probably the biggest factor is that the original producer George Miller himself did the remake of his own movie, rather than trust the property to a relatively younger and more detached big-studio director/producer. I just saw it a second time (once each in 2 & 3D) to pick up on anything I may have missed the first time, and it hasn’t disappointed yet.

      I’d recommend watching the whole trilogy if you can: Mad Max, Road Warrior, Beyond Thunderdome–you’ll recognize many small references in Fury Road to each original movie. One suggestion I have is to see if your local library may have copies, either there or copies you could order through other library branches. It’ll take longer because of the wait, but you can watch them for free or cheaper doing it that way.

      • Cecil_Trachenburg

        I agree. :)

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      You’ll definitely want to check out the originals. I’m stunned that George Miller was able to do Fury Road. The fact that the studios were agreeable to let him handle the latest in the series he created, without much meddling, and without dumping it to some CGI wankfest. I think the public has spoken and we will hopefully see more like this.

      I haven’t heard a movie this gushed over in forever. (and thats a good thing)

      • The_Stig

        It deserves all the gushing it gets. The true miracle was that George Miller was not only able to make a Mad Max movie 30 years after the last film, but one that was not only good, but arguably as good as if not better than the consensus best film in the whole franchise.

    • Bouncy X

      if you’re lucky enough to live in canada and have access to TMN and its “spinoff” channels, their retro channel (forget the name at the moment) currently has the original 3 in the lineup on their on demand channel. if you don’t live here, i have to imagine you can find them on streaming services or other on demand channels somewhere. they were recently re-released on home video so someone must have them available to rent to cash in on the new one.

      • Adam Bomb 1701

        Here in the states, the Encore channels have been running “Mad Max” recently; with the original Aussie dialog track. I saw it theatrically back in 1983, when it was re-released to capitalize in the success of “The Road Warrior”. I didn’t know the actor’s voices were dubbed over; my first thought about that was “What the f..k??!!” I still enjoyed it immensely, nonetheless.
        MGM owns “Mad Max” now; they apparently acquired it when they bought out Orion Pictures. Who bought out Filmways. Who bought out AIP, way back around 1980.

  • Zee Panda

    I’ve never been a big fan of the original Mad Max. (I love The Road Warrior, though.) After this, though, I feel like I should give it another watch with new eyes. I never knew any of the backstory to the building of the movie and it’s AWESOME.

  • spiff2268

    Just a couple things here:

    Whenever some idiot is in one of those handcuffs and hacksaw situations why do they think they can only cut through their limbs? (Mad Max, Saw, Walking Dead) Hey, dumbasses, yeah, the cuffs may be hardened, or high tinsel steel but guess what: What you’re cuffed to very well most likely isn’t! Just cut through whatever you’re cuffed to and be on your way. You can get the cuffs off later.

    Also, the original movie wasn’t a big hit in North America. (US, Canada) That distribution company was small time and couldn’t really promote it. So the only places it was see in NA were big city arthouse theaters. That’s why the second movie was called “The Road Warrior” here but was called “Mad Max II” everywhere else. They couldn’t call it “Mad Max II” when most people had no idea what “Mad Max” was. For the second movie they handed over distribution to one of the big studios and “The Road Warrior” became a huge hit. That was also the time of the VCR explosion so when everybody found out “The Road Warrior” was a sequel to another movie called “Mad Max” they could actually go rent and watch it. That’s when “Mad Max” really made it into the public eye.

    • Capt. Harlock

      Actually, Cinemax showed the Hell out of Mad Max, long before it was out on tape. Most people that went to see Road Warrior knew exactly who Max was.