Tuesday, February 11, 2014
657. MAD MAX (1979)
Running Time: 93 minutes
Directed By: George Miller
Written By: James McCausland, George Miller
Main Cast: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns
Click here to view the trailer
...200 TO GO
Again, not gonna' harp on the fact that I've reached the major milestone of having only 200 movies left to watch from THE BOOK. I'll more than likely have comments in the opening paragraph of the TOP 20 list, which will probably come your way tomorrow, as those things are a bitch to write up. Anyway, "Mad Max" was on a "very long wait" from Netflix, so I turned to OnDemand, which had it available for $2.99. Did I get my money's worth? Read on...
The film is set in the near future (from 1979), where gangs rule the roads of Australia and it's up to the hard boiled officers of Main Force Patrol (MFP) to keep the order. The film kicks off with a brilliantly filmed car chase, which has it all: motorcycles going through campers, a game of chicken, an MFP officer getting his throat cut out with his own windshield and Mel Gibson in leather pants (not that that's my thing, but the ladies may want to take note). The car chase involves MFP and a psychotic killer known as Night Rider (not to be confused with David Hasselhoff's "Knight Rider"). The chase ends with Night Rider being blown to bits and Mel Gibson's Max looking upon the fiery remains. The death of the opening villain brings Night Rider's fellow gang members to town, where they plan to rape, pillage and plunder the town, in honor of their fallen friend. Their first target is Goose (not to be confused with Anthony Edwards' Goose of "Top Gun" fame), Max's partner, whom they run off the road and burn alive. Of course, this infuriates Max, but also scares him, prompting him to turn in his gun and badge and quite MFP. He's talked out of it though, by his commanding officer, who tells him to take some time off and go spend some time with his wife Jessie (Samuel) and his kid. So he does, but the trip leads them into the arms of Night Rider's gang, lead by The Toecutter (not to be confused with....actually, I don't know of any other people who cut toes, so carry on), who threatens the well being of Max's family.
Dude, you cannot give me that amazing car chase during the opening fifteen minutes and then leave me with such a flat ending! What were they thinking? Okay, okay, I'm getting ahead of myself. To say the least, I loved the opening car chase. Come to think of it, I'm actually becoming more and more fascinated with car chases, which is why I can't wait to sink my teeth into "The French Connection" (which is coming VERY SOON...more on that later). I just love a well choreographed car chase and the one that opens "Mad Max" is pretty freaking well done. It's one of those scenes that will turn a pinky raised film buff into a "awesome" and "cool" spouting fan boy. So, of course, that opening scene got me ready for a "cool" movie and what did I get? Well, that was the high point of the whole film, unfortunately. Now, I don't wanna' bash the rest of the movie, because truth be told, I did enjoy it quite a bit. I'm just saying (again), YOU CANNOT GIVE ME THAT MUCH AWESOME AND THEN LEAVE ME HANGING FOR ANOTHER HOUR AND A HALF!
In all seriousness though, this is a pretty gritty, pretty cool little flick and the particulars on it are fascinating. It only cost $400,000 to make, but ended up earning well over a million smackers, making it one of the most profitable movies in history. THE BOOK also notes that director and co-writer George Miller actually crashed one of his own cars while making "Mad Max" which can only be called total dedication to one's art. You get to watch a young Mel Gibson his fourth and breakout film role, but really the acting coups go to the villains, who shined. Hugh Keays-Byrne as Toecutter was brilliant and the type of bad guy that sends shivers down the spine. I also have to mention the beautiful Joanne Samuel, who was perfect as the wife in peril and that scene where she played the saxophone in an oversized night shirt, that barely covered her bottom, was super sexy!
It's funny, both THE BOOK and the description OnDemand call this a movie about a guy who gets revenge on a motorcycle gang for killing his wife and kid. But, guess what? Max's wife and kid aren't killed until the end of the movie and by the time they perish, there's only about eighteen minutes of film time left. What I'm getting at is, I think this movie would be better if they'd killed the wife & kid earlier and let the last half of the film be Max's hunt for the members of the gang. Of course, that would mean a lot less Joanne Samuel, so maybe my idea is rubbish.
See, this is the kind of near future movie I can get into: a motorcycle gang and a merciless police force, not a man falling in love with his cell phone.
RATING: 7/10 One last movie to consider for the TOP 20, which I'll be putting together a little later today. Like I said, I'll be back (probably) tomorrow with the presentation of my newest TOP 20 and we'll go from there.
MOVIES WATCHED: 801
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 200
February 11, 2014 1:30pm
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