20 May 2024

Mad Max Collection Blu-Ray Review

MadMax_GasCan_2DThe Mad Max Trilogy has been reissued for the first time on Blu-ray but the first 2 films have had standalone releases in some countries. The release is obviously to coincide with the upcoming sequel Mad Max: Fury Road but Tom Hardy has replaced the original film’s star Mel Gibson, even though he does have a cameo role a “Drifter”.

The first Mad Max is probably my favourite of the trilogy; it is one of the most important Australian films ever made. It came out at the tail end of the Ozploitation of the 70s and came out the same time as the more arty Peter Weir films. It’s certainly owes a debt to both kinds of filmmaking. It’s also probably the most low-key of the 3 which partly due it’s budget constraints. It’s a pretty straightforward revenge film with Mad Max being a cop who sets out to avenge the murder of his partner, wife and his son. It’s beautifully photographed for such a low-budget film and even the 1st Australian film shot in anamorphic widescreen.

The Road Warrior came very fast after the astonishing success of the original. It made over $100,000,000 which for years was the highest budget to box-office record for many years. It’s the most critically acclaimed of the trilogy and considered one of the finest sequels in film history. It’s also the film that really broke Mel Gibson into a international star even more so than the first.

Max after the events of the 1st film roams the desert in his pimpmobile scavenging for good and petrol. His only pal is a dog, which brings the Boy & His Dog influence to the forefront. He eventually agrees to help small community rich in gasoline to defend against the punk rock bandits trying to steal their supply.

The Road Warrior is full of some of the greatest stunts ever committed to film especially since it was before the days of CGI everything. It’s editing is as tight as some of uniforms in the 1st film and it’s brilliantly paced at a brief 95 minutes. The film is also a strong candidate for the gayest film since Cruising because of the assless chap wearing punk bandits. All the bandits look like they stepped out of some gay S&M club.

The 3rd film in the series is the much higher budget Max Mad Beyond Thunderdome. It follows 3 years after the events of the 2nd film. Max enters into Bartertown and meets Aunty (Tina Turner) and strikes a deal to play Thunderdome which is match to the death. He wins but refuses to kill his opponent because of his learning disability. This outrages Aunty and has the opponent killed and Max is exiled to the desert. He is saved by a group of children. They believe he is a old Captain who is going to take them to Tomorrow-morrow Land. He tells them to stay but some leave anyway but he goes after them cause he knows Bartertown is the only civilization near by.

Thunderdome is the worse in the series but it has much to admire from the cinematography, action set pieces. Tina Turner can get a little annoying after the while but hey it was the 80s. It’s also the most kid friendly of the films due to the money coming from America and not homebred.

The films are probably the most influential films to come out of Australia ever. The influence can be seen from Kevin Costner films, The Simpsons, Music by PiL, Gary Numan and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Warcraft and dozens of other video games and it’s even sadly responsible for the idea of the Saw franchise. They still pack a punch 30+ years later and it’s cult doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon especially with the long awaiting 4th instalment on the way. The release however is sadly lacking in bonus features even though the 2nd film The Road Warrior does feature some such as a intro by that horrible man Leonard Maltin and a commentary by the director George Miller. George Miller after Mad Max later made the Babe and Happy Feet films; maybe too much blood and car-crashes got to him but he is directing the 4th film.


Ian Schultz

Rating: 18
BD Release Date (UK): 12th August 2013
Cast:  ,  
Buy:Mad Max – Limited Edition Trilogy with Petrol Can Packaging [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [Region Free]

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