What makes Max so mad?
After Max Rockatansky, a MFP (Main Force Patrol) officer with some years under his belt witnesses his buddy, The Goose, get burned to a crisp by some friends of the “skag”, Night Rider and his floosy, he decides to quit. He’s seen enough gore and fears he’s becoming immune to the trash that’s “out there” on the road. His plant-tending boss, Fifi, a cross between the Red Barron and Mr. Clean won’t let him quit and instead gives him an open ended vacation. Fifi doesn’t want to lose Max because he’s a good cop who still has a heart, even if he does lack acting ability and dialog.
Anyhoo, the next 45 minutes of the film shows Max and his wife, Jessie and their little boy, known only as Sprog having a wonderful time at Max’s aunts house by the beach in the Outback. You can fast forward this part, but when you see the family pet hanging from the tree, it’s time to watch again.
Lo and behold, the same biker scum that cooked ol’ Goose have coincidentally shown up to crash the wholesome Rockatansky family vacation. After a pretty frightening scene involving Jessie, Sprog, the Toe-Cutter and an icecream cone, the shit really hits the fan. Poor Max can only watch helplessly while Jessie and Sprog are smeared down the highway by Toe Cutter and his merry band of psycho-bikers.
Max, who has now lost everything that matters, goes off the rails in a big way. He decides vengeance is the best course so he returns to the MFP “Halls of Justice” and steals the greatest car in movie history, the Pursuit Special. Pound for pound, this car embodies the most badassery of any movie car ever. Better than any Batmobile, better than that wheelie car in the first Fast and the Furious movie, what was that car? A ‘Cuda? I digress…
Enter the Pursuit Special
“It’s the last of the V8’s!”
“Shut the gate on this one Maxy, she’s the ducks guts!”
“She’s the last of the V8’s, she sucks nitro. Phase 4 heads, twin overhead cams, 600 horse power through the wheels, but the music is in the blower…”
I know cars, granted, not Australian cars, and I don’t know what a phase 4 head is, but I know that this car doesn’t have twin overhead cams, hell, I read once that the blower wasn’t even hooked to the crank, instead, it was on an electric motor so it could be switched off. No matter, I nominate this car, a lowly 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT, for BEST ACTOR in a distopic film. The Pursuit Special is the car you need when you are serving up some hot revenge on biker scum.
When it comes to human actors, Hugh Keays-Byrne who plays Toecutter, leader of the biker gang, stands out. He plays a perfect wack-job and so does Johnny the Boy (Tim Burns) and Bubba (Geoff Parry). As it turns out, none of these guys won an Oscar for this or any other movie.
What made Mad Max so good?
Well, for us guys, its the allure of the road, the cars, the bikes, the creepy bad guys, the speed – which was often real and pretty damn dangerous that made Mad Max so awesome. I mean how nuts do you have to be to give a guy the choice, cut through the handcuff chain or your ankle? Oh, by the way, you have 5 minutes; go!
The Night Rider chase and crash scene was jaw-dropping and we thought Max was pretty cool too. It was a super low budget film. The bikes were donated Kawasakis, the cars were clapped out trash but the effect of the movie was to envision the post-apocalyptic auto culture that The Road Warrior (1985), would turn into pure road porn a few years later.
I’m worried about this new movie. The fireballs, the CG, it’s too big. To me, a high speed roll-over with parts and people shooting 40 feet in the air is believable, it’s scary and you can relate to it. 200 foot tall fireballs and pink people mist is stretching it. Oh, I’ll watch it alright, but in the end, I don’t think you can do better than the Road Warrior, though I’m glad that George Miller is back and Mel Gibson isn’t.