I’m a Fuel-Injected Suicide Machine
I cannot justify my reasons for deciding to watch today’s movie. I doubt there was even a reason, now that I think about it. However it happened, I got it into my mind that I absolutely needed to watch a movie that I can only assume that I’ve seen before because I own the DVD’s. And, because of my OCD, watching this movie also meant that I’d need to watch the other two movies in the trilogy. But we’ll get to those later. Today, we’re going to talk about Mad Max, written by James McCausland, revised by Byron Kennedy, directed and co-written by George Miller, and starring Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Roger Ward, Joanne Samuel, Steve Bisley, Geoff Parry, Tim Burns, and Brendan Heath.
A crazed gang member is killed while trying to escape the custody of the MFP (Main Force Patrol), run down by the MFP (the Mother Fuckin’ Police)’s top pursuit man, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson). Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and Bubba Zanetti (Geoff Parry), the leaders of the dead gang member, do not take too kindly to one of their ilk being so much less alive, so they take to running wild over a town, killing, raping, and destroying. The MFP (More Food Please) comes across the scene later, finding Toecutter’s young ward, Johnny “the Boy” Boyle (Tim Burns), who was too high to leave the scene, and MFP (Miscellaneous Foot Powder) officer Goose (Steve Bisley) arrests him. Toecutter steps his revenge game up, going after Max’s friend Goose, Max’s wife Jessie (Joanne Samuel), and Max’s son Sprog (Brendan Heath). One could safely make the assumption that this will make Max a little upset.
This movie perplexes me. Not only have I only ever heard about it in hushed, reverent tones, but it has a freakin’ 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. I just don’t get it. I don’t suppose I’d call the movie “bad,” but I certainly wouldn’t say I liked it. The only thing it really has going for it is some cool car stunts. I don’t even know if I could talk about the story because I’d be hesitant to say that it really has much of a story. He’s a cop, Goose gets burned alive, other stuff happens, he gets revenge. And they didn’t even go for the “your Goose is cooked” joke that I so hoped for! I know this is a reference that few will get, but it really reminded me of the movie Sidehackers, just set in “dystopian” Australia. Hell, Max doesn’t even really get “Mad” until the last 20 minutes of the movie! It spends so much time building up to something and then remembers that it has to wrap the movie up, so it uses the last 10 minutes to KINDA end it. But it felt rushed and unsatisfying. I guess that’s why they made two sequels.
I guess what a lot of people have to be so on about in this movie is the action, but I didn’t even find myself entirely interested in that. I may have found the movie more enjoyable if I ever cared about things involving cars and motorcycles, but I don’t. My idea of action is more shooting guns and punching faces than making one car kiss the bumper of another car until the first car inexplicably loses control and hits something, exploding in a fiery wreck. They did have a couple of good stunts that I was impressed by, without actually liking that much. I realize this movie had a fairly low budget, so when people fly off of vehicles and hit the ground, some stunt people probably really risked their health doing that stuff. Heck, there was one part at the end of the movie where two guys fall off motorcycles in tandem and one motorcycle hits the other dude in the head. Good work stuntmen, but I’m still not into it. Also, I thought this movie was all about a dystopian future. It didn’t even look that dystopian! It looked like roughly what I thought Australia looked like anyway. At least the more outskirts areas of Australia.
Guess what else didn’t really do it for me? The performances. There were about two people in this movie that didn’t just go crazy over the top with their performances. Mel Gibson and Joanne Samuel didn’t really chew the scenery, but Hugh Keays-Byrne, Tim Burns, Roger Ward, and even Steve Bisley were just crazy strange characterizations that I did not enjoy watching. I also kind of expected Mel to come off as a total badass in this movie, especially when he starts on his revenge at the end. The movie even sets Mel up like he’s an epic badass, giving him 12 minutes of setup before his big reveal. But even towards the end, he never really reached badass status with me. Maybe in the very last scene he was a little badass, but I wanted so much more.
Expectations may have hurt this movie more than anything else for me, but I was very disappointed in Mad Max. It’s so critically acclaimed and has achieved such cult status, but all of that is lost on me. It’s a confusing and disjointed story with characters so over the top that they can’t even see the top anymore. In my opinion, it’s saved only by some impressive stunts. But that does not make enough of a movie for me. Sure, this movie gave the world Mel Gibson, but that’s only worked out about half the time anyway, hasn’t it? I don’t recommend this movie, but everyone else seems to. Mad Max gets “I just can’t get it clear in my head” out of “You gotta admit, I sounded good there for a minute, huh?”
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