Mad Max - Classic Film Pick
The greatest example of Ozploitation movies, George Miller's 1979 "Mad Max" is a pure cinematic anomaly. With a delayed inciting incident that comes more than half way through the film, the dystopian story is set in a post-apocalyptic Australia where a vicious motorcycle gang terrorize everyone they encounter on and off the road. The death of the gang's leader "Nightrider" (Vince Gil) at the hands of the leather-clad Main Force Patrol cop Max (Mel Gibson) puts the bloodthirsty "Toecutter" (Hugh Keays-Byrne) in charge of the gang. It isn't until Max's wife Jessie (Joanne Samuel) and baby son become a target for the gang that the recently retired Max turns into the madman of the film's title. Max takes on a vendetta to personally kill off the gang.
The main conceit of the film are its unbelievably dangerous motorcycle and car crashes that remain shocking, even by 21st century standards. George Miller had previously worked as an emergency room doctor and brought his familiarity with crash victims to bear on the grisly events that occur constantly throughout the movie. "Mad Max" was the first Australian film to be shot in anamorphic widescreen, and served as a launching pad for Mel Gibson's acting career. For a movie with such a rambling storyline, "Mad Max" works for its cynical embrace of an anarchistic society where insanity is endemic. Cartoonish characters and fast action chases scenes never looked so iconic. Here is a movie where the stunt drivers and stunt men go full-out every time.