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Mad Max Your May 2006 Random Movie Club Results Are In!!!

Tagline: The Maximum Force of the Future.


ALIENS FROM THE DEEP was the Preshow Entertainment. It's a James Cameron documentary originally made in 3D for IMAX. A crew of marine biologists (and others) use submersibles to go where no man has gone before- so deep in the ocean, no sunlight has ever shone there. And it is here we witnessed things we never knew existed; fish with lots of teeth and fin-feet, volcano chimneys with sea life clinging to them, and plant life that I can't even describe. Wow. It almost looked fake. No, it did look fake. But it was real. Or did they pull a Capricorn Two? This sure messes with my solipsistic views.

We watched about 25 minutes of the theatrical version (which is 47 minutes...there's also an extended version that's maybe an hour forty on the disk). It's truly incredible footage. Jaw dropping.


In 1975 Sony sold its first Max and it was Beta. In 1980, HBO launched its Max which they called Cine. And in between, in 1979, Mel Gibson's Max was really angry. Or crazy. Depending on your usage of the word "mad."

MAD MAX. It's a story told a million times. A man whose wife and kid are murdered goes after the gang responsible. It's DEATHWISH Down Under with a 22 year old Mel Gibson. But here's the funny thing- a lot of people don't even remember the plot. Because it didn't matter much. What was memorable was the beginning of the post-apocalyptic genre. Though clearly MAX isn't the first, it was certainly a launchpad to what was to come, including its two (ROAD WARRIOR AND BEYOND THUNDERDOME) spawn(and FYI, MAD MAX 4 in pre-production).

In the future ("a few years from now"), apparently, no one lives in town besides cops, bad guys, a few citizens for the bad guys to abuse, a spare tire store, and an ice cream shop. The highways are populated with evil droog-like, sometimes effeminate bikers who attack and often kill random people. Then they mess with the wrong cop. But again, it's not the plot that matters, but what film-talk calls Image Structure. It's the look, the feel, the smell. It's grit set against the fantastic cyclorama of the Australian sky. It's the clothes. It's the dirt in the teeth. And it's the attitude.

With car crashes without the use of effects (budgetary constraints), the movie is an orgy of metal against metal resulting in something as real as if you were witnessing it on security cameras. Michael Bay should see this movie before he dies, and he should see it soon.

MM's Aussie accents were so thick they had to dub the entire film for its USA release. Fine. But did they have to do it so badly? Must it sound like a cross between FISTS OF FURY and ASTRO BOY?

By making a movie like this, what writer/director George Miller has done is make any glaring mistakes somewhat excusable. Except stuff like why Max and his wife let their infant play with a gun, or leave him home alone. And even the unsatisfying and open-ended finale is forgivable, if not cool.

To give you an idea of the strength of these films, for THUNDERDOME (the SUPERMAN III of the franchise), Mel's salary was not doubled or tripled, but raised 100 times of what he made for MAX. I'm sure that would make any Nazi father proud. And after THE ROAD WARRIOR (called MAD MAX 2 in Australia) hit big here, they re-released MAD MAX in theaters. (NOTE: RW is by far the best movie of the lot)

MAD MAX was a huge success in Australia, outgrossing STAR WARS in its initial release. And it proves that when done correctly, it's okay for a film to have style over substance. And it's okay to have a budget under $100 million. And it's okay to not have A-list talent. And as it turned out, we did indeed need another hero.

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