Please Explain Mad Max to Me

Okay, I’ve seen Mad Max. I’ve seen Beyond Thunderdome. Haven’t seen the Road Warrior, but that’s because it wasn’t available for rental on DVD last time I thought about it. So can someone please explain to me what the heck is going on? Would it make more sense if I watched the Road Warrior or what? I mean, I get that he’s a hero in a post-nuclear wasteland but what the heck is actually going on? And how does he get from being a cop to fighting Tina Turner?

He’s a cop named Max in a post-apocolyptic world. The bad guys do terrible things to him and his family and he gets very, very mad. Bloodshed ensues.


They’re running out of gas, so to compensate they drive really fast. :cool:

Max was the Australian equivalent of a State Trooper, patrolling vast stretches of highway far from the nearest police station. In a way he’s like the US Marshals or Texas Rangers in an old western movie, only with a car instead of a horse. All three movies revolve around cars (vehicles in Aussie) and how they influence life in post-apocalyptic times. Briefly, mobility makes it possbile to live a nomadic plunderer/conquerer lifestyle.

The three movies cover three post-apocalyptic periods: in the first (Mad Max), civilization is dying. In the second (Road Warrior) life has reverted to total savagery, and the third (Thunder Dome), a barbaric civilization is being slowly rebuilt.

It’s been a while since I saw the flicks, but I got the feeling that the nuclear war happened after Mad Max, before Road Warrior. Civilization was already dying in Mad Max, though.

Mad Max is just a revenge movie. You hurt me and mine and I get you.

Road Warrior is the best of the three.

Yeah, but the hurt he puts on them makes it an art movie.

Road Warrior is just a standard action flick. Mad Max is a subtle and nuanced look at the psyche of a tortured cop. The accents rule, too.

No, we call them cars too. Vehicle is a broader term including pretty much anything on wheels.

Didn’t they originally dub the American release of Mad Max with an American accent? As I remember it, it was pretty atrocious.

Mad Max hardcore fans routinely debate if Thunderdome and Road Warrior are separate timelines.

Yes. That’s what is explained in the introduction to Road Warrior.

Mad Max is a Charles Bronson revenge flick. Max Rockatansky is a good cop, a young hotshot with nerves of steel. Outlaw Bikers murder Max’s partner, wife & sprog. He goes a little crazy, steals the police department’s fastest car, a souped up Ford Falcon XB with a giant blower sticking out of the hood and hunts the bikers down.

Of all 3 films, the one that stands best on its own is Road Warrior. It opens with a spoken introduction over stock war footage, oil wells pumping, the famous drive through the travel trailer from the first film and stock shots of nuclear explosions. Max is driving through the desert in the same car and the same leathers, all of which are aged and distressed to show he’s been living rough on the road for a long time. It’s basically Shane, with Max as the gunslinger with no name coming to the aid of a group of pioneers and defeating the Bad Guys (who make the outlaw bikers from the first film look like boy scouts) for his own reasons. Possibly the destruction of his sweet car and his Aussie Cattle Dog. There’s even a kid too.

Beyond Thunderdome was apparently written by a committee. it is much more of a hollywood film than the first 2 and suffers from it.

One of my early threads here.

Virginia Hey plays one of the pioneers. She’s the fox who played Miss Fitzhenry, the former high school teacher who gets hit on by one of her students (Bugsy Brown, who tries the “haven’t we met before” bit on her without realizing exactly why she seems so familiar) in an Aussie-imported Oil of Olay commercial.

Later on, she painted herself blue for a role on Farscape.


Maybe if he was from freakin’ New Freakin’ Jersey!

Part of it for me was it was Australian, and prior to that, I’d never seen anything Australian. If I had, it sucked. Pretty much the way almost everything from other countries sucked. The exception being say, Monty Python or Benny Hill. But pretty much everything else from overseas sucked. Hard.

Mad Max was pretty awesome, in those days. Ultraviolence. Pop culture was going through a punk-post-punk transition, and Mad Max/Road Warrior were right on queue.

And Mel Gibson was really, really hot.

Beyond the Thunderdome. Meh. That was all MTV music video Duran Duran commercialized bullshit. As far as I’m concerned, it never happened.

But that was his name.

Well, Thunderdome did give us ‘Two men enter. One man leave.’ so that’s worth something.

As for Road Warrior I don’t think you can summarize is without noting that it’s basic premise builds on the concept of the man for whom there is nothing finding that there is something for which to live. At the beginning Max is emotionally dead. He’s still in shock from the events of Mad Max (exacerbated by the offscreen war and collapse) and eventually finds that he can still find something worth contributing towards in the world. He has a place in the world and personal connections to make.

It’s a worthy tale.

^^^Max just barely barely learns this lesson in RW (he drives the truck for fairly selfish reasons, but along the way saves the Feral Kid, etc.). For all its faults, he really does get most of his humanity back in MMBT.

Which is why I think a 4th film would be pointless. Years ago, Gibson said he would do one, but he was of the opinion Max should die in it. I have no idea what the aborted “Fury Road” would have been about.

Sir Rhosis

It’s a metaphor. In The Road Warrior, Max, with his guns and gas guzzling car, is called apon to rescue a bunch of oil-rich conservatives who cling to the old world and are under seige by an army of homosexuals led by an intellectual.