Genre: Action | Adventure | Thriller
Directors: George Miller (for Mad Max, The Road Warrior); George Miller and George Oglivie (Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome)
Writers: James McClausland (Mad Max); Terry Hayes, George Miller and Brian Hannant (The Road Warrior); Terry Hayes and George Miller (Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome)
MPAA Rating: R (Mad Max, The Road Warrior) PG-13 (Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome)
Run Time: 93 minutes (Mad Max), 95 minutes (The Road Warrior), 107 minutes (Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome)
Mad Max: A vision of an apocalyptic future set in the wastelands of Australia. Total social decay is just around the corner in this spectacular cheap budget gang orientated road movie, where the cops do their best to lay down the law and the outlaw gangs try their hardest to defy the system. Leather clad Max Rockatansky husband, father and cop turns judge, juror and executioner after his best friend, wife and baby are killed. Here we see the final days of normality of a man who had everything to live for, and his slip into the abyss of madness. Mad Max is the antihero on the road to vengeance and oblivion.
The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2): A former police officer is now a lone wanderer, traveling through a devastated Australia after a nuclear war looking for now-priceless petrol. He lives to survive and is none too pleased when he finds himself the only hope of a small group of honest people running a remote oil refinery. He must protect them from the bike gang that is terrorizing them whilst transporting their entire fuel supply to safety.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: Bartertown is a city on the edge of a desert that has managed to retain some technology if no civilization. Max has his supplies stolen and must seek shelter there in a post apocalyptic world where all machines have begun to break down and barbarians hold what is left. He becomes involved in a power struggle in this third Mad Max film where he must first survive the town, survive the desert and then rescue the innocent children he has discovered.
You have most likely encountered one of the Mad Max movies at some point in your television viewing. Statistically it was probably The Road Warrior (a.k.a. Mad Max 2) or Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome which are on television a lot. I’m certain this is how I viewed them the first time, probably in snippets until I sat myself down and watch the whole thing in one sitting finally. Both are excellent post-apocalyptic struggles that take place in Australia in the not too distant future.
I was a casual viewer and watched it when it was on television and marveled at the youthful Mel Gibson (Max) in his blossoming acting career and the addition of the amazing and beautiful Tina Turner in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. It wasn’t until the last few years that I even discovered the first movie of the series and after finally viewing it I can kind of see why it doesn’t make as many frequent appearances on television.
In case you aren’t aware, I won’t spoil it for you, but the second and third movies work actively in the post-apocalyptic period and stand alone just fine together, while the first movie acts as a prequel and works through the events that lead up to how Max gets to where he is. That path isn’t pretty and while I made it though the first movie once, it was really difficult, and my husband and I could not make it through a second viewing when we got our Blu-Ray.
The first movie, Mad Max and The Road Warrior have already been released on Blu-Ray, so this is the first time that Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome has been released on Blu-ray but it’s the one disc with zero special features (not even commentary) which is kind of a bummer. The packaging is so-so with the three discs in the typical blue Blu-ray box nestled in a tin. I suppose with it being the whole trilogy, I expected a bit more. Here are the specs on the Blu-ray discs.
Format: Blu-ray, Limited Edition, NTSC, Widescreen
Language: English, Spanish, French
Region: Region A/1
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Mad Max Special Features
Commentary by Jon Dowding, David Eggby Chris Murray and Tim Ridge
Mad Max: The Film Phenomenon
Theatrical Trailer #1
Theatrical Trailer #2
The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2) Special Features
Introduction by Leonard Maltin
Commentary by George Miller and Dean Semier
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Special Features
Regardless, the commentary that’s available for Mad Max and The Road Warrior is what makes it for me. I forget in the age of the green screen that back in 1979 when they made Mad Max with all those excellent car chases and stunts that those had to be performed by really brave (*cough*stupid*cough*) and talented people. Sometimes the only way to get some of those crazy angles that look like the point of view from the hood of the car is to strap the (*cough*stupid*cough*) cinematographer to the hood of the car, who was lucky to walk away with all his fingers and toes.
The special effects (or rather stunts) and the story of how that dog narrowly escaped doggie death row to realize his potential as an acting canine are my favorite parts of the commentaries.
These movies are awesome to watch for the great acting by the cast and completely crazy car chases. The films look great in Blu-ray and are a must own for your library if you don’t already have them in your collection, and even though I’m not able to sit through the first movie in its entirety, I’m glad to have it in the collection. This would have been a 5 star rating if it wasn’t for the complete lack of special features for the third movie, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.