Mad Max

  • Directors: George Miller
  • Producers: Byron Kennedy, Bill Miller
  • Writers: George Miller, Byron Kennedy, James McCausland
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Steve Bisley, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays Byrne, Tim Burns, Geoff Parry

The film opens “a few years from now” in Australia, in a dystopian future where fuel is scarce and law and order has begun to break down. Berserk motorcycle gang member Crawford “Nightrider” Montizano has broken police custody and – with a punk woman by his side – is attempting to flee from the Main Force Patrol (MFP), the Federal highway police unit, in a stolen MFP Pursuit Special. Though he manages to elude his initial pursuers, the Nightrider then encounters the MFP’s “top pursuit man,” leather-clad Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson). Max, the more skilled driver, pursues the Nightrider in a high-speed nerve-wracking chase which results in the death of the Nightrider and the woman in a fiery car crash.

Nightrider’s Armalite motorcycle gang – led by the barbaric “Toecutter” (portrayed by Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his lieutenant Bubba Zanetti (Geoff Parry) – is running roughshod over a country town, vandalizing property, stealing fuel and terrorising the local population. Max and his fellow officer Jim ‘The’ Goose (Steve Bisley) are able to arrest the Toecutter’s young protege, Johnny the Boy (Tim Burns), when Johnny lingers at the scene of one of the gang’s crimes. However, when no witnesses show for his trial, the courts declare the case “no contest” and Johnny is released. A shocked Goose attacks Johnny and must be physically restrained; both Goose and Johnny shout threats of revenge at each other. After Bubba drags Johnny away, MFP Captain Fifi Macaffee (Roger Ward) frees his officers to pursue the gangs as they want, “so long as the paperwork’s clean.”

Filled with obsessive rage, Max dons his police leathers and takes a supercharged black Pursuit Special to pursue the gang. After torturing a mechanic for information on the gang, Max methodically hunts down and kills the gang members: several gang members are forced off a bridge at high speed; Max shoots and kills Bubba at point blank range with his shotgun; the Toecutter is forced into the path of a speeding semi-trailer truck and crushed. In the road battles, Max has his arm crushed when it is run over by Bubba Zanetti’s motorbike, and receives a gunshot wound to his knee, which he braces with a makeshift splint. Becoming even more relentless and ruthless, he searches for the final members of the gang. When Max finds Johnny the Boy taking the boots off a dead driver at the scene of a crash, he handcuffs Johnny’s ankle to the wrecked vehicle and sets a crude time-delay fuse. Throwing Johnny a hacksaw, Max leaves him the choice of sawing through either the handcuffs (which will take 10 minutes) or his ankle (which will take 5 minutes). As Max drives away, the vehicle explodes; an emotionless Max drives on further into the Outback without turning back.

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