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.

We Were Soldiers

  • Directors: Randall Wallace
  • Producers: Arne L Schmidt, Jim Lemley, Randall Wallace
  • Writers: Hal Moore, Joseph L Galloway, Randall Wallace
  • Genres: Action, History, War
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Sam Elliott, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Don Duong, Chris Klein, Jon Hamm, Keri Russell, Barry Pepper, Dylan Walsh

A French Army unit in Vietnam in July 1954 during the First Indochina War is ambushed by soldiers of the Viet Minh. The French fiercly resist and kill many Viet Minh, but most French soldiers are killed and the unit eventually overrun by the Viet Minh. The Viet Minh Senior Lieutenant Nguyễn Hữu An (Don Duong), believing that France will eventually stop sending troops if there are many casualties, orders the execution of all surviving French soldiers.

Eleven years later, Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore (Mel Gibson), a dedicated United States Army officer, is deeply committed to training his troops, who are preparing to be sent to Vietnam. The night before their departure, the unit’s officers hold a party to celebrate. Moore learns from a superior officer that his unit will be known as the 1st Battalion / 7th Cavalry regiment.

He is disquieted because the 7th Cavalry regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, who were slaughtered at the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn. Moore is also dismayed because President Lyndon B. Johnson has decreed that the war would be fought “on the cheap,” without declaring it a national emergency. As a result, Moore believes he will be deprived of his oldest, best-trained soldiers (a formal declaration of war would have meant mobilization and extension of the terms of enlistment for volunteer soldiers) – about 25% of his battalion – just prior to shipping out for Vietnam. Before leaving for Vietnam, Moore delivers a poignant speech to his unit:

At the end of the movie it is revealed that Moore (having been promoted to Colonel) returned home safely after 235 more days of fighting.

Maverick

  • Directors: Richard Donner
  • Producers: Bruce Davey, Richard Donner, Jim Van Wyck, Alexander B Collett
  • Writers: Roy Huggins, William Goldman
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Western
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner

The story, set in the American Old West, is a first-person account by a wisecracking gambler Bret Maverick (Mel Gibson), of his misadventures on the way to a major five-card draw poker tournament. Besides wanting to win the poker championship for the money, he also wants to prove, once and for all, that he is “the best”. However, complications keep getting in the way.

Maverick rides into the fictional town of Crystal River intending to collect money owed to him, as he is $3,000 short of the poker tournament entry fee of $25,000. His efforts to make up this $3,000 provide some plot motivation, as well as diversions caused by, and in the company of, three people he encounters at Crystal River: an antagonist named Angel (Alfred Molina), a young con-artist calling herself Mrs Annabelle Bransford (Jodie Foster), and legendary lawman Marshal Zane Cooper (James Garner, who played Bret Maverick in the original TV series). The first two are also rival poker players.

Maverick, Bransford and Cooper share a stagecoach (the driver of which dies at the reins at full gallop), agree to help a wagon train of migrant evangelist settlers who have been waylaid by ruffians (for a fee which Maverick in the end is too big-hearted to accept) and are headed-off by a troop of Indians led by Joseph (Graham Greene). Unknown to his companions, Joseph and Maverick are good friends, and Maverick allows himself to be “captured.” Joseph is another one of his unreliable debtors, and in and around his tribal grounds they collaborate on a scheme to swindle a Russian Grand Duke.

Later, Maverick is relaxing in a bath-house when Cooper finds him, and drops the facade to reveal (to the audience) that he is in fact Maverick’s father and that the real conspiracy was between the two of them. However, Bransford enters the bath-house and robs Cooper and Maverick (whose relationship she had surmised from their similar mannerisms). However, she only gets away with half of the money, as Maverick had hidden the rest in his boots. Maverick smiles and comments that it will be a lot of fun getting the rest of the money back from her.

Ransom

  • Directors: Ron Howard
  • Producers: Brian Grazer, Kip Hagopian, Scott Rudin
  • Writers: Story, Cyril Hume, Richard Maibaum, Screenplay, Richard Price, Alexander Ignon
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Rene Russo, Gary Sinise

While multimillionaire airline owner Tom Mullen (Mel Gibson) attends a science fair in Central Park that his wife Kate (Rene Russo) is judging, their son Sean (Brawley Nolte) is kidnapped. Sean is taken to an apartment by Maris Conner (Lili Taylor), who previously worked for Mullen as a caterer at a party, along with small-time criminal Cubby Barnes (Donnie Wahlberg), Cubby’s older brother Clark (Liev Schreiber) and high-tech criminal Miles Roberts (Evan Handler). Tom and Kate receive an untraceable email from the kidnappers, demanding $2 million as ransom. Tom calls the FBI, who set up a base of operations in his apartment.

Detective Jimmy Shaker (Gary Sinise) of the NYPD is arresting a perpetrator in a convenience store when Cubby comes in and nervously buys some FrankenBerry cereal. Shaker follows Cubby into the building where the kidnappers are residing; Shaker is the mastermind behind the kidnapping and is romantically involved with Maris. He chides Cubby for buying a box of kids’ cereal in front of cops during a kidnapping investigation. The group argues over the plan to kill Sean once the ransom has been delivered. Cubby tells Clark that he plans to release Sean despite the risk of identification.

Cops converge on Tom and Shaker outside the bank. Shaker panics and opens fire, killing several cops. Tom throws himself at Shaker and Shaker loses his gun to Tom. Tom throws Shaker through a store window and when they emerge they are surrounded by armed policemen. Shaker draws his back-up revolver from an ankle holster. Tom and Hawkins fire first, killing Shaker. The film closes as Hawkins stops the police from arresting Tom.

Edge of Darkness

  • Directors: Martin Campbell
  • Producers: Graham King, Tim Headington, Michael Wearing
  • Writers: Screenplay, William Monahan, Andrew Bovell, Television series, Troy Kennedy Martin
  • Genres: Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic

As homicide detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) investigates the death of his activist daughter (Bojana Novakovic), he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence…

Chicken Run

  • Directors: Peter Lord, Nick Park
  • Producers: Nick Park, Peter Lord, David Sproxton
  • Writers: Peter Lord, Nick Park, Karey Kirkpatrick
  • Genres: Animation, Family, Comedy
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Miranda Richardson, Benjamin Whitrow, Timothy Spall, Phil Daniels, Jane Horrocks, Tony Haygarth

The Tweedys run a failing chicken farm in Yorkshire, England, the chickens producing fewer eggs than previously, and Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) kills those chickens that fail to make their quota. Mrs. Tweedy decides to change the farm’s production, moving into the making of chicken pies instead of selling eggs. The chickens themselves live in a World War II POW-like fenced area, and one chicken, Ginger (Julia Sawalha), continues to try to escape the coop with the help of the other chickens and a pair of rats that help get them contraband for numerous plans, but always ends up getting caught and put into solitary confinement by Mr. Tweedy (Tony Haygarth) who locks her in the coal shed. Ginger realizes that the only way to escape for good is to fly over the fence, something that chickens cannot do.

One day, Ginger witnesses an American rooster named Rocky Rhodes (Mel Gibson) “fly” into the chicken coop. Though the other chickens fawn over him, Ginger is able to learn that he just escaped from a nearby circus. Ginger insists he teach the rest of them how to fly, despite his wing being injured when he landed. Rocky leads the chickens on several seemingly-futile exercises to help prepare them to fly. When the pie-making machine is delivered to the farm, Ginger realizes they must escape soon, and presses Rocky to speed things up. After Mr. Tweedy finished constructing the machine, they test it out by selecting Ginger as the first chicken to be used in the machine. Rocky manages to rescue her, disabling the machine in the process.

Sometime later, they have found a wide open pasture to live in and raise their chicks, with Ginger and Rocky becoming a couple. The camera pans out to show it was a bird sanctuary, but the sign has ‘BIRD’ crossed out and replaced with ‘chikin’. The rats unwittingly engage in a philosophical ‘What came first, the chicken or the egg’ debate as they wish to start a new farm to get eggs, e.g. ‘Yeah, but ya need a chicken, to get an egg.’ ‘Well, yeah, but you need an egg to get a chicken.’ ‘Yeah, well, you need an egg, to get a chicken, to get an egg.’ The credits then roll.

The Patriot

  • Directors: Roland Emmerich
  • Producers: Dean Devlin, Mark Gordon, Gary Levinsohn
  • Writers: Robert Rodat
  • Genres: Action, Drama, War
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs, Joely Richardson, Chris Cooper, Tom Wilkinson

At the beginning of the American Revolution, Benjamin Martin (Gibson) is a South Carolina veteran of the French and Indian War and a widower raising his seven children on his farm. Gabriel (Ledger), the eldest, is anxious to join the American forces fighting the British in the Revolutionary War. Knowing war from personal experience, Ben tries to discourage his son’s ambitions, but his son enlists anyway.

Gabriel returns home two years later, stumbling wounded into the family home and carrying military dispatches. The next day, a military skirmish have the Martins caring for the wounded from both sides. British soldiers – the ruthless Green Dragoons cavalry – arrive and kill the Colonial wounded, burn down the Martin house and arrest Gabriel as a spy, intending to hang him. Ben’s next eldest son Thomas (Smith) is shot and killed by the leader of the Green Dragoons, Colonel William Tavington (Isaacs).

Making use of his knowledge of fighting in the wilds, Ben and his two younger sons, Nathan (Morgan) and Samuel (Chafin) set forth to ambush the British column in the woods. They manage to kill most of the soldiers in an ambush and free Gabriel. The boys are horrified at their first glimpse of their father’s ferocity. Gabriel rejoins the cause against his father’s will again, stating it is his duty as a soldier. Ben decides to join as well, leaving the rest of the children in the care of their aunt Charlotte (Joely Richardson), Ben’s sister-in-law.

Martin and his family return to their home to find the militia helping to rebuild it. Occam (Jones) tells Ben, “Gabriel said that if we won the war, we could build a whole new world. Just figured we’d get started right here, with your home.” Benjamin smiles.

Pocahontas

  • Directors: Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg
  • Producers: James Pentecost
  • Writers: Carl Binder, Susannah Grant, Philip LaZebnik
  • Genres: Animation, Drama, Family, History, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Irene Bedard, Mel Gibson, David Ogden Stiers, John Kassir, Russell Means, Frank Welker, Christian Bale, Linda Hunt

In 1607, a ship carrying British settlers from the Virginia Company sails for North America in search of gold and other material riches. On board are Captain John Smith and Governor John Ratcliffe. A storm erupts, and Smith saves the life of a young settler named Thomas when he falls overboard, befriending him in the process.

In the “New World”, Pocahontas, Chief Powhatan’s daughter, learns that her father wants her to marry Kocoum, one of his finest warriors, but a bitter and serious man. Pocahontas does not want this marriage, and asks the advice from a talking tree spirit named Grandmother Willow. Grandmother Willow tells Pocahontas to listen to her heart.

The British settlers land in Virginia and dig for gold under Ratcliffe’s orders. John Smith explores the territory and encounters Pocahontas. The two spend time together, with Pocahontas teaching John to look at the world in a different way, and to not think of her people as “savages”. Back at the settlement, the Powhatan warriors and Englishmen have a skirmirsh, and one of the warriors is injured. The warriors retreat, and Powhatan declares that the white men are dangerous and that no one should go near them.

A few days later, John and Pocahontas meet again, during which John learns that there is no gold in the land. They agree to meet at Grandmother Willow’s glade again that night.

John is only wounded, but he must return to England for medical treatment if he is to survive. Pocahontas and her people arrive to see them off, and John and Pocahontas bid their goodbyes.

Lethal Weapon 3

  • Directors: Richard Donner
  • Producers: Richard Donner, Joel Silver
  • Writers: Screenplay, Jeffrey Boam, Robert Mark Kamen, Story, Jeffrey Boam
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, Stuart Wilson, Steve Kahan

L.A.P.D. Sergeants Riggs and Murtaugh respond to a bomb threat. Riggs convinces Murtaugh – who is working his last week before retirement – to enter the building before the bomb squad arrives, claiming that he can defuse the bomb himself, and that the bomb squad is always late. They have an argument about which wire to cut. He convinces Murtaugh that they should cut the blue wire using the toilet bomb incident that occurred three years ago as an example, but instead he cuts the red wire. When he cuts the red wire, however, the bomb’s timer accelerates, and the partners barely escape before the bomb detonates and destroys the building. To add insult to injury, the bomb squad arrives a few seconds later. Although they save a cat, the partners are demoted to patrol officers.

During their first patrol, Riggs and Murtaugh foil a routine armored car robbery; surprisingly, the robbers are found to have pistols loaded with armor-piercing bullets which Murtaugh refers to as “Cop Killers”. They order one of the robbers brought in for interrogation, but arrive to find someone has infiltrated the police station and killed him. A hidden camera shows the killer to be former LAPD Lieutenant Jack Edward Travis, legendary for both his brutality and his corruption. Riggs and Murtaugh are eager to investigate, but they are shunted to the side by Internal Affairs Sergeant Lorna Cole.

Riggs declares his love for Lorna after her near death experience as she waits to be transported to the hospital. Lorna is reluctant as she fears she will lose Riggs like all the others did. But Riggs claims that it is “not likely” to happen and the two kiss before Lorna is airlifted to hospital. On his retirement day, Murtaugh reconsiders and decides to enlist again, preserving the Riggs/Murtaugh partnership.

Lethal Weapon 2

  • Directors: Richard Donner
  • Producers: Richard Donner, Joel Silver
  • Writers: Screenplay, Jeffrey Boam, Story, Shane Black, Warren Murphy
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Joss Ackland, Derrick O Connor, Patsy Kensit, Steve Kahan

The story opens with LAPD Sergeants Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh engaged in a car chase with a red BMW. After it crashes, they move in to arrest the driver, but find he has escaped. Searching the car, they discover the trunk is full of South African Krugerrands (gold coins which were illegal in the U.S. due to sanctions against the South African apartheid regime). Later that night, Murtaugh is threatened at his home by thugs dressed in black hoods, warning him to cease the investigation around the Krugerrands.

In the wake of the attack on Murtaugh, he and Riggs are reassigned to a less dangerous task, protecting a Federal witness, Leo Getz (Joe Pesci). They subsequently discover Getz has been laundering funds for the same drug smugglers and he leads them to their base of operations, a house on stilts. Attempting to arrest the gang, Riggs and Murtaugh are confronted by Arjen Rudd (Joss Ackland), the minister of affairs for the South African Consulate. Rudd indignantly invokes diplomatic immunity on behalf of himself and his ‘staff’, and threatens to report Riggs and Murtaugh to the State Department for violating South African soil.

Although ordered by the Department to leave Rudd and his associates alone, Riggs and Murtaugh are certain that he is the drug trafficker they are looking for and commence a private war against them. While Leo and Murtaugh distract the guards at the consulate, Riggs infiltrates the building and catches the name “Alba Varden”, a name that appears familiar somehow to Murtaugh. At the same time, Riggs begins a romance with Rudd’s secretary, Rika van den Haas (Patsy Kensit), who strongly dislikes both her boss and her country’s policies. Riggs invites her to a dinner at his trailer, which ends in a torrid sexual encounter.

Running to his partner, Murtaugh finds that, although critically wounded, Riggs is still alive. The two buddies laugh and joke as the sirens come for them in the background.