You ever get excited to head out to a destination you’ve been meaning to revisit for some time and never quite make it, then get there and realize what a sty it is?
No, I’m not talking about Bridgeview, Il – I’m talking about 1979. Oh, not the entire year. What I am actually, specifically referring to is one simple little Australian movie called Mad Max.
What a piece.
So I would have to say that – like most – no matter how awesome I thought I remembered mad max being, over the last decade or so I’ve developed a grudge against it simply for kicking off Captain Asshat’s career – yes, I’m referring to ol’ Sugar Tits himself, mel gibson. If it wasn’t for mad max we may have never had to endure this guy’s bullshit*. But I’m here today to tell you no matter what you may think of The Beav, or Lethal Weapon, or Edge of Darkness** if you go back and watch mad max you will find yourself regretting it.
Well, except for one scene. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
Let’s start with the title. mad max? Mad as in angry or mad as in crazy, ‘cuz from what I saw ol’ mel didn’t get even the slightest bit out of shape and never what I’d call crazy, or at least not if – in the context of the film – we are to use the Knight Rider’s performance during the opening sequence as a judge of what crazy is in the world of the not so distant future. And wait, while we’re here let’s talk about that opening sequence. Wow, and I thought the opening sequence of superbad was drawn out and poorly edited! Good lord, superbad‘s opener looks like a hyper-edited music video from Autechre compared to the ridiculous Knight Rider sequence in mad max, where cops chase and chase and chase this carrrr-aaaaa-zeeee bad boy and his admittedly kind-of-hot-in-an-‘it-was-futuristic-in-1979-to-have-pink-hair girlfriend as they… ah, drive fast and declare their craziness over the CB. And of course what helps really make this scene suck, more so, are the completely ridiculous scenes of mel biding his time. The shots never reveal his face, always showing us via the back of his head or the reflections in his aviators how he is indeed watching what’s going on – watching and apparently waiting for all of his law enforcement buddies to blow up or crash before he finally feels the need to jump in and pretty much finish the reckless, high speed chase in a matter of seconds.
Good show douche bag.
I know this film is supposed to be post apocalyptic, but really, I guess I only know that because of the subsequent sequels, which now a few people have told me are actually waaaaay better than this sad little movie. Based on this I’m not sure if I even want to try to believe them and watch one of them, but one thing is for sure – watching this first one in the series again and having enough distance between myself and the franchise (like probably twenty-four years or so distance) I find it impossible to see how, exactly, mad max sets up the post apocalyptic angle. I mean, its setting isn’t really PA because, well, it’s Australia, so it looks like Australia looks. And the subsequent “no gasoline” thing that Wikipedia reminds me the later movies in the series play with is definitely not even mentioned here – unless we are to take the fact that the bad guy BMX punkers try to rob a gas tanker as a sign of scarcity, despite the fact that all anyone does throughout the ENTIRE MOVIE IS DRIVE. I mean, if these folks are hard up for gas why is everyone driving all the time?
Next I’d like to examine the ‘Only when needed for dramatic effect’ Baby that apparently flits in and out of mel and his woman’s life throughout the picture. near the beginning they have breakfast and little mel is there in the background, playing with daddy’s Smith & Wesson. Then mel retires and the loving couple head out to, once again, DRIVE ALL OVER THE PLACE but there’s no sign of babs. They even stop and commune with nature and apparently either leave the kid in the car or displace him for safe keeping into the negative zone cuz he’s nowhere to be found. Then when sugar tits finds herself alone and in danger, well there’s the kid again. It’s almost as if the filmmakers shot the movie without the kid, felt as though it would have more impact with the kid, then went back and reconfigured shit so there was a baby added in.
The one scene I did absolutely love – and really it’s not an entire scene per se, merely a moment within yet another stupid scene inside a series of many more stupid scenes strung together to make corky’s version of a PA action flick – is the scene with the gas tanker because one of the bad guys (why do I keep wanting to call them the dreadnoks retarded cousins?) actually POLE VAULTS off a small cliff onto the tanker. This is so from out of nowhere that I had to rewind it (as opposed to a lot of the fast-forwarding I found myself doing to speed up the process) and watch it again, my wife not having noticed it and, of course, not believing that something so bizarre could have taken place. And when I saw it again and proved it to her I found myself wondering if the three acrobatic dreadnok-style douche bags in Punisher: Warzone*** were perhaps openly based on and mocking this film.
I’d like to think so.
I guess there truly is nowhere to go but up with the remake.
* Although come to think of it I’m not really sure how a movie this bad could have launched anybody’s career – and yet it did and we do, so…
** Haha, that was my little joke. NO ONE liked that one. And despite the common sense sentiment that it is not possible to judge a film without seeing it, we all have and we are all right, at least in regards to this one.
*** And this is not a jab – I LOVED WarZone. How it took three freakin’ tries to get the simplest marvel character right on film I do not know, but Warzone finally did!!!