The Mad Max Anthology 4k review by Bobby Blakey
Before the world knew Mel Gibson as Riggs from Lethal Weapon or the director of hits like Braveheart, Heartbreak Ridge and Passion of the Christ he was Max Rockatansky in the 1979 flick Mad Max from director George Miller. The film spawned three sequels with The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and Mad Max Fury Road, where Tom Hardy took over the role.
Mad Max follows a highway patrolman cruising the squalid back roads that have become the breeding ground of criminals foraging for gasoline and scraps of a dystopian Australia in the near future. After some grisly events at the hands of a motorcycle gang, Max sets out across the barren wastelands in search of revenge. The film co-starred Joanne Samuel as Jesse Rockatansky, and Hugh Leays-Byrne as the Toecutter.
The original film is a slow burn action flick that I have always dug, but could never fully get into it. Part of it is the pacing and slow burn of it all to get to the good stuff, but over the years I developed a love for it. It’s simplicity is elevated by the futuristic tone of sorts making it feel like something fresh at its time. It is the only film in the series that feels like it takes place in a different world, but that is kind of what makes it brilliant as it leads into the post-apocalyptic world we all know and love.
In the 1981 sequel, The Road Warrior, Max Rockatansky finds himself roaming the endless wasteland scavenging for food and precious petrol. Suddenly, in the scorched wilderness, the hungry for fuel Max chances upon a small oil refinery; however, the place is under siege by Lord Humungus' barbarian horde of biker warlords, hell-bent on destruction and mayhem. Now, to get his hands on as much gas as he can carry, "Mad" Max will have to provide the defenceless community with a powerful truck to transport the gasoline to safety; nevertheless, this is easier said than done. Is Max, the battle-scarred Road Warrior, up to the task? The sequel co-stars Bruce Spence as the Gyro Captain, Mike Preston as Pappagallo, Max Phipps as Toadie, Vernon Wells as Wez, Emil Minty as the Feral Kid, and Kjell Nilsson as The Hummungus.
I love this film and is my favorite of the franchise. I remember seeing this movie in a double feature with Death Race 2000 at a drive-in as a kid and was blown away. The action, look and overall insanity of it all just delivers. Despite being a sequel it stands on its own to be the start of the films to come and yet still takes on the further journey of Max. To this day the villain Hummungus is still one of my favorites in look and over the top nature.
In 1985, director George Miller stepped up the game with Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome co-starring Tina Turner as Auntie Entity, Bruce Spence as Jedediah, and Angelo Rossitto as Master, left for dead in the unforgiving deserts of post-nuclear Australia, after defeating Lord Humungus' barbarian horde of bikers in Max Rockatansky, happens upon Bartertown: the remote market-town outpost in the middle of the dry Wasteland, and the realm of the autocratic Queen Aunty Entity. There, a lethal challenge awaits Max, who, in return for his freedom and provisions, must engage in a bloody match to the death with the grotesque symbiotic being, the Master/Blaster. However, an unforeseen complication after the brutal fight in the stronghold's combat arena, The Thunderdome, will banish, once more, Max into the vast wilderness, only to discover the peaceful haven of The Lost Tribe: a community of marooned children who survive on their own, waiting for the arrival of the legendary Captain Walker.
While it took me a bit to really get into the original film it still doesn’t sit as my least favorite of the franchise. I know Thunderdome has so many great moments and catchy lines, but for me this is the weakest entry. Make no mistake I still love all these films, but this one is just all over the place and lost me in the “lost boys” style second half. Its fine, but would have been so much better had we just spent the entire time in Bardertown and the action fighting with them. Thankfully the fun fight inside the Thunderdome itself and the over acting Tina Turner helps this one stand out as a fun entry.
After years of talk Miller returned to the world of Mad Max, but this time brought Tom Hardy into the mix to take on the role of Max with Mad Max: Fury Road in 2015 co-starring Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, Nicholas Hoult as Nux, Rose Huntington-Whitely as The Splendid Angharad, Riley Keough as Capable, Zoe Kravitz as Toast the Knowing, Abbey Lee as The Dag and Hugh Keays-Byrne returning to the franchise as the new character Immortan Joe.
The film follows an apocalyptic story set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and almost everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life. Within this world exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order. There's Max, a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And Furiosa, a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.
I was insanely excited to return to this world despite being really bummed it took so long and Hardy was replacing Gibson in the role of Max. To my surprise he was not only great in the role the film knocked it out of the park. It’s bigger, bolder and more insane than all the other entries and racked up awards to everyone’s surprise. The return of Byrne to the franchise was an awesome addition to the already great cast with Theron really leading the charge. I love this entry as well and it not only brought new life to the series, but established so many new options that fans like myself are praying come to fruition in next chapters.
These films are available now in stunning 4K for the first time in one collection together as well as Mad Mad: The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome hitting 4K individually to join the already released Mad Max and Fury Road. This release not only includes all the films but bonus content including commentary and making of featurette on The Road Warrior.
Join the apocalyptic world of Max and grab your copy of The Mad Max Anthology along with The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome available now on 4K from Warner Bros Home Entertainment.