Sunday, June 7, 2015

MAD MAX (Scream Factory Blu-ray) – Mad Mel Gets Revenge

Mad Max… Not Fury Road. THE Mad Max. The original. The one where Mel Gibson looks like a big goofy caricature of himself or at the very least a castaway from Judas Priest. The one with the great big super charger under or rather through the hood of the Ford Falcon. This is the Mad Max that helped to spark the interest in the movies of Australia that brought forth a great wave of Ozploitation classics from down under. This is Max Max that takes all the proper notes from the exploitation films of the 1970’s, especially revenge films, and delivers them with a bunch of gorgeously shot car chases. Scream Factory has given us a Collector’s Edition complete with new artwork, slip sleeve and all the octane you can fit in a Blu-ray case.

I have never had a close connection with the Mad Max movies. When I was younger I can remember watching them all and not thinking much of them. At the time I was a monster kid. Car chases wouldn’t interest me until I started to drive and found myself behind the wheel of a gray Ford Taurus covered in bat stickers. Even then I didn’t really dive into this series. The Road Warrior was a filled with memories of TV commercials from when WPIX would screen it. My recollections of Thunderdome come from hearing the “hit” Tina Turner song on MTV. These are hardly way to become a fan of a franchise. Upon hearing that Fury Road would receive a theatrical release and Scream Factory had the rights to release the Blu-ray, the HorrorSexy crew decided to put together a podcast detailing our opinions on all the movies. This gave me precedent to rewatch them all and even get out to the theater to see the new one.

Mad Max is my favorite of the original three movies. It’s heartbreaking with the proper revenge tale that is surrounding with big engines and bad bad guys. While it may be a slower film than its sequels, Mad Max takes the time to develop a conflicted Max Rockatansky. He’s a man who wants to fight the evil of the world but not at the cost of his family. He loves his job, but he’s afraid he is becoming the evil he seeks to extinguish. From dead friends to dead family, Max is pushed to the brink… to the point of madness. He becomes the devil; he becomes the righteous hand of revenge’s sick and gorgeous justice visited upon a lawless world. Revenge flicks often suffer from failing to inspire proper sympathy in the audience. The slow rate of play in Mad Max allows us to get to know Max and family. By the time he wants revenge, you’re already searching out Toecutter in your Honda station wagon.

From the classic Brian May (not from Queen) score to the camera angles that frame cars like willing sex machines, Mad Max is a movie that ejaculates adrenaline and creates a vicious, vengeful demon of all of us.

The Scream Factory release includes new and traditional artwork which is always appreciated. While you won’t see anything from George Miller, there are new interviews with Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel and the DOP David Eggby. The featurette on Mad Max as a phenomenon and the rising stardom of Mel Gibson are a nice companion piece to the movie, though I’m not sure if they veteran fan will take much more away from these extras. It’s i’portant to note that both the dubbed US English language version and Australian Audio are both included. I’ve always found the differences laughable, and while these will help preserve the way you initial saw it, I watch it with the Australian audio. The picture looks damn good; no complaints from me though admittedly I have not watched this movie in some time. I could not compare it directly with a previous iteration or DVD release. It holds up well visually for a movie from 1979 shot in Australia. The filth and the grime stay on the screen, not in the transfer.

Extras include:

Contains Both the Original Australian English Audio and the US English Dubbed Audio

NEW Interviews With Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel And Director Of Photography David Eggby

Audio Commentary By Art Director Jon Dowding, Director Of Photography David Eggby, Special Effects Artist Chris Murray And Tim Ridge

Mel Gibson: The Birth Of A Superstar

Mad Max: The Film Phenomenon

Theatrical Trailers

TV Spots

Photo Galleries

From Scream Factory:

In the ravaged near-future, a savage motorcycle gang rules the road. Terrorizing innocent civilians while tearing up the streets, the ruthless gang laughs in the face of a police force hell-bent on stopping them. But they underestimate one officer: Max (Gibson). And when the bikers brutalize Max’s best friend and family, they send him into a mad frenzy that leaves him with only one thing left in the world to live for – revenge!

You can order a copy of Mad Max now.

This is perfect for fans who have just seen Fury Road and need to remember where the whole thing started.

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