Movie Review: Mad Max (1979)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the action movie starring Mel Gibson and Joanne Samuel.

Synopsis: An Australian police officer patrolling the highway in a dystopian future decides to quit after his partner is attacked by and severely burned by a gang of violent bikers. However, when the bikers attack his wife and son, leaving him dead and her dying in a hospital, he decides he has had enough and goes after the criminals looking to get his revenge.

Who's in it?


My wife and I ended up watching this movie over the course of three evenings, mostly because we ended up starting it later than we wanted to and just had a hard time staying awake long enough to finish it in one sitting.

When we started watching it, I could remember seeing parts of the film when I was younger and enjoying it. However, as it turns out, when I watched this movie in its entirety for the first time in a long time, I realized it wasn’t as good as I remembered.

Gibson, I thought, did a decent job as the cop-turned-vigilante Max. I’ve seen a lot of movies like this and, most of the time, the lead actors pretty much just phone their performance in. But, he did take his role seriously and, because of that, was very believable.

And, to be fair, the movie wasn’t as predictable as I thought it would be, especially after Max puts on his uniform again and goes after the criminals. For a while, I did find myself wondering whether or not he actually wins in the end, especially when the motorcycle gang wounds him a few minutes into his chase.

My biggest complaint about this film is it is actually kind of dull for an action flick. The opening scenes are exciting, as is his final battle with the gang. However, the rest of the movie is very slow and just seems to drag on. In fact, I’m pretty sure my wife, who had never seen this movie before, was beginning to wonder why I wanted to watch this in the first place. And, to be honest, I was starting to wonder the same thing.

Final Opinion

The movie does, admittedly, have its moments and, as I said before, Gibson does a decent job. However, the majority of this movie is actually much duller than I expected it to be and, because of that, wasn’t as enjoyable as I had hoped.

My Grade: C

Updated: 05/16/2019, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 03/04/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
The library system here has the three films with Mel Gibson as Mad Max and the one with Tom Hardy. I've seen them within the last five years on DVD. It'll be interesting to re-see them, since for some reason I think of them as black-and-white films.

How would you rate the Mel Gibson films in comparison to the Tom Hardy?

StevenHelmer on 07/02/2015

I was telling my wife that most of the scenes I actually remembered seeing were likely from the sequels.

CountrySunshine on 07/02/2015

I was a big fan of Mad Max when the first one came out. However, I prefer "Beyond Thunderdome" much more than the original. Perhaps it isn't as well rated now, as society has progressed so much since 1979?

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