Madness.

Here at Heroes Direct, we’re big fans of the latest Mad Max film, Fury Road. So it seemed only right that we take a look at George Miller’s original trilogy that helped define a genre.

The first film, simply titled ‘Mad Max’, follows police officer Max Rockatansky as society begins to crumble around him. He’s chasing a group of motrocyclists who have a taste for all things bloody and brutal. They soon become a menace in Max’s home town, looting and pillaging anything they fancy. The first film starts off as a typical cop-car chase movie, but looks at the deconstruction of society when fighting to survive. Mel Gibson is almost unrecognizable as Max after he befalls a family tragedy – he becomes a character built of rage and violence that can’t be contained. The action sequences were hugely complex for the time it was made, using mostly practical effects due to the restricted budget it was made on. Whilst it does look a little bit dated compared to movies of today, Mad Max helped shape ideas about dystopian futures. It was received negatively at first by critics, but it’s stood the test of time and has become a cult classic.

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Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is a full blown post-apocalyptic action adventure film. We see Max come in contact with a group of people at an oil refinery who are in possession of alot of “Guzzoline” (Petrol),  and are under seige from tyrannical gang leader; Lord Humungus. It’s a very simple storyline, but it’s a formula that works to the advantage of the film. Hardened action hero steps in to defend weaker group of people against evil. It’s the style and placing of the story that really makes Mad Max 2 unique as a post-apocalyptic film. Mel Gibson is shown as conflicted against humanity, not sure whether to help others or kill them in an attempt at survival. The character develops throughout the course of the film, as he’s show to be sympathetic to the group of idealists and their survival. ‘The Road Warrior’ builds on the foundations of the first film, using bigger stunts, chases and deaths of protagonist characters to cement the harsh reality of the wasteland.

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The final film in George Miller’s original trilogy is Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and was  met with a hugely mixed reaction. The film focussed on Max coming across ‘Bartertown’ run by… Tina Turner? Yeah, you read that right. She acts as the film’s pseudo-anatagonist, but isn’t necessarily an evil character. It’s a slight theme change from the previous films, as it feels alot more Hollywood. It’s in keeping with the distinct visceral style of the other two, but with the inclusion of a group of abandoned children it begins to feel like a dystopian adaptation of Peter Pan. The uber-glam Tina Turner felt very out of place in a series of films that are surrounded in gritty, dirty, violent, petroleum fuelled madness. The story in itself isn’t terrible, it just feels very mismatched with the tone of the series. Whilst visually still pretty impressive, most fans will either love or hate this conclusion to the Mel Gibson trilogy.

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The Mad Max franchise has since had it’s vitality re-fuelled after the recent Fury Road film, with Tom Hardy in the role proving hugely popular amongst fans young and old. With it’s own open-world game also proving successful and two more films on the way, it looks like Mad Max is still refusing to die.

Seen the Mad Max films? Let us know what you thought in the comments!

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Eammon bounces between the North and South of England – investing his time in films & telly (when he's not writing for Heroes Direct)