First Mad Mad, what's the appeal?

Discussion in 'Entertainment and Movie Talk' started by Urbanmx, Sep 2, 2015.

  1. Urbanmx

    Urbanmx Active Member

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    I just watched the first Mad Max, I am a fan of all the others and thought I was going to love this one too. It was not for me but it is a popular movie and has grossed a lot of money. I was wondering what the appeal of this movie is or was at the time?
     
  2. ShowCraft

    ShowCraft Well-Known Member

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    Mad Mad (sic) is one of my top ten films. From the cars, locations to the quirky - campy vision of the near future. I love the world this film is set in.
     
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  3. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    Can't speak for anyone else, but I enjoy it for a few reasons.

    First, I really enjoy the story. It's radically different from all of the other entries in the franchise, but I enjoy it as its own thing. It's less a post-apocalyptic action flick, and more a slow-burning revenge thriller set alongside the gradual breakdown of society. And even though it's only 90 minutes long, the pacing of it is noticeably slower than the other films. The story, even at 90 minutes, ebbs and flows in terms of its action. Ultimately, though, I think that's necessary to do what it is the story's trying to do. Max is a badass cop, yeah, but he also has a family. Losing that family, along with the breakdown of law and order in society, the gradual erosion of the "social contract" leaves him a broken man who takes bloody revenge on those who wronged him.

    Second, it has some AMAZING stuntwork in it, and -- considering the budget -- it has some truly amazing prop and costume design. Visually, it's really, really striking.


    As far as its wider appeal, I think you have to kind of set it in its historical context. It came at a period in filmmaking where pacing in general was slower. Try and watch the original Dirty Harry, for example. It's SLOW. It doesn't even get to the pacing of, say, the original Lethal Weapon or Die Hard. These were slower, talkier movies that took time to build menace, establish their world, lay out who their characters were, etc. Also, at this point in time, at least in the US and maybe elsewhere, there was a real sense of needing to fight back against rampant crime. Mad Max isn't quite, say, Dirty Harry or Death Wish, but it does depict cops essentially "taking out" the most reprehensible members of society, who were almost always depicted as violent, dangerous lunatics. Often rapists and murderers. The only way to deal with them (or so we were shown) was brutally exterminating them.

    I'd also say that, at least for its time, The Road Warrior was pretty graphically violent. The color of the blood, for example, was far darker than a lot of the squib blood you'd see in 1970s action flicks. You saw people get really horribly injured rather than just, you know, shot dead. Charlie getting hit in the throat, Goose's being burned alive, Jessie and Sprog being run down and left dying in the road, Max being shot in the knee and having his arm run over, Toecutter's run-in with a semi, etc. This stuff was all really violent.
     
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  4. Urbanmx

    Urbanmx Active Member

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    Thank you, that all makes sense. I had a feeling that some of it's appeal was due to the time of it's release. I kept wondering where their kid was in some of those scenes, playing with gun in one, IDK when they are swimming, left under a tree by himself in another, he had no chance they kept a better eye on that dog.
     
  5. SSgt Burton

    SSgt Burton Sr Member

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    Dan beat me to it about the pacing of the era. AND I was going to call it Australia's answer to "Dirty Harry." :D ;)

    Perhaps also along the lines of "Taxi Driver" with the cathartic "bad guys get their's" climax.


    Kevin
     
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  6. Probe Droid

    Probe Droid Master Member

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    It's a terrible B drive-in flik. It looks cheap, the characters are ridiculous, and the acting stinks. The only good thing in it is the car.
     
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  7. dascoyne

    dascoyne Master Member

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    You said it for me. The stuntwork, camerawork and editing make it a classic. I love Mad Max just as much as I love The Road Warrior. As films set in the same universe they do seem to be cut from a slightly different cloth but both are great films.

    Thunderdome is a film I'd rather forget, on the other hand.
     
  8. dascoyne

    dascoyne Master Member

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    At first I thought this thread was about this movie:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. jheilman

    jheilman Sr Member

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    Sorry, that's way too dismissive for this film. Road Warrior was clearly the far better film, but Mad Max was still an amazing film for 1979. It's a visceral revenge film on a slow burn. When it gets going, it really goes. It is a low-budg film, and that is evident. But what they did was fabulous. Max had more dimension here than in any of the sequels. This film made Mel Gibson a star. Sure, he's fallen in recent years, but, no Mad Mad, very likely no Lethal Weapon. The kinetic action sequences were amazing for the time. It's a mistake to view past films through the lens of today. As has been said, they need to be viewed through the window of history. I remember watching Max with my buddies on cable in the early 80s. It was awesome to all of us.
     
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  10. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 Master Member

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    Despite all of the fan love for Mad Max, I agree with you (though I'm not so sure about the car). After a friend recommended it back in 1979, my wife and I went to see it (she was my girlfriend at the time). After 30 minutes we decided doing anything else would be better than watching the rest of the movie. Years later I did give it a second chance and watched it from start to finish, and my opinion didn't change.

    That being said, there have been quite a few popular movies over the years that I didn't care for, but I could understand why other people liked them. With Mad Max, I have absolutely no idea why anyone thinks it's a good movie; it's sincerely one of the worst movies I've ever seen.
     
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  11. robn1

    robn1 Master Member

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    This is an example of where my tastes run opposite of popular opinion. I liked the original Mad Max for the low budget thriller it was. I hated Road Warrior, I thought it sucked balls, and never bothered with the others.
     
  12. Probe Droid

    Probe Droid Master Member

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    Come on, it's a guilty-pleasure film at best. Don't let nostalgia skew your judgement.
     
  13. Krull

    Krull Sr Member

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    I enjoy Mad Max,never,ever will I be able to understand why or what made Road Warrior I always felt the thing went crazy because of budget-no city shooting it's all in the outback so all the cash went to cars and crazy costumes....or that's just what the guy wanted from the beginning,who knows?

    I'd have preferred a more slow spiral down into anarchy,with the MFP fighting to the end and then a slow climb back up if you took a bit of Robocop and mixed it in to Mad Max I think it would have been more fun,stay in the city and maybe show patrols into the wastes and how mad it gets.

    Overall I like Mad Max and just forget the others ever happened.....
     
  14. RogueTrooper

    RogueTrooper Well-Known Member

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    It's one of those classic movies where the sequel is better than the first movie....but the original sets the tone.

    I doubt if any of the films would have been successful without Mel Gibson, his screen presence is definitive.

    I have not seen Fury Road....so I can't comment about that.....everyone seems to love it...I have my doubts......
     
  15. dascoyne

    dascoyne Master Member

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    I think a lot of people first saw The Road Warrior but were disappointed when they later watched Mad Max expecting a similar movie.

    The first two films are really action-car chase movies in an apocalyptic sci-fi setting with Mad Max much closer to the car chase genre and The Road Warrior much closer to the apocalyptic sci-fi genre.

    Mad Max as a chase movie in the vein of Vanishing Point or Bullitt is a superb movie.
     
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  16. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    Yeah, I'm more in line with this view. Of course it's a B-movie with no budget. That's the point. It's like El Mariachi in that respect. They did amazing stuff with a very limited budget. If you go in expecting a huge extravaganza, you're gonna be disappointed. But for what it is -- which, again, I concede is a B-movie -- it's really, really good.

    That said, if that style of film isn't your thing, I can understand not liking it. I can also understand modern audiences finding it hard to connect with, especially in comparison to its sequels. It has a very, very different "vibe" to it.

    Then you must not have seen too many bad movies. Seriously, man, there are WAY worse films out there. Anything affiliated with the name "Uwe Boll," for example, most of Michael Bay's oeuvre, almost any movie that ever appeared on MST3K, etc., etc., etc.

    I dunno. I can understand not enjoying the film, or finding it dull, or just not finding that style of film to be particularly engaging. But for what it is, for the budget they had, it's actually pretty well made. Try watching, say, the original Gone in 60 Seconds, which has WAY worse acting, and is (in my opinion) far less engaging story-wise, and constructed in a far more haphazard way. Its stuntwork is top-notch, but otherwise, it's really not a very well made film.

    I see it as a mix of two genres, actually. It mixes the "rogue cop/revenge thriller" genre (e.g. Dirty Harry, Death Wish) with the "road movie/car chase movie" genre.

    In terms of its pacing and such, I do find it similar to films like Vanishing Point or Dirty Mary Crazy Larry. Although, those two films involve some existentialist aspects in the background, which is less addressed in Mad Max. I find Bullit to be...more of a "proto" car-chase film. The story isn't built around the chase, but the chase features prominently. Kinda like The French Connection. By contrast, Vanishing Point and Gone in 60 Seconds are DEFINITELY about the chase.


    Anyway, if you watch films in the "car chase" genre, most of them are shot this way, most were low-budget, and not all were of the same quality. Some are better than others, some are just pure exploitation flicks. I think the original Mad Max is one of the better entries into that genre, but I can also understand why it's not everyone's cup of tea.

    The Road Warrior, on the other hand, is just so * visually engaging that I don't get how someone would dislike it. The only way that'd make sense is if they've literally never seen it, and are only now coming to it after watching all the other movies that have evolved from it. Like, someone watching, say, the original Star Wars and finding it dull with cheesy f/x, without understanding its role in cinema.
     
  17. Axlotl

    Axlotl Master Member

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    It's funny - as obsessed as I was as a kid with the Interceptor, I never really considered Mad Max a car-chase movie.
    I always saw it in sort of the same vein as "Lawrence of Arabia" - kind of peering into a microscope to watch a man slowly being pushed to the breaking point.
    Max was cool as Han Solo in 1979. I even made myself a Mad Max costume and wore it to school on Halloween.
     
  18. Jeyl

    Jeyl Master Member

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    It's an odd movie, I'll say that much. Nothing bad, just not a whole lot of right. The real quality killer for me is the music. It's not only all over the place but the sweet romantic piece that plays during the ending credits is just jarring. I laughed out loud when SHOUT Factory used that bit of music for their BluRay menu. The work Brian May did for Mad Max 2 was night and day compared to his outing with Mad Max.
     
  19. Probe Droid

    Probe Droid Master Member

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    That's only in terms of chases and stunts, which only constitute one aspect of the film. Characterization and story don't cost anything and the lowest of low-budget films can have them, but this one's attempts don't get very far (although I'll give it points for trying). If you want to like it that's perfectly fine, I've seen it numerous times and enjoy it for what it's worth, but don't claim it's more than it is. If Mel Gibson didn't become a star this film would have been tossed into the dustbin on top of a slew of '60s biker schlock.
     
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  20. dascoyne

    dascoyne Master Member

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    Most "car chase" films do straddle genres. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry was partly a heist movie. Duel was a suspense film. Bullitt was a cop movie. Mad Max was, like you said, a cop/revenge thriller ... with only enough post-apocalyptic sci-fi to justify some of the dramatic situations.

    Gosh, I'm going to watch Mad Max again.
     
  21. astroboy

    astroboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    After seeing the new one I went back and watched the old ones.


    The first one doesn't really seem like it's part of the series. It's more like a rudimentary idea. And it's slow. Really slow. Most of it reminds me of the scenes on Naboo from ATOC.

    The second one is a whole new genre. It's very good but it feels like it's the real film. In a sense, Mad Max was a prologue to the Road Warrior.

    I really couldn't finish the third one. It was garbage. I gave up after the kids made their way into barter town.



    I realize that there is very little continuity between the films but I have a theory that helps me sleep at night. My theory is that all four of the (vastly different) worlds of these film exist during the same time. I believe that around coastal parts of Australia, there are little communities like we saw in the first film. This allows him to be a cop. But at the end of that film, he drives off into the wasteland....that has been collapsed for 90 years already. By the fourth film, he is in the middle of nowhere. It's tribal. These people were born into this world, just like their parents before them.

    In the fourth film, he says he used to be a cop. But charleze Theron was born into this world as it is. This makes sense if he was a cop in a small pocket of civilization far away from the fury road
     
  22. Urbanmx

    Urbanmx Active Member

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    I want to thank everyone again for answering my question. I may have to start another thread for Brazil, it was OK but I don't understand how it's some great scifi film?
     
  23. Axlotl

    Axlotl Master Member

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    This guy is some kind of troll genius.
     
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  24. astroboy

    astroboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Brazil is kinda perfect

    Sent from my SM-N910W8 using Tapatalk
     
  25. Urbanmx

    Urbanmx Active Member

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    I'm not trying to be, that's pretty funny. Popular Science has 100 greatest Scifi films and Brazil is on that list plus Adam Savage has talked it up on his podcast. I went into both Brazil and Madmax with high hopes and left both with low hope. I would say Brazil was better, but I have to think maybe a lot of it had to do with the time of release?
     
  26. Wetwired

    Wetwired Active Member

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    I thought I wouldn't respond since the op seems to be trolling but anyway. Mad Max redefined how carchases were shot, you had not seen anything similar up til then. As it always is with classics, they seem cliched when watched 30 years after release but new viewers always seem to forget that theses classics invented those cliches.

    The style of Mad Max is so striking you can even make a musicvideo 20 years later and it's still obvious.

    [video]https://youtube.com/watch?v=0teP99JFwjs[/video]
     
  27. Megamicrofish

    Megamicrofish Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I loved the original Mad Max, One of the first Laser Discs (remember those) I owned.
    Did you know that the US version of Mad Max was dubbed to get rid of the "Australian" accents?
     
  28. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    I....don't really see how this is "trolling" per se. I don't see an attempt to enrage people, certainly. It's just an attempt to start a discussion...which worked. We're having a discussion about a given film. What's the big deal?

    - - - Updated - - -

    That was fixed in the most recent DVD and blu-ray releases. You can now select the US dubbing or the original Aussie dubbing. The Aussie dubbing is WAY better, but the US dubbing is interesting as a curio.
     
  29. Axlotl

    Axlotl Master Member

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    I called him a troll genius jokingly. I think he (OP) understood that.
    That was in reference to his "Brazil" post.

    I was imagining a new Brazil thread, where after about a dozen posts he then says
    "Thanks for your input, guys. By the way, what's the big deal with Star Wars?"
     
  30. dascoyne

    dascoyne Master Member

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    It's actually off putting and hilarious to watch Mel Gibson with that oddball dubbed American accent.

    I remember when they first televised The Road Warrior. I was in agony when they redubbed the opening voice over. The original is beautifully chilling monologue told with true gravity. As I recall the "Americanized" dub was just your typical old geezer impersonation. I think they also changed the wording. It was awful.
     
  31. Urbanmx

    Urbanmx Active Member

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    Don't worry I like Star Wars
     
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  32. Jeyl

    Jeyl Master Member

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    This what you talking about?



    And I agree. He's got a George C. Scott vibe going on. I actually like the "hope survives" bit a lot better than "learned to live again".
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  33. dascoyne

    dascoyne Master Member

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    *groan*
    that's the one.

    the original is not better only for the performance but it is spoken by a man on his deathbed. It's all there.

    the redub has none of that in the telling. The performance is devoid of a backstory.
     
  34. Jeyl

    Jeyl Master Member

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    Oh, I see what you were saying. I misread your quote. I still have a soft spot for this version but yeah. The original does sound more genuine and has a better payoff with the end reveal.
     
  35. batguy

    batguy Sr Member

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    Papigallo's death still looks stupid even in another cut. Ugh.

    I have always suspected that scene was compromised over something. A last-minute script change, they ran out of time, a prop didn't work, stunt went awry, etc.
     
  36. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 Master Member

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    Oh, I've seen more than my fair share of movies from nearly every decade since the year 1900--good and bad, high-budget and low-budget, A-list actors and people no one has ever heard of, and everything in between. And I'm not a "movie snob"; some of my favorite movies were made on a very low budget with acting that was less than believable--try sitting through Bob Clark's Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things sometime. :D So I can differentiate between a movie I didn't care for but was made well, and a movie I didn't care for because it wasn't made well. For me, Mad Max falls into the latter category.

    I agree with you about the original Gone in 60 Seconds; I saw it once, and that was more than enough. But getting back to Mad Max, it's been at least 25 years since I've seen it but I remember thinking it wasn't a well made movie regardless of the budget. As best as I can remember, the A.D.R. (looping or dubbing of dialogue, for those unfamiliar with the term) was out of synch in several places. The stunt sequences sometimes didn't mesh well with the story, as if the director decided, "We need an action scene here. Go crash into something," and weren't particularly dynamic or anything I hadn't seen before. The "bad guys" wardrobe (i.e., clothing, hair, and makeup) looked like a homophobic redneck's version of a drag party. And the editing occasionally felt like they either didn't have the footage they needed or didn't quite know how to tell the story with the footage they had. As a whole, I felt it was an amateurish effort by people who didn't really know much about what they were doing. But, again, I've only seen it one time from start to finish several years ago, so my recollection could be faulty.
     
  37. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

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    I consider it one of the best movies ever made. However, I LIKE simple, spare movies, revenge flicks, exploitation flicks, and the low-budget 70s aesthetic. (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is another favorite, for instance. A work of art). If your tastes run toward the more polished or nuanced, it's not gonna appeal. Makes my heart race. Is actually exciting and suspenseful, filled with menace. One specific thing I'll highlight is the acting. Jesus, Toecutter is great.
     
  38. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    Fair enough. I concede that you clearly know your crappy films. ;) (and good ones)

    It might -- might, mind you -- be worth a rewatch. The stunt sequences, I think, are pretty on-point for moving the story along. The opening sequence is solid and establishes the threat the gangs pose, as well as the lengths to which the cops are going to stop them, and Max's own willingness to engage in fairly hard-edged tactics (playing chicken with the Nightrider). The other action sequences (e.g., bikers chase the guy out of town and wreck his car; Goose is attacked by the bikers; Jessie and Sprog's death; Max's revenge) are all relevant for the story, in my opinion. The camera work may be a bit jarring at points, but it's serviceable.

    My recollection of the bad guys' wardrobe is that it's pretty straightforward as biker wear, albeit not in the sense of an organized MC. The homoerotic stuff appears more in the second film, to my recollection, other than things like Bubba Zanetti's eyeliner.

    I can see where the editing might feel off, though. There are some jumpy cuts, and some of the angles for the action seem kind of disoriented. In some cases, you can claim (maybe) that it's artistic choice to make the scene feel viscerally disorienting, but in others it might just be that this was a rookie filmmaking team.


    As for the ADR, you're likely the victim of the infamous American dub, which was really, really bad. The Aussie dialogue track is much better, has better emphasis, and just sounds more natural overall.
     
  39. jheilman

    jheilman Sr Member

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    All I had ever seen until the later DVD release was the American dub. When I first heard the original on DVD, it added a whole new layer of "genuine" to the film for me.
     
  40. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 Master Member

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    I don't disagree. My opinions of certain movies have changed over the years--some for the better, others for the worse. Worst case scenario would be that my opinion doesn't change.

    When my wife and I saw the first 30 minutes in the theater in 1979 it was definitely the "American dub" version, but when I saw the whole movie years later most, or all, of the actors had Australian accents and I still thought the ADR was poorly done. That's nothing more than my opinion, but I have to admit that I sometimes notice "flaws" in movies that most people don't notice.
     
  41. Rupp66

    Rupp66 Well-Known Member

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    Spoiler alert!!!

    JK
     
  42. jheilman

    jheilman Sr Member

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    Uh...what?
     
  43. EmmaInCandyland

    EmmaInCandyland Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The first mad max is really different from the other films in my opinion, but you have to remember this happens before the nuclear disasters, so it's obviously not post apocalyptic. They did a good job for the budget but I tend to find it a bit more boring than the others. The evil guy was interesting and I liked the revenge part. Mostly the last 30 min of the movie was good to me, as you start to feel empathy for the main character.

    There's something that bothered me in fury road though, it is that Max barely talk, you only hear him grown or moan. I wish there would be more interaction with Max, he was quite chatty in the first 3 films, no? x)
     
  44. astroboy

    astroboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    He's actually not talkative at all in the other ones. Years ago I remember hearing that Gibson only had like, 21 lines of dialogue in the road warrior.

    The thing is, we have to remember that what we're bearing witness to is a tribal society. Much of max's life is spent alone. Interaction with people is very rare. Everyone has been driven mad.
     
  45. EmmaInCandyland

    EmmaInCandyland Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yeah I guess it might have gotten worse throughout the years, he still interact more in the trilogy. But yeah I guess he does only when he has important things to say x)
     
  46. Laspector

    Laspector Sr Member

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    I think he talked more in the monologue of Fury Road than he did in the entire first trilogy.
     
  47. astroboy

    astroboy Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I just looked it up. He only had 16 lines in the road warrior
     
  48. Rupp66

    Rupp66 Well-Known Member

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    JK = a common internets abbreviation for 'just kidding', you see, because Mad Max is a classic film, seen by many, often more than once. Therefore an actual 'spoiler' would be rather unlikely. Thus making my former statement something of a 'joke', hopefully.
    Feel free to rip my punctuation, I'm sure it's terrible, love, Jason
     
  49. jheilman

    jheilman Sr Member

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    Sorry, didn't catch the JK. Thought those were your initials or something. :D
     
  50. Rupp66

    Rupp66 Well-Known Member

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    And I'm sorry I went full smartass, all in good fun ;)
     

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