The Nightrider has commandeered a police vehicle and escaped custody. It’s tough to run in leather pants I suppose. And these guys don’t look in the greatest shape, depending solely on their mech-suit cars as weaponry. Don’t worry about fist-fights or stabbings. You’re going to be run over and flambéed somewhere as a Petrol-God Suncity Starblazer. Death by fire in a twisted machine colliding with another machine.
Everyone wants to impress The Toecutter. The Nightrider is making the ultimate run down the Suncity highway. It’s a suicide mission as the entire length of it is strewn with cops. The Nightrider just wants to go fast on open road. So much open road. But those old maid Highway Patrollers just won’t let him. Nightrider’s about to be made famously deceased by turning his V8 into a flaming rocketship to another dimension.
Max looks visibly shaken up after playing some bumper cars with him where one party was mysteriously killed in a high-speed car chase that results in death almost one hundred percent of the time. What did you expect, POPO the clown? In the new world that will be a waste of gasoline.
Everyone has a cool code name in this universe. March Hare; Big Bopper; The Goose. Max he’s just Max…Rockatansky, to the extreme as his name implies. Supposedly one of the few survivors on Earth later, who continues to wear leather (vinyl in the film due to budget) in all that heat. The things you have to do for an audience that demands you dress up real weird. Viagra for some? Perhaps Capt. Fifi? Yes that is the guy in charge.
Max hasn’t taken a shower in three days and smells like gas, leather, diner food and Outback. They bottle that stuff now. If this film has one flaw it’s that there might not be enough sweat. I’m talking Predator 2 sweat. One of the top five sweaty films of all time. Easily beating out Bridge on the River Kwai pound for pound in sweat displayed. Bathing is almost unknown. No one can afford to, in a future where your enemies have to smell you coming so you can up their fear temperature.
Toecutter is a performance artist, attempting some synchronized biking on metal horses when they first ride into town. They’re not bandit-murderer-criminals. They’re a dance troop. And who would object to that? Oh oh! The menacing music says otherwise. These guys actually could be evil.
Does weird attract weird? Of course it does. Same applies to every strata of group. A lot of these bikers in the film were from a real biking club, “gang” in parlay. Though I’m not sure they brought their own wares. But this is futuristic Australia. And turning your body into a sweatbox leather space-suit is a form of self-flagellation to punish the wicked, in a world of nothing but wicked.
The only one in mourning seems to be Toecutter himself. His brood is out celebrating by painting the road with skid mark pornography and harassing anyone that thinks this is a one horse town. I’m not sure of their background in art-design or theory, but they’re going their own way. Toecutter is Marlon Brando in many ways. If Marlon thought that killing people on the road was kind of cool.
This guy’s car was assaulted by a herd of wild bikers, with one of them smashing a hatchet sending his car spiralling out of control. This was the passenger side of the windshield. Had he just braked, he would have compacted half of Toecutter’s choirboys and ended the film there, as Toecutter goes on a retreat wondering where it all went wrong. They then proceed to rape his girlfriend and him with a variety of implements. You can tell as he scurries into the field as The Goose calls out to him on the microphone, and see that his rectum is bleeding. These guys just like to relax at the end of a day of killing, torturing, and raping. And recharge for the next time.
Well Johnny the Boy has been left behind because he’s gone on a 2001, a Space Odyssey. Yes he’s high, and speaking in tongues only his split personality could understand. He’s wearing a peyote cactus for a helmet and is strapped into a front seat that’s been separated from its car. He probably thinks he’s at Toecutter’s side, but ‘da Cutta’ has lots to do and is in love with a coffin. A man of good Christian standing it seems.
Guess who was next in line to kill Max’s kid if The Toecutter didn’t get to him first? Max you are an irresponsible idiot! All those stuffed animals that resemble dead ones are a poignant reminder of what your kid was shaping up to be. Sprog his son. Yeah they named him Sprog. A name that sounds like a part one finds in a junkyard, but was once a disparaging term for children, now just meaning child. Well he just punched his mom in the face with a right hook. She embraces Max and they laugh “Takes after his old man”. Of that I have no doubt. Who knows what George Miller didn’t show at this point. Mad Max cop, lover, adventurer and wife beater!
Driving bikes on roads with maniacs who use cars as weapons should not even be a consideration. Goose you stupid, stupid man. Why? Ironically he was killed when he got a drum-brake thrown through his windshield in a car he was hauling his bike back in. From Johnny the Boy no less, who’s got a hell of a sense of timing I’d say. He’s the only bike-cop among a slew of car armors. This could foreshadow his death or indicate he’s pretty much closer to the lifestyle of the villains. All who drive bikes. And all who get run over and crushed. Moral of story. If you ride a bike you’re evil. If you drive a car, you’re impotent and are compensating for a small penis. How about guys who walk? Caine from Kung Fu logged more miles than any of these guys, all on his two legs. So what happened to David Carradine? He flew to Thailand, that was his biggest mistake. Planes are just giant air-penises after all. Right? One can’t win. Best to stay home in my opinion. No mistaking intention there.
Toecutter is waxing on something, could be the flies around him. But he has to hurry as two members of his gang are fighting over who gets to screw a Mannie. Apocalyptic overlords have to make tough decisions like this everyday.
He takes Johnny the Boy into the water to baptize him with a shotgun in his mouth for a snorkel and an attempt at the Guinness Book of World Records for staying the longest underwater. What the hell is he mad at anyway? His gang was about to inseminate a mannequin which he thinks was some kind of spy device sent by the police. Is this man crazy? I’m starting to think so.
Yeah that disapproving look to Bubba on the left and Starbuck on the right in an about to start shaking my head still. They know Toecutter can go too far sometimes. Like lick a kid’s ice-cream cone. Rape they’re okay with. But even they believe he deserved to be castrated with a knee between the legs. Yeah, yeah. Toe would laugh if it happened to them too. Of course the dynamics of a gang means they are his property and revenge would be in order. Like the case of the missing hand…
Kundalini’s hand has been declared unclaimed property. If someone comes to get it, they’re guilty. I think Pee Wee Herman set up the same scheme for his lost bike. Nice one Pee Wee. But Jesus, the official uniforms of this place. My guess is that most of them have been in porn at one time or another. Or need to prostitute on the side. Cause this shit don’t pay well and death doesn’t take a holiday here.
The Toecutter is a Highway philosopher. The dirty blond wolf of the the domain he’s claimed. He didn’t pave these roads, well not with bitumen but blood anyway. And each road requires a sacrifice. A kid of course and his weening mother if they should be so lucky. Their god needs rich hemoglobin and these hemogoblins are the vehicle from which bringeth forth a monster.
Kids are always on the street here. Many times for no reason…well it does add to the menace. Something about the smell of their own death. They crave the death Thanatos, not Mentos. As soon as he’s born, he wants to die. The road calls to him. The audience too wants them dead as it will add to the flavoring of them wanting to kill lawbreakers.
Max does one of the first smart things in this film, he lawn-mower’s Toecutter’s mini-army on bikes sending a few over a bridge, and uses probably a couple more as speedbumps under his car. I personally think he should have added a tint to his windshield (Windscreen in Australia) and just start car-stalking them pretending there was no one in it. Toecutter needed to be haunted by the nightmares of a road demon. In reality he would have died a lot sooner, as I’m not the only forward-thinker on this issue.
Mad Max was a monstrosity of budget to profit ratio. It cost between 350k and 650k to make, depending on the source, and made over a hundred million dollars worldwide. Making it the highest grossing film in relation to its budget until The Blair Witch Project came around. It’s influence is also pedaled through the media from video games to other popular apocalyptic films including Terminator. A foundation stone for our imaginations post-nuclear world.
I find myself quoting it endlessly and trying to replicate the voices in a humorous fashion, oh my god I’m pathetic. But it really is a majestic beast in this regard. Its score by Brian May who reflects Jerry Goldsmith, both his favorite composer and mine, complements the dystopian atmosphere perfectly, adding a certain hollowness to the world. And sparsely administered like Goldsmith. The alternative to the bombastic works of most Hollywood films. The costumes are makeshift in appearance and work well enough considering the budget they had, in any case Toecutter’s mane and walk pave over any problems as he’s a presence in a costume that dominates every scene he’s in. The cinematography looks like they were filming from shooting bullets and is fast-paced. Not hectic, but resembling a death stare moment the audience could share in. There are many films that look dated from this period. This isn’t one of them.
Next: The Road Warrior: Petrol Gods