|08.27.07||Netflix|| Since I just finished a post-apocalyptic road trip mixtape, I figured I'd check this out. Back when I was in middle school (AKA before IMDB or at least before I had access to IMDb) my friends and I were in constant confusion with Mad Max. We'd all seen Road Warrior and loved it and we'd seen Beyond Thunderdome on HBO or whatever and... well that was what that was. But these rumours of Road Warrior not being the first Mad Max movie - that there was another movie simply called "Mad Max" troubled us... because half the kids we talked to referred to Road Warrior as Mad Max so maybe somebody was confused? misinformed? whatever. It's funny how easy something like that is to clear up nowadays but back then there was no easy answer (the video stores all carried Road Warrior (all labelled "The Road Warrior") and Thunderdome, none of them carried Mad Max) and the confusion lived on for years.|
So it's not surprising that there was a Mad Max before Road Warrior. What IS surprising to me is how different it is. I don't know if the dude on the special features' comment about mad Max being the first post-apocalyptic movie is true or not, but when looking at the film it does make sense. Mainly because the apocalyptic touches are so (relatively) light. There are still things in this world (like road signs and towns and government suits and laws) that I'm not used to seeing in these kinds of films, especially not a Mad Max film. On the grand timeline of how far each film takes place before or after said apocalypse, I'd put this at like 5 months after... a pretty short amount of time for not actually including the apocalypse itself. Of course it must've been budgetary contraints keeping them so (again relatively) close to civilisation, but the story too is surpsisingly civil. Mad Max is a cop(!) and a biker gang comes after him. And although the biker gang is definitely tweaked out, it shares remarkable similarities with all the earlier biker movies. There's the crazy leader, the possibly-gay right-hand man, the crazy guy who can't stop raping... I think maybe this movie's closer to The Born Losers than anyone realizes.
So in many respects, watching this movie felt to me like watching a prequel for The Road Warrior that just happened to be made first. While it's interesting to see where Mad Max comes from and why he becomes the road warrior in the first place, ultimately it's information I don't care about and would actually rather not know. I have to remind myself when people bring up the whole what-sequels-are-better-than-the-first-one thing to chime in with this.
Great. now I want to see Road Warrior again.