When I first saw that Scream Factory was re-releasing “Mad Max” on Blu-ray so soon after it was included in a Trilogy tin boxset, I was puzzled. Why would the movie need another single version when it’s already available in two different ones in high-definition? The answer to my question was found in the listing of special features for the “Mad Max: Collector’s Edition.” Hardcore fanatics and film enthusiasts need to look no further than this precious gift.
“Mad Max” picks up in a not-too-distant dystopian future, when man's most precious resource -- oil -- has been depleted and the world plunged into war, famine and financial chaos. The last vestiges of the law in Australia attempt to restrain a vicious biker gang. Max (Mel Gibson), an officer with the Main Force Patrol, launches a personal vendetta against the gang when his wife (Joanne Samuel) and son are hunted down and murdered, leaving him with nothing but the instincts for survival and retribution.
In a time when every explosion, battle sequence, and setting in a film is created through CGI, I think it’s important to pound home the fact that “Mad Max” was filmed in the late 1970s. What you see onscreen really happened in order to capture it on celluloid (yes, celluloid). Every car wreck, motorcycle demolishing, flame-up (and out), and vehicle collision actually took place. Yes, the rider got hit in the head by a motorcycle tire in that one sequence.
The acting in “Mad Max” is spot-on, even when the crazy bikers go over-the-top. You truly believe the leader of the cycle gang is as crazy as he appears to be in the movie. Even when things start to get hammy you buy into these characters one-hundred percent.
“Mad Max” is rated R for violence and gore, profanity, alcohol, drugs, smoking, frightening and intense scenes, adult situations, and nudity. The nudity is bare bottoms and a mannequin with painted on nipples.
Scream Factory packs the “Mad Max: Collector’s Edition” with bonus material fans of the franchise will literally lose their minds over. There are new interviews with Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, and Director of Photography David Eggby. Gibson really shows his enthusiasm for the movie in his clips. Audio commentary is provided by Art Director John Dowding, Director of Photography David Eggby, and Special Effects Artist Chris Murray and Tim Ridge. It also includes the featurettes “Mel Gibson: The Birth of a Superstar” and “Mad Max: The Film Phenomenon.” A theatrical trailer, TV spots, and photo galleries are found as well.
Any time you have an excuse to re-visit “Mad Max,” you should take it. Although “The Road Warrior” might be more action-packed, its predecessor is still the better movie in regards to emotional impact and narrative. It’s a healthy dose of ultra-violence and explosive apocalyptic action mixed with enough humanity to connect the viewer to the tragic characters exhibited onscreen.
“Mad Max: Collector’s Edition” is available now on Blu-ray.