The Mad Max Series
Mad Max (May 30/15)
Set within a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Mad Max follows Mel Gibson's Max Rockatansky as he struggles to maintain law and order in the face of an increasingly violent population. Filmmaker George Miller has infused Mad Max with the structure of an old-school western, essentially, as the movie predominantly revolves around the title character's ongoing battle with a gang of ruthless bikers (led by Hugh Keays-Byrne's malevolent Toecutter). The relative lack of action and distinctly uneven plotting is, for the most part, not as problematic as one might've feared, with Gibson's thoroughly charismatic performance, along with Miller's treatment of the film's few high-octane moments, going a long way towards keeping things interesting for the majority of Mad Max's mercifully brief running time. It's worth noting, however, that the film does suffer from a palpable lull as it progresses into its uneventful midsection, with the spinning-its-wheels vibe perpetuated by a surplus of time-wasting, decidedly pointless interludes (eg a character enjoys a cabaret show). The energetic final stretch ensures that Mad Max concludes on an appreciatively positive note, although, in the end, it's rather difficult to see why the film has amassed such a glowing reputation in the years since its 1979 debut.