"They say people don't believe in heroes anymore. Well, damn them! You and me, Max, we're gonna give 'em back their heroes!" Those empty words come from the chief of police (Roger Ward) to his top dog on the force. Mad Max, read as a fairy tale horror film, follows the logic of a Jacobean tragedy. The hero has everything he loves stripped away, then enacts a horrible revenge on those who wronged him. George Miller, who went on to direct the two sequels and the more benevolent Babe, crafted a low budget vision of slow burning madness on the road through a series of high-octane chase sequences.
Set in Australia "a few years from now", things have fallen apart. A handful of die hard policemen operate out of their cars (labeled "Pursuit" or "Interception") to fend off roving bands of biker gangs. Those roving marauders pillage, rape and destroy everything in their path along the handful of thinly populated shanty towns or, more often, the long, lonely stretches of road through empty wastelands.
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