In 1979 director George Miller and actor Mel Gibson birthed an iconic action star and a trilogy of films that feature some of the best car stunts ever, with enough bad ass action to boot. The Mad Max Trilogy is an essential part of any action-lovers collection and this latest Blu-Ray release from Warner Bros. delivers on all ends. It comes housed in an appropriate metal casing and in it are the three classic films: Mad Max, The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (first time available on Blu-Ray).
The general story outlining all three films follows Max, who was once a peaceful member of the law, until a gang of bikers decided to destroy his life by harming both his best friend and his true love. Ever since, Max has turned into a full-fledged warrior of the roads, hunting down and killing anyone that poses a threat to the innocent. He’s a force not to be reckoned with, especially behind the wheel of a fully-powered automobile. His legacy is large and spans across three films, detailing both his early start as a by-the-books cop and his eventual turn as complete road warrior bad ass.
The character would have never made it in the hands of anyone other than Mel Gibson. The actor completely embodies the titular character with a strong taste for revenge. He’s initially a soft-spoken type, coming off on his steadiness and patience more than anything, but once Max snaps there’s just no going back.
Mad Max introduces us to the titular character in a typical fashion. Max goes from everyday lawman to ruthless bad ass over the span of the film’s running time and watching it unfold is high-octane action at its finest. Gibson’s performance is the key here, with Miller’s direction being the backup player. Mad Max is a good film; one that delivers some groundbreaking car stunt work, but it’s also a tie for a the weakest entry in the set. It suffers from being slow in some parts and not fast enough in others. All revenge movies have to get over this specific arc and Mad Max certainly does, but it doesn’t do it as well as others.
The Road Warrior is easily the best film of the series and the best film that displays Max’s aggression. With the sequel, director George Miller manages to top the stunts and car mayhem that he provided in spectacular fashion in Mad Max. To this day I go back and revisit The Road Warrior every so often, because it’s such an instrumental part of the sculpting of the action genre and more specifically, car sequences and stunts. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is a worthy successor too, but it doesn’t quite live up to The Road Warrior.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is the series’ foray into PG-13 territory and because of that I can almost immediately tell you that it doesn’t work nearly as well as the other two. It’s still a damn fine film that makes good use of its actors and outlandish story, but it never quite feels like a bloody and balls-to-the-wall Mad Max movie, which is disappointing, but mostly expected by the third outing in any series.
Still, the Mad Max Trilogy is an influential set of films that have no doubt helped pave the way for so many of today’s action films. Directors have borrowed and completely robbed from Miller’s style used in these films and while the action flicks of today are impressive with their big budgets and gigantic sets, I’d still like to think that what Miller and Gibson did with the Mad Max Trilogy won’t ever be properly duplicated.
The Mad Max Trilogy comes to Blu-Ray with three highly detailed 1080p video transfers. The first film suffers the most, due to an outdated transfer that’s littered with inconsistencies, but the second and third films certainly show a spike in quality. I’d still say the entire trilogy balances out, because detail and clarity seems to hold up throughout all three films. Mad Max is the oldest of the bunch, so it’s not going to look as good, but the transfer is still a bit on the cool side, with lots of grain. The other two continue to show the cool colors and healthy grain structure, while also opening up more in terms of finer skin textures and detail.
All three films come with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. The Road Warrior was previously released with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which makes this particular release an improvement for the title. It certainly sounds a lot deeper and less restrained. Mad Max and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome feature lots of channel activity, especially during the extensive car chase sequences. Nothing puts you closer to the film than the loud roar of an engine coming at you from all channels.
All of the previous special features from past releases have been included in this set. These range from audio commentaries to standard definition trailers for the films. The third film only comes with a trailer, while the first two have a limited, but worth watching supply of clips and trailers.
The Mad Max Trilogy is an absolute must-own for anyone claiming to be an action fan, especially if they don’t already own the first two films on Blu-Ray. This new set boasts a brand-new audio track for The Road Warrior, while also featuring the first Blu-Ray release of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The first two films, aside from the second film’s audio track, are the exact same as the previously released Blu-Ray versions, which simply means you might not need to grab this set if you already own them. Everyone else owes it to themselves to pick this up and experience three films that are not only really good and entertaining, but also game-changers to the action genre.
This review is based on a copy of the Blu-Ray that we received for reviewing purposes.
The Mad Max Trilogy is an impressive trio of action-packed films that come loaded with some of the absolute best car stunts ever conceived on film, plus a legendary performance by Mel Gibson. This trilogy is an absolute must own for fans of the action genre.