A series of highly-publicized scandals have seen Mel Gibson‘s stock in Hollywood plummet dramatically, with the 64 year-old now reduced to cameo appearances in ensemble movies and straight-to-video action fare after having previously reigned for decades as one of the biggest stars and most consistent box office draws in the business.
At this stage, Gibson’s best shot at launching a full-scale comeback seems to be from behind the camera, with his last directorial outing, Hacksaw Ridge receiving widespread critical acclaim, earning over $180 million at the box office against a $40 million budget and landing six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director.
Meanwhile, the in-development Lethal Weapon 5 looks to be his most realistic chance at restoring his career to something resembling its former glory, but fans who want to remember simpler times and revisit the movie that turned him into a star are in luck, because George Miller’s 1979 classic Mad Max arrived on Netflix yesterday.
In what was just the third big screen role of his career, Mel Gibson exuded sheer star power and charisma from the very second he appeared on the screen, with Max Rockatansky well established as a cult hero long before the credits had even rolled. The post-apocalyptic action thriller became one of the most profitable movies ever made after earning over $100 million globally on shoestring production costs of $350,000, as well as launching a franchise that spawned two all-time greats in follow-up The Road Warrior and Gibson-less continuation Fury Road.
Mad Max has been named as an inspiration by A-list directors like Guillermo del Toro, David Fincher, Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron, and even found itself being referenced 40 years later in family film The LEGO Movie 2, which just goes to show how far the pic’s influence has stretched over cinema.