Long before he was famous for being a freaky, drunk-driving filmmaker obsessed with dead languages and gore, Mel Gibson was just another small-time Australian actor. He had enough rugged good looks and rugged acting chops to be cast as the title character in 1979's Mad Max. Unfortunately, when released in America, some geniuses at the studio decided that the accents were too thick and the resultant dubbing took a lot of the "oomph" out of the film. Instead of the groundbreaking dystopian masterpiece Mad Max was, it played like a kung fu flick. Nevertheless, it was a huge hit and when it came time to make its mind-bending sequel, The Road Warrior, the dubbing was out and the action was in. The Road Warrior is, at times, a nonstop chase scene, but director George Miller makes this post-apocalyptic death race more than just a mindless action flick. It's a fascinating look at what humans will do to survive. There are almost as many glimpses into human nature as there are insane vehicles strapped with barbed wire, saw blades and mohawked madmen. And it's essential viewing. Check it out Friday and Saturday as part of Inwood Theatre's Midnight Madness series. Visit landmarktheatres.com for info.
Fri., July 25; Sat., July 26, 2008