107 of 114 people found the following review helpful
It's a Mad, Mad (Max) World
, January 20, 2002
This review is from: Mad Max (Special Edition) (DVD)
MGM jumped on the DVD bandwagon rather late in the game, and the studio has been struggling to keep up ever since. Traditionally, MGM has released bare-bones, movie-only DVDs with bad transfers and horrid sound - but, thankfully, tradition seems to be losing out to what consumers want. Mad Max: Special Edition is the latest offering from MGM's film vaults to make its way onto DVD in a restored, high-performance disc, and it's about time, too.
Mad Max will probably go down in history as the film that made Mel Gibson a star, but that would gloss over the film's many other virtues. A post-apocalyptic tale of good vs. evil, Mad Max features the title character, Max Rockatansky, in his job as an "Interceptor," a kind of cop struggling to maintain order in a world where the government has all but collapsed and ruthless biker thugs and warlords have made normal life impossible. When Max kills a member of the gang, their leader, the Toecutter, turns around and butcher's Max's family. As a result, Max gets very mad and goes straight to kick-ass mode. The story is slick and well-told, with enough fast cars, gun battles, and extreme chases to keep you tied to your chair. It's basically a Western set in a decaying Australia, and it's a welcome change of pace for action fans, too.
MGM presented us with a two-sided, dual-layer DVD that has two versions of the film: a gorgeous 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen transfer, and a full-screen copy on the same side for those who don't like to see the whole movie. For the first time, American audiences get to watch the film with the original Australian dialogue (it was dubbed with American actors for the US and never released with the original accents before now), either in the old-school mono mix or a completely redone, deep and dynamic DD 5.1 remix. On the other side you get two mini-documentaries, one about the Mad Max series and how the crews made the films (informative), and one about Mel Gibson's rise to stardom (blah). Round that out with a pop-up video style "trivia track" (really just a subtitle option), and you've got a great disc.
The pop-up video track is one of the best and most innovative new features in a long time; I hope other DVD companies take note, because it's fun, informative, and you can watch it again and again, unlike most commentary tracks and other "extras." Overall, Mad Max is an excellent disc, and at its current price, it's worth adding to your shelves. If you're an action fan or a post-apocalyptic-film fan, then this disc is a must.
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