M is for the Mad: A Guide to Mad Max

Learn the basics before you step into the vast and dangerous wasteland.


    “But most of all we ‘members the man who finded us – him that came a-salvage. And we lights the city, not just for him, but for all of him that are still out there. ‘Cause we knows there’ll come a night when they sees the distant light, and they’ll be comin’ home.”

    For decades these appeared to be the final words of the Mad Max franchise, spoken by Nix to a group of survivors about the man who helped them escape the clutches of the wicked Aunty Entity. Thirty years later, he saw their light and is coming home to a local movie theater near you. He will look different, and he will carry with him a different story, but like many stories, his has become a thing of legend.

    Mad Max: Fury Road hits theaters this weekend, and what better way to celebrate the mayhem, the mystery, and the motors than by breaking down the franchise with a single letter: “M”. M is for the “Mad,” and now our feature can begin…

    –Justin Gerber
    Film Editor




    When we meet Max Rockatansky in Mad Max, he is a loving husband and doting father of a young son and as far from “mad” as you can get. After a fellow police officer and good friend is brutally attacked, Max is about to hang it up when tragedy hits home, courtesy of the disturbing Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and company. Amidst a backdrop on the brink of the apocalypse, Max takes revenge the only way he knows how: fast. Very fast.


    Years go by. The world has gone and destroyed itself. Max travels the wastelands with his dog, Dog, looking for fuel wherever and whenever he can get it. Where is he going? Is he forever on a journey leading him away from his past? He says nothing. After a string of events early on in The Road Warrior (better known as Mad Max 2 everywhere but the US), he becomes tangled up in the lives of a small village that is being terrorized by a group of crazy bandits, led by The Humungus and mohawked Wez. They must escape and realize they need Max to help them.


    Even more time goes by. Maybe decades. Max finds himself in Bartertown, run by Aunty Entity (Tina Turner, appropriately over-the-top). Within its gates is Thunderdome: a giant cage filled with various weapons where its gladiators swing from one end to the next, trying to kill one another. Max inevitably finds himself fighting in the Thunderdome and, after winning, helps a band of children escape to “Tomorrow-morrow Land” before leaving to travel on his own once more. The common thread all three movies share is that while Max will save you, don’t expect him to stick around.

    mad-max - hardy


    In Fury Road, Max is no longer portrayed by Mel Gibson, but Tom Hardy appears ready to take on the mantle of the Road Warrior. Will we be convinced? –Justin Gerber