Like Star Wars and Dawn Of The Dead, Mad Max led to a succession of cheap clones where the ideas were third hand, the effects weren’t very special, and only diehard cult movie fans had heard of any of the actors, but whatever their technical (and narrative) faults, the films never failed to be entertaining.
Every picture begins the same way: in the desolate post-apocalyptic wilderness, a rugged individualist’s attempts to survive bring him into conflict with a small group of survivors, with whom he eventually sides against a cackling, bug-eyed villain. Said villain turns out to be a sadistic psychopath with a penchant for torture (not to mention 80s fashions), and you can probably guess the rest.
For good measure, and because original ideas are as scarce in micro-budget cinema as they are in Hollywood, the filmmakers usually toss in a bunch of ‘homages’ to other hits. Action fans will particularly enjoy Italian director Bruno Mattei’s films, which recreate entire scenes (and borrow footage) from Lethal Weapon, Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Predator, among others.
There’s a good reason why you should attempt to track down these films – they’re fun. True, they’re not cerebral or well-made or even “good”, but they do what popcorn cinema’s supposed to – they entertain.