Slightly disappointed that throughout the whole series, the phrase "Mad Max", or "Max is mad", or any variation of it never come up in a line.1

Mad Max (1979)

A bit weird. Slow. 1970s special effects. The story doesn't really pick up until the last part after Max becomes mad. But there's definitely something there, and I can see why they made a second film.

Also I didn't know that Mad Max was Australian. I initially thought it was set in the US and that the accents were weird because it was post-apocalyptic. Wait—that's just Aussie English.

Mad Max 2 (1981)

This is the film that really kicks off the series—the 1979 film could almost be seen more as a pilot or prequel. Worldbuilding happens in 2, and the film goes all in with the gas+leather+desert aesthetics2, something like a sootier solarpunk. Dieselpunk?

Really good.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Builds upon the foundations laid in 2. Many things in the story make no sense (starting with the whole Thunderdome thing) and the aesthetics are more toned down than in 2. Never thought I'd say this, but I wish there were more bikes.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Special effects are a world away from the ones in the initial trilogy. Still, watching this almost 10 years after the release, it's obvious that there's a LOT of CGI (the slow-motion crash scenes come to mind).

I liked that the film went back to the weirder Dieselpunk aesthetic of Mad Max 2. For a sequel made 30 years after the last film, it's surprisingly "on-brand"! I can see why fans and critics liked it.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)

Watched at the cinema here in Hanoi after watching the first four films (this was the idea).

Previously each film was set in a different time and place and was loosely following Max. Furiosa is the first film that instead reuses characters and places from Fury Road (Furiosa, Immortan Joe, war boys, war rigs, The Citadel, Bullet Farm, Gastown, the Vuvalini, to name a few). It's very much a Fury Road prequel more than "A Mad Max Saga". Good but not incredibly novel—Miller is cashing in on the success of Fury Road.

Miller is planning another Fury Road prequel titled "The Wasteland". Looks like Mad Max will be stuck on Fury Road for the time being.


  1. Maybe the name is considered a bit too dumb to be used seriously, which would be correct, but there's plenty of other dumb naming in the franchise so I see no reason to draw a line here. Side note: it seems like Mad Max could be a twist on Violence Jack (Violence → Mad, Jack → Max). Though Miller never acknowledged the 1973 manga as a source of inspiration, the manga and the film series have a bit too much in common for it to be coincidental: post-apocalyptic desert wastelands with biker gangs, anarchy, violence and tribal chiefs—created only 6 years apart.

  2. A 10-fold increase in budget definitely helps.