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Mad Max

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    87
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Mad Max's 4K UHD release excels, blending classic action with stellar modern tech upgrades.

    Mad Max 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    88
  • Mad Max's 4K UHD release offers unprecedented visual fidelity, with vibrant colors and detailed textures, though some note a cooler color palette.

  • Audio
    83
  • Mad Max's 4K Blu-ray boasts superior Australian 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio, eclipsing the mono tracks with balanced, distortion-free sound, despite some dialogue being overshadowed by the score.

  • Extra
    85
  • Kino Lorber's Mad Max Ultra HD set features a mix of archival and new extras, including interviews and featurettes, but requires a Region A player for full access.

  • Movie
    87
  • George Miller's 'Mad Max' weaves a lean, dystopian revenge tale with raw, practical stunts and vibrant characters, now celebrated in a detailed 4K release.

    Video: 88

    Mad Max shines anew on 4K UHD Blu-ray, courtesy of Kino Lorber, leveraging a native 4K transfer that redefines the visual experience of this cult classic. The film, presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1, benefits from the meticulous application of 10-bit video depth, Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), High Dynamic Range, and Dolby Vision through the HEVC (H.265) codec for HDR10. The attention to detail is palpable, from the textures of Max's leathers to the vibrant elucidation of the landscapes and vehicular chaos, breathing new life into George Miller’s vision. The grain structure remains faithful to the filmic nature of the original, enhancing the image's texture without overwhelming detail or falling prey to excessive Digital Noise Reduction (DNR), ensuring that even the finest aspects are captured with exceptional clarity.

    However, not all is perfect in this dystopian presentation. While the 4K restoration introduces an unparalleled crispness and depth to images previously unseen, it has spawned discussions around its color grading. Some scenes exhibit a cooler color temperature, diverging from the warmer hues that characterized the original cinematic release. This alteration might strike purists as a deviation, despite enhanced details and contrast levels facilitated by the HDR and Dolby Vision encoding. The medley of vibrant tones - particularly the signature golden yellows and cobalt blue stripes of pursuit vehicles - are impressively dynamic, but the overarching color shift could be a point of contention for those with vivid memories of the film's original aesthetic.

    In spite of this, the restoration steps boldly forward in preserving and amplifying the anarchic beauty of Mad Max's wasteland. Every element, from rusted car exteriors to the individual blades of grass on the desolate plains, is rendered with remarkable definition. The disc's utilization of space maximizes quality, making visible compression artifacts a rarity even on large projection screens. The marriage of improved black levels, flesh tones, and the luminescence of Australian sunlight through Dolby Vision contributes to a visually striking experience that respects the source material while acknowledging its age. This release encapsulates the delicate balance between honoring Mad Max’s gritty origins and embracing the advancements in home media technology, cementing it as a definitive edition for fans and newcomers alike.

    Audio: 83

    Mad Max's 4K UHD Blu-ray audio experience, while lacking a Dolby Atmos mix, offers fans a variety of options that cater to purists and enthusiasts alike. Among these, the Australian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 remix stands out as the definitive auditory experience, providing a rich and balanced soundscape far superior to its mono counterparts. The 5.1 mix not only elevates dialogue clarity—foregrounding it amidst the dynamic intensity of the film's sonic landscape—but also effectively showcases the iconic car engines and the impactful shotgun blasts, enriching the viewing experience. On the other hand, the original Australian mono track, despite its authenticity, struggles with thinness and a lack of dynamic intensity, falling short of delivering the auditory punch needed for key scenes. The presence of an American English dub in DTS-HD MA 2.0 underscores an interesting historical footnote, one that, due to inferior mixing and a detachment from the original performances, is less a viable listening option than a curiosity.

    The 5.1 mix remarkably navigates through the limitations of its source material, achieving a sound quality that impresses with its range and fidelity, despite some minor issues with balance and occasional overshadowing by Brian May's score. Dialogue—when not caught in the crossfire of the more dominant sonic elements—remains mostly clear, and the stereo track emerges as a surprisingly adequate alternative, holding up well without drawing unnecessary attention to itself. This economical handling of sonic space extends to the efficient yet unobtrusive use of bass and treble, which, while never reaching audiophile heights, sustain the gritty atmosphere intrinsic to Mad Max's appeal.

    Technical considerations aside, the audio options presented in this release demonstrate a commendable effort to honor the film's original auditory essence while addressing historical quirks such as the controversial US dub. With optional English SDH subtitles complementing each track to ensure accessibility, the release caters to a wide range of preferences. However, it's clear that for an immersive experience true to the filmmaker’s vision—and for listeners seeking to fully appreciate the vehicular cacophony and sparse post-apocalyptic ambiance—the Australian 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the unmatched choice, offering a meticulously balanced blend of dialogue, effects, and score that significantly enhances Mad Max's raw, visceral narrative.

    Extra: 85

    Kino Lorber's presentation of the 4K UHD Blu-ray extras for "Mad Max" offers a rich compilation that serves both as a deep dive into the film’s genesis and a tribute to its impact. With exclusive content such as the "Road Rage" interview with George Miller and archival treasures including interviews with Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, and cinematographer David Eggby, the set balances fresh insights with nostalgic retrospectives. Notably, all bonus material except the commentary requires a Region A or unlocked Blu-ray player, a limitation that may frustrate international fans. Despite this, the inclusion of both new and previously released features ensures comprehensive coverage, from the technical aspects of filming to the cultural phenomenon "Mad Max" became. This blend of old and new, alongside technical insights and personal reflections, encapsulates the enduring legacy of this cinematic landmark.

    Extras included in this disc:

    Audio Commentary: Archival audio commentary featuring key crew members.

    Road Rage: A new video interview with director George Miller.

    Interviews with Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, and Cinematographer David Eggby: Archival interviews showing the cast's perspectives.

    Mel Gibson: The Birth of a Superstar: A look into Mel Gibson's rise to fame.

    Mad Max: The Film Phenomenon: Examines the impact of "Mad Max" on Australian cinema.

    Trailers From Hell: Josh Olson discusses "Mad Max" trailers.

    Radio Spots: Vintage radio advertisements for "Mad Max".

    TV Spots: Vintage television advertisements.

    Trailers: Original theatrical trailers for "Mad Max".

    Movie: 87

    George Miller's "Mad Max" soars onto 4K UHD Blu-ray, revitalizing the cult classic with a transfer that does justice to its post-apocalyptic chaos and vehicular anarchy. Set in a dystopian Australia teetering on collapse, the film showcases a future ravaged by crime, where law enforcement struggles to maintain order against roving gangs. This no-budget indie masterpiece, shot with a raw, practical aesthetic and an authentic biker gang, becomes a cinematic feat due to Miller’s ingenuity. The film, inspired by the 1970s oil crisis, paints a gritty picture of societal breakdown where gasoline becomes as precious as water. Max Rockatansky, portrayed by a young Mel Gibson, emerges as the linchpin of this chaos, a cop driven to the edge of sanity by relentless violence and loss, eventually becoming an iconic figure of vengeance.

    Among its peers, "Mad Max" distinguishes itself with an unrivaled punk spirit and a dash of nihilism. The storyline is streamlined, focusing on Max’s evolution from law enforcer to avenger, against a backdrop of explosive, stunt-driven sequences and a haunting musical score. Hugh Keays-Byrne's portrayal of the villainous Toecutter is particularly memorable, infusing the film with a palpable sense of dread. The world Miller creates is one on the brink of moral and environmental bankruptcy, mirrored in society’s fixation on gas-guzzling muscle cars amidst a decaying civilization. This bleak yet captivating universe is brought to life with astounding clarity in 4K, preserving the film’s gritty aesthetic while enhancing its visual storytelling.

    This release from Kino Lorber not only offers superior picture quality but also immerses viewers in the chaotic world Miller envisioned, complete with an augmented soundscape that underscores the film's relentless pace. The presentation is rounded out with a wealth of supplemental features including new interviews and archival material that provide insight into the making of this groundbreaking film. In offering this meticulously restored version, Kino Lorber ensures "Mad Max" remains a pertinent, incendiary exploration of societal collapse and retribution, capturing the imagination of new generations while honoring the film’s original grit and raw power.

    Total: 87

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of Mad Max by Kino Lorber heralds a monumental improvement in the film’s home viewing experience, which elevates George Miller's dystopian directorial debut to unprecedented visual fidelity. Remastered in native 4K with Dolby Vision, the film benefits from an enhanced clarity and depth, bringing to life its iconic chase sequences, stark landscapes, and gritty action like never before. Despite some debates over the color grading, which leaves room for potential improvement, this release undeniably showcases the film in its finest form to date. Accompanied by a strong suite of audio options including lossless DTS-HD MA soundtracks, this edition enriches the auditory roar of its engines and the suspenseful score that accompanies Max’s vengeful journey.

    Exclusive extras such as the new interview with George Miller add significant value, offering insights into the creative process and the enduring impact of this cult classic. While critics and fans may differ in opinion on whether this represents the ultimate version of Mad Max, it stands as the most impressive edition currently available, especially for those committed to the Ultra HD format. The inclusion of the Region A Blu-ray with old extras ensures that enthusiasts have access to a comprehensive collection of Mad Max memorabilia.

    In conclusion, Kino Lorber's release of Mad Max on 4K UHD Blu-ray is an essential acquisition for fans and cinephiles alike, presenting the film in a superior visual and audio quality that profoundly transforms the viewing experience. While there is slight contention regarding the color grading, the overall package—with its stunning 4K restoration, compelling extras, and high-caliber audio mix—makes this edition a recommended addition to any Ultra HD library, ensuring that Max’s revenge tale roars louder and more vividly than ever before.