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Breaking down the chaos of a Mad Max chase scene

Breaking down the chaos of a Mad Max chase scene

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It's good to have George Miller making movies about cannibals again.

We'll be getting a new Mad Max movie next week, nearly 30 years after Beyond Thunderdome, and I'm more excited than I've been for any movie in a long time. Bringing Max back is cool for lots of reasons — dust storms! desert punk! — but the main reason I'm excited is that George Miller is really good at directing action scenes, and it's been a long time since he was able to cut loose in one.

The best example of his style is in 1981's The Road Warrior, so we took a quick at what Miller's doing in that movie and why it works so well. The short answer: Chaos! There are tons of ways to crash a car in a George Miller movie, and most of them are at least partially accidental. That's different from the typical action-movie playbook, which relies on clear causes and effects and a good amount of physics-defying wish fulfillment. In Miller's world, however, car chases are dangerous — for everyone, good and bad — and a horrible set-on-fire-and-run-over-by-a-truck death is never far away. Maybe it's an Australian thing?