Mad Max V8 Interceptor
Mad Max is set in a violent dystopia in a post-apocalyptic Australia after a nuclear war, in which the weirdly-named protagonist, Max Rockatansky, is a cop attempting to maintain order amidst the general chaos. Max Rockatansky is traumatized by the violent murder of his wife, child and best friend; and is thereby motivated to Wreak a Horrible Revenge on the guilty parties—or anybody who gets in his way. Before the apocalypse, Max was the top patrol officer out of all of Australia’s Main Force Patrol police service: never failing to keep the highways of Northern and Western Australia safe from the road gangs that literally owned the Eastern and Southern portions of Australia down to the last inch, due to the government collapse during the resource crisis in the early 1970’s which in Mad Max’s universe continued well into the 80’s and eventually would lead to World War 3.
Although the police no longer exist, Max fulfils a similar function in Mad Max 2 and Beyond Thunderdome, highway patrol replaced by Wasteland traversal as he protects the weak from death and slavery at the hands of the marauders.
In “Road Warrior,” he has left the force after the death of his wife and son at the hands of one of the gangs. Gasoline is central to the film, as townspeople struggle with bikers for control of the last remaining oil refinery in Australia. It comes as no surprise that, with Max’s help, the townspeople manage to escape to the northern coast, carrying with them a supply of fuel and leaving behind a booby-trapped facility that will never again produce any gasoline.
Mad Max’s power as a protagonist comes not from scoring knockouts, but in his ability to take a punch, repeatedly, and in a variety of venues: Max Rocketansky is a man you can torture, torment and very nearly kill, but he keeps coming back.
The character Max Rockatansky transitioned from able-bodied masculinity in the first film to a limping, maddened road warrior in The Road Warrior and, by Fury Road, to a man haunted by guilt and hallucinations, often presenting as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but rediscovering himself and his humanity.