It's that rat circus out there, I'm beginning to enjoy it. Look, any longer out on that road
and I'm one of them, a terminal psychotic, except that I've got this bronze badge that
says that I'm one of the
The story is set in Australia in the near future. It depicts a poorly-funded police unit called the Main Force Patrol (MFP), which struggles to protect the few remaining townspeople from violent motorcycle gangs. The film paints this future as a bleak, dystopian and impoverished culture that is facing a breakdown of civil order primarily due to widespread oil shortages. The film introduces a young MFP police officer, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), who is considered the MFP's "top pursuit man".
A member of one of the biker gangs (nicknamed Nightrider) escapes from police custody by killing an officer and stealing his vehicle. Max pursues Nightrider in a high-speed chase, which results in Nightrider's death in a fiery car crash. After the dangerous chase (which results in injuries to a number of officers), the police chief warns Max that the bandits will be out for him now because of Nightrider's death.
The biker gang, which is led by Toecutter, plans to avenge Nightrider's death by killing MFP officers. Meanwhile, they intimidate people and commit crimes such as one with a civilian couple that went escaping to the road after seeing the insanity of the gang; the couple is overtaken, then both of them are raped and the car is wrecked. Then, Max and his close friend and fellow officer, Jim Goose are informed about the incident and go to the crime scene. They find Toecutter's young protegé, Johnny the Boy and the girl of the couple in the middle of the wreckage. And by following the Patrol instructions, they take them to the Halls of Justice.However instead of a trial, the judge decides to set Johnny free because no witnesses show up. Since there are no allegations to charge him, they declare no contest for that case. After hearing that, Goose is shocked because of the decision, and starts a complaint that ends in desires of revenge from both Goose and Johnny.
Some time later Johnny the Boy sets a trap for Goose while Goose is attending a show at the Sugartown Cabaret. When Goose's vehicle is flipped over, the bikers burn him alive. Goose survives, but after seeing his charred body in the hospital's burn ward, Max becomes angry and disillusioned with the police force and resigns from the MFP with no intention of returning. He takes a road trip with his wife and infant son in the relatively peaceful coastal area north of their home.
While on vacation, Max's wife, Jessie, runs into Toecutter's gang, who attempt to molest her. She escapes, but the gang manages to track her to the home where she and Max are staying. While attempting to escape from the gang again, Jessie and her son are run down by the gang who leave their crushed bodies in the middle of the road. Max arrives too late to intervene. His son is pronounced dead on the scene, while his wife suffers massive injuries.
Filled with obsessive rage, Max once again dons his police outfit and straps on his sawn-off shotgun. Driving the supercharged, black Pursuit Special, he drives out to avenge the death of his family. He hunts down and kills the gang members one by one, including the Toecutter. When Max finds Johnny the Boy taking the boots off a dead driver at the scene of a crash, he handcuffs Johnny's ankle to the wrecked, overturned vehicle with a ruptured gas tank. Max lights a crude time-delay fuse and gives Johnny a hacksaw, leaving him the choice of sawing through either the handcuffs (which will take 10 minutes) or his ankle (which will take 5 minutes), and then drives off into the desolate outback.....
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