IF. 1979 Mad Max It’s about what Australia will look like after that. A chain reactionReleased the following year, it featured a small group of people trying to stop a massive, man-made disaster.
Both films share more than the same themes. For starters, Mad Max Director George Miller was one of them. A chain reactionProduced and directed the car chase scenes. Production is also loaded. at most Actors We have Steve ‘The Goose’ Bisley, Hugh ‘The Doctor’ Keysburn, Roger ‘Fiffy’ Ward, Tim ‘Johnny the Boy’ Burns, David ‘Midguts’ Bracks and an uncredited Mel Gibson in a mesh t-shirt among others. Among the mentioned persons are included. Full frontKim Gangle as the lachorous airbrush artist Krabs and muse Frankie J. Holden as the best-named Farts.
And like Mad Max, A chain reaction drew on the modified car scene of the day – the first example of which was Chris Cummings’ stunning glimpse of one of the most iconic panel vans of the ’70s, the turbo 202-powered Midsummer Dream II HQ. But the film’s hero car is a Stepside Holden one-tuner, several of which were built for the film by John Clifton of Custom Image and Invader 2001 fame (and at least one survives to this day). We never get to see under the bonnet, but it has a stick shift, a serious stereo system and a very annoying alarm.
Bisley plays hot-up shop owner and part-time race driver Larry Stilson, a bloke as flash and brash as his tuner. Larry and his wife Carmel (Winchester) head to the Krabs’ cabin in the fictional Paradise Valley for a dirty weekend, but are interrupted by amnesiac engineer Heinrich Schmidt (Thompson). Injured in a catastrophic industrial accident, Heinrich is on the run from his horrified employers at WALDO – the Western Atomic Long-Term Dumping Organization – and is desperate to blow the whistle before millions are killed.
Larry is initially unsympathetic to Henrik’s plight: “This guy shows up in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of nowhere, in the front row outside of a grand final scrum and they don’t tell us. What’s the score!”
However, it soon becomes apparent that the forces of law and order have been selected by WALDO and that Larry, Carmel and Heinrich are fighting for their lives.
Assisting the trio is an unrecognizable Hugh Keys-Byrne, who plays a pigeon-loving environmentalist.
The villains include a pair of classy, suit-wearing hitmen: the sadistic Gray (Cottrell) and his deaf sidekick, Otis (Patrick Ward). They arrive in the city in a Hercules with everything they need to keep Heinrich, including a small army and a P5 Ford LTD.
Viewers are treated to two extended chase scenes on dirt roads that push Larry’s tuner to the limit – apparently the stock LTD has no problem keeping up. It would have been nice if they popped the LTD’s bonnet to reveal a twin-turbo setup, the Mercedes 450SEL 6.9 used in David Lynch. The Lost Highway. We can dream.
The theme of individuals sacrificing themselves for the greater good resonates especially well in 2020, but it’s a nostalgia trip. A chain reaction A great watch today starting with George Miller’s chase scenes. And it’s a rare treat to see classic ’70s street machines documented on screen. Busley’s larrikin star power is as reliable as ever, and he and Winchester offer a cracking but very Australian chemistry as Mr and Mrs Stilson. While the film is available on Amazon Prime, it’s worth ordering the DVD or Blu-ray for the extra features, including making-of and interviews with the cast and crew.
- Holden One Tuner Stepside
- HQ Holden panel van
- Cf Bedford
- Ford P5 LTD
- HK Belmont Wagon
- 1978 Chrysler Sigma Wagon
- 1980 Land Cruiser
- Steve Bisley
- Irna Maria Winchester
- Ross Thompson
- Hugh Keysburn
- Lorna Leslie
- Richard Moyer
- Patrick Ward
- Lori Moran
- Tim Burns
- Mel Gibson
- Ralph Cottrell
- Michael Long
- Bill McCluskey
- Margo Lloyd
- Kim Gangl
- Frankie J. Holden
- Roger Ward
Director: Ian Barry
the process: An overheated stepside Holden One Tonner is chased down dirt roads by an irresponsibly fast P5 LTD.
Plot: A scientist at a nuclear waste facility trying to blow the whistle on a radiation leak stumbles between a husband and wife on vacation.
available: DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Prime
Cool Flick Fact:
The legendary Midsummer Dream panel van makes a brief appearance in the film, fresh from a rebuild that includes an Innervisions-style front end and XB GS bonnet scopes.