Though not as polished and fascinating as its sequel, Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior), Mad Max features some of the most impressive and intense action sequences ever filmed. The first effort from writer/director George Miller, the film is reminiscent of a low-budget road movie in the style of Roger Corman. It was Mel Gibson's second film, and his Max is a vengeful loner anti-hero out of a Western. Instead of the yet-to-be-tamed Old West, however, the setting is an eerily barren world vaguely of our own time. And the horses have been replaced by roaring, menacing cars and motorcycles. The movie's weird characters and tawdry atmosphere, though, suggest something more culty, perhaps a post-apocalyptic Japanese anime film. Unlike such mainstream sci-fi films of its day as Star Wars or Alien, Mad Max has a homespun quality. At the time of its release in the United States, Mad Max hardly made a splash, and it wasn't until Mad Max 2's release that the film was recognized in America. However, it was very popular in its native Australia and elsewhere around the world.