August 9, 2013

Friday Fight: Max Rockatansky vs. Martin Riggs

With Mel Gibson about to make his big screen comeback in Machete Kills & The Expendables 3, I thought it would be a good time for this Friday Fight to be between his two most popular characters (apart from William Wallace).

Both still stand up as icons and they both have a successful series of movies, but who is the cooler character?



Max Rockatansky: The Mad Max Trilogy

Max Rockatansky is one of the most iconic action movie characters of all time and is arguably Mel Gibson’s most popular character. He’s a man of few words, haunted by the death of his family in a post apocalyptic world. The three (so far) Mad Max movies are few on laughs but have plenty of wicked car action and it’s difficult to picture anyone other than Gibson in the role. Tom Hardy will be playing the character in Mad Max: Fury Road in a few months but it will be difficult for him taking over this role, despite being a great actor.

Max is a ruthless character and if anyone wrongs him it doesn’t end well for them, but he doesn’t start off that way. He’s a good cop but when his family is killed he is pushed over the edge and as the story progresses he loses some of his humanity. Rather than finding himself again (like Riggs) he descends into vigilantism and becomes a complete badass… until the third movie where kids redeem him *sigh*.

As great as Gibson and the car action is in these movies, I’m actually not a huge fan of the trilogy. I find them rather boring in places and part 3 is just bizarre, especially all the crap with the kids. I can appreciate their influence on movies though as pretty much every post apocalyptic actioner has the same look and feel as Mad Max.

Martin Riggs: The Lethal Weapon Saga

Before the Lethal Weapon series essentially turned into a parody of itself, the first film had Riggs as a genuinely conflicted hero. Grieving for the loss of his wife, he is suicidal and courts death.

Gibson is perfect in this role as he gives a manic personality, his eyes filled with rage but when he’s with his new partner Roger Murtaugh, he begins to find a reason for living again. Riggs disobeys rules and procedures but in his heart he is a good guy and an even better cop.

In the director’s cut we actually get the best scene of the movie where Riggs single-handedly takes out a sniper with a cigarette hanging from his mouth. He’s one of the few characters who is cool, crazy and likable all at the same time.


As blasphemous as this may be but I have to say that I prefer Martin Riggs, simply because I prefer the Lethal Weapon movies to the Mad Max movies. Riggs is just too cool for school and his banter with Murtaugh is the stuff of action movie lore. Max is arguably the more influential character but in terms of sheer likability it’s Riggs all the way, baby.

About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel

I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it’s a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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