MAD MAX Sans Mel?

The Mad Max series of films have always been a favorite of mine, although it's hard to categorize them into a specific genre as the basic premise is sci-fi but the car crashing setpieces have always pushed them squarely out of the anthropoligical examination of a world in chaos and firmly into the action adventure realm of long-gone drive-in cinema. Part of that juxtaposition was derived from the prevalent muscle-car culture of Australia at that time and the fact that director George Miller (who recently won a much-deserved Oscar for HAPPY FEET -- so there, I said it!), long before he was a movie director, used to be a doctor working in a hospital that saw tons of mangled crash victims being wheeled around the corridors. Which is probably why the stunts in the Mad Max series are so compellingly painful to look at. Dr. Miller knows what hurts and he knows how to communicate that primal pain to an audience. So it is with a mixture of trepidation and anticipation that I reveal that Dr. Miller has announced the long-awaited Mad Max 4 in an Aussie newspaper the other day. Sans Mad Max's Mel Gibson, unfortunatley. Although to his credit, Dr. Miller is right that Gibson is probably a bit long in the tooth to be leaping from car to truck with any kind of cinematic believability. (Has anyone spoken to Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford lately about this as concerns their new Indiana Jones flick? If not, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but....!)