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The Chain Reaction (1980)

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An earthquake in rural Australia causes a dangerous leak at WALDO, a nuclear waste storage facility. Heinrich Schmidt, an engineer badly hurt in the accident, knows that the leak will ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Larry
Arna-Maria Winchester ...
Carmel
Ross Thompson ...
Heinrich
Ralph Cotterill ...
Gray
...
Eagle
Lorna Lesley ...
Gloria
Richard Moir ...
Jr. Const. Pigott
Patrick Ward ...
Oates
Laurie Moran ...
Police Sgt. McSweeney
Michael Long ...
Doctor
Bill McCluskey ...
Ralph
Margo Lloyd ...
Molly
Tim Burns ...
Survey driver
Arthur Sherman ...
Byron Langley
Barry Donnelly ...
Gateman
Edit

Storyline

An earthquake in rural Australia causes a dangerous leak at WALDO, a nuclear waste storage facility. Heinrich Schmidt, an engineer badly hurt in the accident, knows that the leak will poison the groundwater for hundreds of miles around, and wants to warn the public. His boss, however, is only interested in protecting himself, and believes the accident should be covered up, even at the expense of thousands of lives. Heinrich escapes from the facility, but is too badly injured to get very far. Lost in the woods and suffering from amnesia, he is rescued by Larry, an auto mechanic on vacation with his wife, Carmel. As Heinrich tries to piece together his memories of what happened, his boss' thugs are quickly closing in on the trio. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mad Max meets The China Syndrome See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 September 1980 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Nuclear Run  »

Box Office

Budget:

AUD 450,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer David Elfick once said of director George Miller's involvement on this picture: "I wanted his expertise in the action car-chase sequences. These were areas in which Ian [Ian Barry] and I had no experience. His career had really taken off by then, so his time was limited". See more »

Goofs

When Larry runs over a Pluto's Man, the man is seen rolling off the windscreen into the back trailer of the Ute, but when the camera cuts to the inside of the Ute, the camera has a clear view of the back of the Ute, and no one is there, but in the next shot when he reaches for Carmel, he is on the roof of the Ute. It's not possible to get on top of the Ute from the trailer in that span of time, especially at the high speeds that Larry was traveling throughout the car chase. See more »

Quotes

Eagle: Listen, WALDO isn't exactly human. WALDO is a multinational corporation, working the ass-end of the nuclear cycle. Professor Heinrich and I once conjected the possibility of a high-level nuclear excursion, thats a link! Now, last night, he reversed charged a call from here, and he was cut-off before I could get the details, but it was quite obvious that he was in BIG TROUBLE!
Larry: Do me a favor mate, I've got enough trouble of my own!
Eagle: [Points outside to plane flying over] Thats trouble laddy! And ...
See more »

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Featured in Ozploitation Trailer Explosion (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Terrific 'Mad Max' (Sort-Of) Prequel
10 July 2008 | by (Madison WI) – See all my reviews

'The Chain Reaction' was made by many of the same actors and crew who made the first - and best - 'Mad Max' movie. Although the IMDb credits don't share too many names, the style, photography and direction are so uncannily similar, that George Miller must've been more involved with 'The Chain Reaction' than just as co-producer. The two films are practically twins. Even the car-chase scenes are alike, which is good.

The plot could easily serve as a prequel to Mad Max; an accident at an Austrailian nuke disposal site out in the boonies results in catastrophic radiation leakage which will poison the area's water table. The evil corporation that owns the disposal site is trying to hush up the accident by sealing off the area, but some eco-activists have been in contact with one of the scientists at the site, and they find out about it. The scientist took a huge dose of plutonium during the accident and only has 3 days to live, but hotheaded motorhead dude Larry (played by Steve Bisley - 'The Goose' in 'Mad Max') and his wife get tangled up in the unfolding crisis...

Many of the local inhabitants appearing in 'The Chain Reaction' also played similar characters in 'Mad Max'. They don't necessarily play the exact same parts, but it is not a stretch to imagine that after the nuclear catastrophe has devastated their environment, they all evolved into the desperate characters of 'Mad Max'.

It appears (to me anyway) that 'The Chain Reaction' was filmed first, since one of the characters seems to say "It's 1977, mate...", but I'm not quite sure about this. The haircuts and clothes are definitely mid-70's, (flared jeans etc) while Mad Max has a later, more punkish late-70's look.


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