Main Force Patrol

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The Main Force Patrol (MFP) is a fictional Australian Federal Police special task force depicted in the 1979 film Mad Max. The purpose of the MFP was to support the regular police in combating organized crime, especially savage, motorized criminal biker gangs and marauding punks, and act as a highway patrol on the Transcontinental Highways.[1]

History of the MFP[edit]

A replica Mad Max Main Force Patrol Pursuit Special vehicle

After uprisings due to energy shortages which destabilized the country, biker gangs and punks began to terrorize the townspeople in the Australian Outback and looting fuel trucks and scavenging the villages. The crumbling remnants of the government created a small, underfunded group of special highway patrol officers to try to restore order to the outback highways, called the Main Force Patrol. The MFP's "top pursuit man" is young Max Rockatansky, a highly skilled driver, and drives one of two Pursuit Special vehicles owned by the MFP. At the start of Mad Max we see him driving a yellow (1975 XB Ford Falcon) Interceptor, more powerful and in better condition than the other Interceptors.

However, it is quite evident throughout Mad Max, that the MFP is poorly funded and run down. Captain "Fifi" McAfee is worried that Rockatansky wants to retire from the force, and so tempts him to stay with the MFP (by desperately begging for funds from Police Commissioner Labatouche) by having a special supercharged, 600 horsepower black "Pursuit Special" (A much modified Ford Falcon XB Coupe GT351) built for him, in order to "seduce him with candy", words by Labatouche.

The typical uniform of the MFP is all black leather. Civilian slang for MFP officers is "Bronze", due to the bronze badges they wear, and gangs often use that term to refer to a cop. A memorandum overheard in the Halls of Justice actively discourages this nickname, suggesting "Bronze" is considered a pejorative term. The Pursuit Specials are all black and with police lights on the dashboard with the small MFP logo on the side, while the Pursuit Interceptors are all painted yellow with dark blue and red stripes with double lights on the top, and all of them are equipped with high tech radio on the cabin roof.

The MFP operate out of a dilapidated complex of buildings known as the Halls of Justice, and their practices and methods appear to be mostly unorthodox, although this may simply be a symptom of the decay of society, law, and morality as a whole, since there are no laws to prosecute them and so are allowed to operate on a much more unorthodox and amoral (by current standards) level. At one point, following the mauling of an officer, McAfee tells the others that: "So long as the paperwork's clean, you boys can do what you like out there.", noting that they have the power to personally terminate the criminals and the biker gangs as long as the MFP personnel will not face consequences if it is discovered. This possibly explains why the MFP do not pursue Max after he goes on his vengeful rampage, to let him destroy the gang for their own good; although a radio channel informs that a rogue officer has taken the Pursuit Special without authorization.

Vehicles of MFP[edit]

MFP uses a variety of vehicles to combat the motorcycle gangs along the Outback. Units serve either as stationary on a vantage spot and are required to be placed there as a possible backup, or they serve to roam across the roads as patrol. The MFP also has motorcycle units, although Goose is the only one seen as a motorcycle driver for the MFP. MFP also has utility trucks, such as crane trucks and etc. that are used as a help to clear out the possible crashed cars, debris, area damage, etc. Every unit has a unique name.

MFP has three kinds of vehicles:

Original Mad Max Interceptor now residing in Massachusetts, USA.
  • Pursuits and Interceptors - Pursuits are used mostly as patrols and pursuit cars. They are fitted with inline six-cylinder engines, and mostly consist of early 70's Falcon XA's and Falcon XB's. They have a yellow-over-red-over-blue color scheme with two blue emergency lights and a siren placed on the roof. They have wide body kits for bumping other vehicles. They are fitted with a dispatcher radio fitted on the cockpit roof and a large speaker. Three units have been seen in the film:
    • Big Bopper, (MFP 08 marked PURSUIT)[2] driven by Roop and Charlie,[3]
    • The March Hare, (unk MFP # marked INTERCEPTOR)[4][5] driven by Sarse and Scuttle,[6] and
    • Max's own vehicle MFP 508.[7] Since Max is a top driver in the force, he drives a relatively new "Interceptor" with equipment and the car itself in the most pristine condition, and he can be seen tinkering it while listening to the police chase. Max's Interceptor is yellow-over-red-over-blue with two large (one red and blue) emergency lights and a siren placed on the roof.
Replica of the Pursuit Special as it appeared in Mad Max
  • Pursuit Special - Pursuit Specials are special vehicles used by the MFP as a method to catch more dangerous motorcycle gangs or individuals. They are very different from the Interceptors; they are black, fitted with high performance V8 engines with superchargers and drive on methane, and the emergency light is rather small and placed on the dashboard to prevent detection. There have been only two Pursuit Specials seen in the film;
    • first one is a 1971 Holden Monaro,[8] stolen by Nightrider, which has been very rusty and in a state of decay, probably the result of frequent use, and it's unknown who used it since Max had an Interceptor.
    • Second Pursuit Special has been an icon of the series; a 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT351 fitted with a 600-hp V8 engine and a Weiand 6/71 Supercharger ("blower") specifically built for Max.[9]
  • Motorcycle Interceptor - A motorcycle unit seen in the film, used as a backup. Jim Goose is a skilled motorcycle rider and a top motorcycle driver in the MFP, although no other MFP motorcycles or motorcycle police officers have been seen or mentioned in the film. Goose uses a 1972 Kawasaki Kz1000, painted silver with the MFP lettering on the windshield. The motorcycle has been destroyed by the motorcycle gang after it was sabotaged, forcing Jim to haul it in a borrowed ute. After the ute was forced out the road and burned, the motorcycle has been destroyed as well.
  • Additional vehicles - MFP also has additional pick-up trucks and utility vans, mostly crane trucks, which are used to haul damaged or destroyed vehicles into the Halls of Justice after a police pursuit or/and clean up the remains of a police chase (crashed cars, car debris, smashed property, area damage, etc.)

Halls of Justice[edit]

The Halls of Justice are a group of dilapidated buildings from which the MFP personnel operate. The buildings are rusty, in state of decay, the letters on the entrance are all faded, due to the underfunding of the MFP. It is implied that, since the MFP became disbanded, the Halls of Justice have been disbanded, and the equipment (guns and ammunition) have been possibly looted and the Interceptors were stolen, or looted for fuel and scrapped for car parts by the nomad gangs (since some of the police cars can be seen in the second installment).

The buildings are seen only in the first film. Several buildings exist for the MFP personnel and have variety of uses for the MFP officers. The complex is vast, placed in the wasteland outside populated are, and includes:

  • A underground garage, which also serves as a mechanic shop. It is used to store and repair MFP Pursuit Interceptors and Pursuit Specials. It is counted that MFP has only around 10-15 Pursuit Interceptors and 2 Pursuit Specials (one was stolen by Max, another one destroyed in a police chase), and Fifi stores his personal car in here. It has connected speakers in it for a radio dispatcher. Barry the mechanic works in here.
  • A courtyard, also a parking lot. It is used for vehicles to access the underground garage and to access the buildings around it. It is also used as a temporary junkyard for abandoned road cars, since a car that was demolished by a street gang was placed in temporary storage by the MFP and was probably used to scrap engine parts.
  • Several offices on floors. It is used for dispatchers and also has a recreational room for police officers who are not currently on active duty or not currently stationed as road patrols. It is very likely that the female radio dispatcher that is heard in the film also works there.
  • Prison cells. They also include high-tensile steel shackles for dangerous prisoners, although Johnny the Boy was the only prisoner seen in the first film, since there have been no other criminals seen or mentioned, and he was only shackled and watched by Goose and Charlie, and was not in a cell.
  • Courtroom. Since there are no special courtrooms issued and operated by the government (probably disbanded by that time), the Halls of Justice has their own courtroom to prosecute criminals as soon as they arrive at the Halls.
  • Fifi's personal office. It is implied that he also lives in his office since a bunk bed can be seen. He has a radio dispatcher so he could hear the current locations and events of the police units and also in the complex, and also has a loudspeaker so he could inform the officers. He also has a gramophone in it with army records and keeps a pet bird inside.
  • Barracks. It was never shown in the film, but it is possible that this is used as a permanent home for many of the MFP personnel who are on full duty or working on night shifts. Since Max has his own remote farm and usually works day shifts, he probably has no use of it. Goose also doesn't use it since he works a day shift and lives in his apartment.

Future of MFP[edit]

The future of the Main Force Patrol has been questioned and uncertain ever since the ending of the first film. The MFP has been portrayed as underfunded, terribly organized and having little number of officers and units. With this, it is considered that the downfall of MFP was very evident during the film and that the MFP disbanded as early as before the second and third installment. However, it still has been uncertain since nothing has been confirmed, and MFP has been only very rarely mentioned in the second film, and the third film had no mention of MFP at all, only very loosely when Max noted that he used to be a cop.

In Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, we learn a backstory the original film did not explain. In the prologue, a narrator tells us that the world has "crumbled and...the cities have exploded" in a "whirlwind of looting and a firestorm of fear, in which men began to feed on men". Some of Lord Humungus' gang raiders appear to be wearing worn-out MFP uniforms and a former MFP police car was shown albeit in a different color scheme, suggesting that, after the fall of law and order, the police officers formally sworn to uphold the law have themselves become lawless. Though it is never mentioned and only loosely implied by the breakdown in society, the lack of any technology, it brings to mind that a limited "nuclear" exchange between the "two mighty warrior tribes" as described by the narrator at the beginning of the movie may have occurred. This is later confirmed in Mad Max 3 when the "children" refer to the "poxyclipse". It is also questioning does MFP even exists in 5 years from now, since the war, but it is mostly implied that the MFP has been disbanded.

In Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome, which takes place 20 years since Max was in the MFP (given Max's even more weathered and torn uniform), the MFP are not even mentioned, or even known to have ever existed by the residents of Bartertown. This suggests that the MFP do not exist for possibly more than a decade and that law & order has completely disappeared from the Outback by this time. When asked who he was before the nuclear war, Max merely replies he "was a cop", to much surprise from others, suggesting that there is no former lawmen alive, confirming that MFP has been long forgotten by that time.

In Mad Max 4: Fury Road, which takes place soon after the original and before the second installment, it is questioning will MFP still exist, since it's unknown if it takes place right after Max leaves the force, or right before the start of the second installment. It is possible that it has disbanded soon after Max left with the loss of funds and officers.

Known MFP personnel[edit]

  • Sgt. Max Rockatansky. He is the top pursuit officer in the force and is an incredibly gifted driver, which earned him his nickname of "Mad Max". At the start of the film he drives a rather well cared-for Pursuit Interceptor, but later takes the powerful Pursuit Special, which was apparently built for the sole purpose of Max driving it. This was apparently due to the fact that Max was considering retirement in order to spend more time with his wife and son, whom he lives with on his farm near the coast. Max suffers from a seemingly long-developing taste for violence, caused by the degradation of the society he is exposed to. He fears that prolonged exposure to this life will cause him to become just like the ones he fights against. The death of his best friend Goose prompts him to take a temporary leave, but on his trip, he runs afoul of the same biker gang that killed Goose, and they kill his wife and son. This pushes Max over the edge, and he steals the custom Pursuit Special and uses it to hunt down and kill the gang.
  • Ct. Fifi MacAffee. He is the chief of the station in which Max is placed, and he holds the role of a Captain. He is very proud of Max and his work, and wishes to keep him in the force. He believes that the Main Force Patrol is the future of fighting against organized crime and the motorcycle gangs and wishes to keep it funded and empower it, and such enlists the help of Labatouche to bribe Max with a new Pursuit Special to keep him in the force. He was described as a man who "wants to give [world] back their heroes", on behalf by Commissioner Labatouche. He has a flamboyant life, has a pet bird and enjoys watering plants and listening to old army records on his gramophone, and also is always seen smoking a cigar. It is implied that he is homosexual.
  • Commissioner Labatouche. He is a civil servant charged in supervising the operating of MFP, but he is unsatisfied with the work of it. This is due with the MFP being unorganized and underfunded, since Labatouche cannot get enough funds to strength the power of MFP. He also spends a great deal of money for a Pursuit Special to keep Max in the force as a favor to MacAffee. He is also a very neurotic and cynical person, and enjoys fencing, wearing a fencing helmet and a sword for his hobbies constantly.
  • Jim Goose. He is Max's close friend since childhood, and he is the top motorcycle rider, but he had his own bike for driving. He is a rather sarcastic person and an optimist, and joined Max together in the MFP. He also has a vivid and a wild sense of humour, and enjoys nightlife. At the start of the film, he injured his leg after being knocked off his motorcycle into a ute after he had to brake to avoid collision. He was placed temporarily on road patrol with Max. After he came into conflict with a nomad biker gang, his bike was sabotaged and crashed. He was forced to borrow a pick-up truck to haul it home, and the bikers ambushed him. They knocked the pick-up truck off the road, and set it on fire, horrifically disfiguring him with burns. It is implied he dies from the burns, but it is not shown, though all the characters seem to be fully aware he has no chance of survival.
  • Roop. He is a pursuit officer in the force. He is a very aggressive and a big officer, loves a thrill of a chase, and will do whatever it takes to have the criminals away from the streets, devoted to a life to combat crime, and he rides shotgun in The Big Bopper, the name for his squad car, with Charlie. This is shown when he totaled his squad car, but kept on going even with the car badly damaged and against all odds until he finally crushed it after driving it into a camper-trailer. He also uses a lot of profanity and is a difficult person, and it is possible that he has been a victim of bullying in his childhood, which is why he joined MFP.
  • Charlie. He is a pursuit officer in the force and he is Roop's partner, and they operate The Big Bopper, the name for their unit. He was assigned as the driver, even though Roop doesn't let him drive, forcing him out of the seat when he spun the vehicle out of control from the road. He is impiled to be a devoted religious person, wearing a cross over his neck, criticizing Roop's profanity and blasphemy and noting that he "doesn't have to work with a blasphemer". After a fiery crash, his throat was cut, forcing him to use a electrolarynx from the point further.
  • Sarse. He is a pursuit officer and Scuttle's partner, and he rides shotgun in The March Hare, the name for their unit. He calls for backup help of Roop and Charlie while Scuttle drives. He is shown to have a lot of experience and also has a band aid on his head, possible injury during serving in the force.
  • Scuttle. He is a pursuit officer and Sarse's partner, and the designated driver of The March Hare, the name for their unit. He has only one line in the film and little is known about him.
  • Barry. He is a mechanic working for the MFP and he is placed in the Halls of Justice. He is in charge of repairing MFP vehicles and keeping them operated. He also upgraded the Pursuit Special that he was given with pieces he bought from various junkyards and mechanics to build it. He stutters and is implied to have a low degree of intelligence or possible mental retardation.
  • Unidentified police officer. It was mentioned in the beginning in the film that a "young probie" was murdered in the station when a criminal broke out of prison and stole the Pursuit Special. He was said to be a rookie cadet. The term "young probie" applies to the meaning that he was probably on probation and not having a full-time job.
  • Unidentified female radio dispatcher. She was never seen on-screen, but she can be frequently heard during the film on radio dispatchers in police cars and also on the chatter set in the MFP building, giving orders, issuing memorandums and informing MFP of Max's going rogue when he took the Pursuit Special.

See also[edit]