Monday, May 11, 2015

Movie Review: "Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior" (1981)

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Movie"Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior"
Director: George Miller
Year: 1981
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 52 minutes

Since exacting revenge on those who killed his family, Max (Mel Gibson) has been surviving in the wastelands of a post-apocalyptic Australia. The wasteland is filled with violent sadistic gangs who kill each other for fuel. Max also needs gas for his interceptor. Upon taking a gyrocopter pilot (Bruce Spence) prisoner, this man tells Max of a place that is actually pumping and refining oil. Max seeks the place out and finds the fort under constant attack by The Humungus (Kjell Nilsson) and his gang. Max makes a deal with those in the fort to find them a way out in exchange for some fuel for his interceptor.  

Due to the cult success of the micro-budget film "Mad Max," director George Miller was able to make the low budget sequel "The Road Warrior," which opened to even more success. Max, played again by newcomer Mel Gibson, left the cities at the end of Mad Max and headed into the vast, expansive wasteland of the former outback, where he has been doing little more than surviving in this dog-eat-dog area of Australia. Max really doesn't speak much, only uttering 16 lines in the entire film. Instead, his character is shown through actions and body language, as well as through facial expressions. An energy crisis has driven the world into armageddon. Those left living battle over fuel to power their vehicles, which gives them a competitive advantage in the search for food, water and in combat. The gang of bandits look like an outlaw leather clad S&M biker gang that are really into desert sports. Their leader is played by Kjell Nilsson and is called The Humungus because he's a huge, muscle-bound man dawning a hockey style mask much like Friday the 13th's Jason would look if Jason were really into the leather scene. Though The Humungus is the leader of their clan, one of the main antagonists is Wez, played by Vernon Wells. Wez has his own memorable style with a red mohawk, shoulder pads, and his presumable personal male sex slave on a chain. The other two most notable characters are the Feral Kid, played by Emil Minty with his bladed boomerang and snorting demeanor, and Bruce Spence's The Gyro Captain, who offers some of the film's more humorous moments.

The post apocalyptic look of "The Road Warrior" has become iconic and has been parodied in comedies like "Weird Science," "South Park," and even as recently as this year, the Spongebob movie "Sponge Out of Water." It is really this memorable style that has made this film stand the test of time. The plot, much like its predecessor, is about as simplistic as it gets and it's almost primal. It's essentially two tribes warring over access to one of the biggest known oil supplies available in a future where oil is less than scarce. Hmmmmm, sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it? Max really doesn't want to be part of either tribe and operates almost as a mercenary. He sides with the group that will pay in fuel, and luckily for him, they are the group with high ideals about the future and reforming society. The bandits just want to destroy and feed on the anarchy, which is how we personally envision the world would look if the same thing that happened in this movie happened in real life. Everything in this sequel is ramped up from the first movie. There are more cars, more action (which is hard to imagine since there was so much in the original, but boy, they sure do it), more violence, more carnal, primal instincts, and bigger, larger explosions. The finale of the film is a long, massive car chase down a desert road while Max tries to drive a tanker of fuel to safety, all while under attack by Humungus and his gang of heathens. It is a high adrenaline scene with some fantastic action which leads to some crazy large crashes and even some jaw-dropping moments, too. It's hard to imagine how some of the stuntmen didn't die while making "The Road Warrior," especially when you see one individual spiraling through the air after getting launched off his bike. Talk about insane!! In the end, this movie is absolutely a worthy sequel and might even be better than the original, but only by a hair. The Mad Max franchise is one every movie lover must see at least once, if only for a look into how our dismal, oil-less future may look if we're not careful.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB Rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%
Do we recommend the movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!


  1. Definitely way better than the 1st film. I'd like to see a movie about the what happened in between the 1st and the second film.

  2. This one is definitely the best of the 3. "Fury Road" is also extremely good, I wonder if it has replaced this as my new favorite!