In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, an ex-cop named Max helps a group of people escape from bandits who want to steal their gasoline.
Mad Max: The Road Warrior (1981)
Directed by George Miller
Written by Terry Hayes, George Miller, Brian Hannant
Starring Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston, Vernon Wells, Kjell Nilsson, Emil Minty, Virginia Hey, William Zappa
Sequel to 1979's Mad Max
The world we were introduced to in the first film has now become a wasteland. Society has fallen, government is gone, and the world is populated by roving gangs looking to prey on the weak. An opening monologue details the downfall of humanity to bring us to the present the film occupies. War and government’s inaction have lead to the collapse of the world we knew. Gone is law and order, now it is kill or be killed.
Max (Gibson) is still on the open road, living the way everyone else does: scavenging for anything and everything, including gas. He comes upon a guy known as Gyro Captain (Spence) who initially tries to kill Max with a venomous snake he uses as a security device while he hides in the sand. There is no trust in this world, you take what you need and ask questions later or not at all. When Max proves himself more than capable of taking the Captain out, he informs Max of a settlement where the people there have a huge tanker full of gas and the two set out for a reconnaissance mission. The people are lead by Papagallo (Preston) who is holding this small plot of land against a gang of bandits led by the muscle-bound psycho in a mask known as Lord Humungus (Nilsson). They, too, are looking for some of the precious fuel and have delivered an ultimatum to the group: walk away and live or stay and die. This scene has become infamous and parodied by South Park in an episode to give you an idea on how far this film has dug in to film culture. Humungus has given them 24 hours to decide their fate and Max has a plan to give everyone what they want. One of the more colorful characters in this movie is the Feral Kid (Minty) who has one of the most Australian weapons that you could ever hope to see in an apocalyptic wasteland: a razor sharp, steel boomerang! This chain of events culminates in another highway showdown with motorcycles, guns, crossbows, and an 18-wheeler hauling ass with Max in the driver’s seat. It’s a post-apocalyptic train robbery with a badass behind the wheel. Humungus is hell-bent on taking the tanker but it doesn’t end well for him as he explodes on the front end of the truck! Somehow, Max survives the wreck as the rest of Humungus’s crew scatter into the wasteland while the rest of the settlement ride off in search of a new home with a bus full of gas.
We are left to wonder what happens to Max as he is destined to wander the road, forever. He is a man without a home, without a family, and only looking out for himself but always willing to help those in need. This sequel brings the world further away from the familiar and into the realm of leather daddies and muscle-bound maniacs that have become hallmarks of this franchise. Where does Max go from here? What lays in wait in the wastelands? There’s only one place Max could end up next: The Thunderdome!
Now that's what I'm talking about! The Road Warrior is a badass, post-apocalyptic action flick starring a young pre-anti-Semite Mel Gibson. The stunts are fantastic, the story is interesting, and the supporting cast is enjoyable to watch.
The Road Warrior had everything I felt was missing from the first film, which I was disappointed with. I thought that the first Mad Max was the dystopian future bloodbath that this one turned out to be. Thankfully, this film improved on the original, delivering some truly amazing stunts that looked nearly impossible to accomplish.
Overall, The Road Warrior was an awesome action romp through the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland. With each addition to this franchise, George Miller's vision just keeps getting more exciting and I think it's safe to say The Road Warrior is his best one.
Talk about a sequel that vastly improves on the first film in every conceivable way. Mad Max: The Road Warrior takes all the elements which worked in the previous film and cranks it up. Mel Gibson perfectly embodies the character, the action scenes are more insane, and the post-apocalyptic wasteland is one of the most realized in film. George Miller outdoes himself with this one, creating not just an excellent sequel, but a classic action film.
The Road Warrior takes place during the post-apocalypse, the signature setting of the franchise. George Miller does an excellent job with this as every ounce of the setting is fully realized. From how the world went to crap, to characters viciously seeking out every last ounce of oil they can get; every detail is covered. It truly is an iconic setting for this franchise. Mel Gibson takes his already great performance from the previous film and furthers it here. He is perfect as the character of Max, a man who lets his actions speak for him. Lord Humongous also proves to be one of the series greatest villains, as he can be quite intimidating. Praise also has to go towards the action scenes, as they are truly a sight to behold. George Miller really ups the ante from the previous film, creating one of cinema's more memorable chase scenes.
The Road Warrior is one of those rare sequels that far outshines the first film. It's a film that's astoundingly more sure of itself and has gone on to be considered one of the best action films of all time. I can definitely see why, as I highly enjoyed my time in the wasteland.