In a post-apocalyptic world, a community bands together with the help of a lone man to protect their precious gasoline cache from a group of wasteland marauders in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.
Max (Mel Gibson) lives in a post-apocalyptic world where gasoline is the most valuable commodity. He drives around the wastelands of Australia with his dog in a modified black car. After dealing with a group of marauders led by a thug named Wez (Vernon Wells), Max stumbles upon an autogyro, booby-trapped by its owner (Bruce Spence). In exchange for his life, the gyro captain tells Max of an oil refinery nearby protected by a group of people. After investigating, they discover the settlers have been terrorized by the marauders and their leader, The Humungus (Kjell Nilsson). Max is taken in by the settles and helps them find a tanker large enough to get their precious oil away from the hands of The Humungus.
Marketed in the U.S. as simply “The Road Warrior“, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is a rare sequel that is a continuation of the first film but requires no knowledge of the plot. In The Road Warrior, Max is alone. His family is gone. His outfit tells a story of what happened to him in the first film, but other than a few flashes of those events in the intro scene, he is mysterious. Honestly, it works well as a stand-alone movie, you would never know it was a sequel.
One may be quick to dismiss The Road Warrior as just an 80s action movie, and it is, but it’s also actually extremely well crafted. There is very little dialog, Max himself only has a few lines, but there is no question as to what is happening in the film. We are quickly introduced to all the characters, their dilemma, and eventually the plan to save them from the gang. The entire finale of The Road Warrior, some 30 minutes, is entirely chase scene. I was practically breaking out in a sweat just from sitting and watching, something very few movies can accomplish. When the film finally ends it’s almost a relief because you’re able to breathe again.
Most epic movie chase scene aside, The Road Warrior as a whole package is still a decent film. Some of the acting and costume design may cause a bit of eye-rolling, but the special effects and story really drive it home (no pun intended). It’s a bit weird to see Mel Gibson before he was such a huge star and speaking with his native accent, but as Max, he plays it perfectly. It’s also worth noting that blu-ray presentation is outstanding. The picture looks incredibly crisp and colorful, and the sound simply booms. I was worried that a film like this would have been rushed to blu-ray, but it seems that great care was taken with it.
It had been many years since I had seen The Road Warrior and I was slightly worried that I wouldn’t think it was as amazing as I remembered. Luckily, not only was it as exciting as I hoped, my “more refined palate” recognized The Road Warrior’s strengths above and beyond how awesome it was.
I give it 5 Pursuit Specials out of 5.