Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (8/19/12)

Mad Max 2: The Road WarriorMovie One Hundred Ninety Three

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.


Rotten Tomatoes


40 responses to “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (8/19/12)

  1. All you really need is this movie. They actually have a summary of the first movie at the start so it really could be a stand alone. I’ve got this on my shelf and I have been meaning to re visit it. I might have to after reading your review. Good job.

    • Most definitely. It’s a shame it doesn’t get more recognition from the art house crowd, because it should appeal to them as well as the people hungry for action movies. It’s really chock-full of awesome.

      • I think this:
        “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.”
        speaks volumes.

        People are quick to dismiss a lot of movies because of the particular genre they fit into, but at the end of the day, one can only judge a film on how well it’s made, and, you’re right, Mad Max 2 is extremely well crafted.

        I think the metaphor of the road, itself, is apt in describing the film. It’s tight, narrow. Everything movies in one direction, altogether, and at the exact same supercharged speed. Damn.. I’ve gotta use that if I ever decide to review this one.

  2. Terrific action that even works on a television screen. One question that’s always bothered me, though it doesn’t detract from enjoying the film: if gasoline is such a rare commodity why do The Humungus’ minions (you have to love movies that feature minions) waste so much of the precious fluid needlessly circling around the refinery?

  3. Lol, very sad to say that the first I heard of this movie was in a South Park reference to it. Great review though, this film pretty much set the standard for post-apocalyptic action than nothing else has quite measured up to (I’m looking at you, Waterworld)

  4. For once your score is correct, Andrew. 😛
    I share the nerve-racking sentiment of the closing chase… they look genuinely bloody dangerous.
    I really like the costumes etc. as well. I like the little touch of having police cars used by the bad guys.

  5. I remember my boyfriend making me watch this. At first I wasn’t excited to see it at all, because it’s typically not the type of movie I watch. But surprisingly enough, I got into all the action and suspense of it. Probably did not get as much out of it as I should since I watch the first half in “protest” :), but I finally did get into it half way through.

    So maybe will have to revisit to see what I missed from the beginning.

    • Haha, I’ve watched movies with my wife in protest and I know she’s watched movies of my choosing in protest. Sometimes it’s good to be forced into watching something outside our comfort zone, and if we’re lucky, the films are universally good!

  6. That’s true, at first The Road Warrior seems like your typical 80’s action film like Die Hard or Rambo but is actually a way more deeper film kinda like an existentialist western. Max is completely alone, his family has been murder and he spends his days wandering in this post-apocalyptic wasteland looking for gasoline so he could spend more gasoline with no propose in his life. But when he meets the settlers he actually finds a purpose by helping others and I guess at the end of the film he finally rediscovers his humanity that he lost in this anarchic world that scarred him for life.

  7. When it comes to discussing road movies and car chases, The Road Warrior is always the first title that pops into my head. George Miller’s Fury Road is easily my most anticipated film of 2013. As much as I agree that one could watch RW as a stand alone flick, I love its predecessor (and I do enjoy some moments from Beyond Thunderdome). Good write-up, Andy.

  8. The Road Warrior was certainly an enjoyable film. Great follow-up to Mad Max, even if it really feels like a separate film more than a sequel (to the point where I kind of wonder if it didn’t start its life as an unrelated script).

  9. My Very First R-Rated Film EVER Was “The Road Warrior” And I’ve Never Forgotten It. It’s By Far My Favorite Of The Trilogy, And In My Top 5 For Action Films Of All-Time.

  10. Great flick. Lots of fun. Whenever I hear “Post-Apocalyptic”, this is the one I think of. Glad to see you rate it so highly, its been awhile since Ive seen it, but I still have a lot of great feelings towards it. 😀

  11. The sign of a good review, I think, is that it immediately makes you want to go and watch the film that you’ve just read an appreciation of.

    I know what I’ll be watching some time in the next couple of days…

  12. Great review Andy. i enjoyed the way you explained the plot. this is a classic action film, and films last 30 minutes was really well staged. am looking forward to owning the blu ray.

  13. Pingback: My August Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

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