Classic Review – Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

Title – Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

Director – George Miller (Happy Feet)

Cast – Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Vernon Wells, Kjell Nilsson

Plot – In the harsh surrounds of the Australian apocalyptic outback, ex-cop Max (Gibson) must continue to fight for his life and precious gasoline as he becomes embroiled in a war between a small community of survivors and a gang of vicious bandits lead by The Humungus (Nilsson).  

“I’m just here for the gasoline”

Review by Eddie on 08/09/2021

It’s incredible to think that despite 40 years passing since it initially burst onto cinema screens around the world that Mad Max 2 (aka The Road Warrior), George Miller’s action extravaganza, has lost none of its thrilling spectacle power thanks to its “for real” stunts and high-octane energy that still surpasses many modern films to this day. 

Ramping up things a hundredfold from the original Mad Max that featured a few car crashes amongst its post-apocalyptic wasteland adventure featuring Mel Gibson’s ex-cop Max  Rockatansky, Road Warrior was at the time of production the biggest budgeted Australian film of all time that saw Miller and his creative team enact carnage unlike we’d ever seen done on a local production, that also was an inspiration and benchmark for the action genre in the years to come. 

Often regarded as one of the best examples of an action experience committed to screen thanks to its endless barrage of car-fueled stunts and mayhem (Terminator director James Cameron sighted the film as an inspiration to his action work) and arguably only bettered when Miller’s long time coming Fury Road finally roared onto screens a few years ago, Road Warrior is powered by the most barebones of plots you’re likely to see in a feature but that matters little when the enthusiasm and eye candy on show is what you came to see. 

Barely uttering more than a few lines throughout the entirety of the film, the at the time still up and coming Gibson doesn’t get much too do overall here and is far less charismatic than he would come to be known for in efforts like Lethal Weapon and Braveheart but in many ways that’s the joy of the Mad Max character, with a simple man merely trying to survive an anything but simple time and place, a place where marauding bandits like Kjell Nilsson’s Humungus commands running the barren dust swept lands of Australia as they seek out death and destruction and the much sought after gasoline. 

Rampaging along at a brisk pace that just passes the 90 minute marker, Road Warrior isn’t at all interested in nuances or moments of reflection with Miller hellbent on ensuring that most of the films screen time is action first and questions and answers last and in an age where many modern films attach unneeded baggage and filler to their stories in hope people see deeper things in their flash and pizzazz, Road Warrior is still a joy to behold today as we witness and partake in organized chaos at its finest in the land down under. 

Final Say – 

There’s not a lot happening under the hood of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior but the insanely choregraphed and orchestrated car-founded action is still a cinematic thrill to this day that was largely unmatched for years until Fury Road changed the game again. 

4 gyrocopters out of 5 

4 responses to “Classic Review – Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

  1. I am going to dare to be blasphemous and say that even though Fury Road is one of my favorite movies of all time, I haven’t watched any of the original Mad Max movies. I guess I should get around to fixing that!

  2. Mad Max 2 is one of the few sequels I can think of that I enjoyed even more than the original. It definitely benefits from a bigger budget, and its setting in an even bleaker post apocalyptic world. This film runs like a well-oiled machine, and after all these years it still gives me an adrenaline rush.
    “No one . . No one gets out of here alive!”

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