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MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981)
Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior poster

CAST
MEL GIBSON
VIRGINIA HEY
EMIL MENTY
KJELL NILSSON
MAX PHIPPS
MICHAEL PRESTON
BRUCE SPENCE
VERNON WELLS

WRITTEN BY
TERRY HAYES
GEORGE MILLER
BRIAN HANNANT

CINEMATOGRAPHY BY
DEAN SEMIER

EDITED BY
MICHAEL BALSON
DAVID STIVEN
TIM WELLBURN

MUSIC BY
BRIAN MAY

PRODUCED BY
BYRON KENNEDY

DIRECTED BY
GEORGE MILLER

GENRE
ACTION
ADVENTURE
SCIENCE FICTION

RATED
AUS:MA
UK:18
USA:R

RUNTIME
91 MIN



Mad Max 2 Prime Video
Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior image
Image Credit © Warner Media

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is an innovative high octane post-apocalypse thrill ride that features stunning action sequences, a great use of location, and an excellent score.

Working on a much bigger budget thanks to the unexpected success of the first Mad Max film, director George Miller succeeds in creating a sequel that not only matches its predecessor but leaves it lying in the dust, while not succumbing to the trappings of conventional Hollywood filmmaking.  

Mad Max 2 begins with former police officer turned cynical loner Max (Mel Gibson) driving through the post-apocalyptic wasteland of outback Australia where fuel is a scarce resource. Max comes across a commune who have easy access to fuel via their own oil refinery and are hounded by homicidal road bandits who want the refinery for themselves.

Fearful for their lives, the community negotiates a deal with Max where he will provide a truck big enough to haul a tanker of fuel and help them escape from the bandits. In return Max can take as much fuel as he can carry. Cue an incredible chase sequence, in which Max fends off all matter of unhinged and murderous road brutes and savages while driving a Mack semi. An excellent score by Brian May (not the Queen guitarist) adds to the heart pounding sequence that represents cinematic vehicular mayhem at its finest.     

Mel Gibson, who at this point was several years away from success in Hollywood, establishes a strong on-screen presence in a role that, while short in dialogue, demands much in vigor and valor. Comparisons to Clint Eastwood’s “Man with no name’ from Sergio Leone’s famed spaghetti westerns are valid, with both characters quiet yet flawed men that do what they can to survive yet are very much the heroes of a world overrun with death and madness.  

The film is full of quirky characters and menacing villains: Vernon Mills provides great high camp value as the homicidal punk Wez (which he wonderfully parodies in Weird Science); Bruce Spence has some great comedic moments as The Gyro Captain; and Kjell Nilsson and Emil Minty both give memorable performances as Lord Humungus and The Feral Kid, respectfully.

Since Max is a man of little words dialogue between characters is sparse, but the visuals are more than enough to hold your attention, with Broken Hill’s wide-open landscape clashing rather well with the leather costumes and multiple vehicles as motorbikes, supped up V8’s, and dune buggies are all transformed into death on wheels, George Miller capturing it all creating an exceptional action movie in the process.

****

 

 

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Created and Edited by Matthew Pejkovic / Contact: mattsm@mattsmoviereviews.net
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