In a post-nuclear war world, Gibson plays Max, a lone adventurer who drives the roads of outback Australia in an endless search for gasoline. His opponents include Lord Humungus, and they battle over a tiny band of civiliz... more »ed survivors and their horde of fuel.
Darren B. O'Connor | Norfolk, Virginia United States | 02/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie, the second in the Mad Max trilogy, is easily the best of the three. Visually, it's very distinctive. The first movie showed a society breaking down in the post apocalyptic world. By this movie, it's broken down. The first movie showed the immediate aftermath. There were still working phones, power lines, people trying to go on with their normal lives, etc. There was even a police force, of which Max was a member, trying to maintain order. Now, society has descended into complete anarchy. Civilization's infrastructure has broken down completely. In the first movie you saw shops, service stations, hospitals. Now you see people scavenging in a wrecked world. Max's car is no longer a gleaming black vehicle, but a delapidated, dirty old beater, its engine still in top shape, but its interior stripped, and its body covered in dust, battered and old. Max's leather police uniform is no longer immaculate, but torn and patched. Visually, this movie set a new standard, and like "Star Wars" and "Blade Runner", changed the way movies in its genre were made. Even the setting works in telling the story. Where the first film featured country with trees and green grass, this movie is set in a blasted desert, further accentuating the sense of collapse.
And this movie's quality doesn't end with the visuals. It has a great, exciting story, very reminiscent of the pulp adventures of old. It's hero, a wanderer, a uniquely skilled and deadly loner, is a mythic archetype. The actors are all perfectly cast. Mel Gibson, with only a few lines of dialogue, turns in a compelling, emotional performance, showing the transformation from the happy, loving husband and father of the first film, to the wounded, burnt out shell of a man seen here. In this film, Max is a tough, fang-scarred old wolf, who has absolutely nothing to live for, but whose survival instinct, combined with his toughness and resourcefulness, just won't let him quit.
The other characters in this movie are also unique and memorable. Bruce Spence's gyro captain is a likeable opportunist. Mike Preston's Papagallo is the determined, idealistic leader, in over his head, but trying his best. Vernon Wells makes a great, flamboyant villain. And Kjell Nilsson is the Humungus, whose face we never see; leader of a vicious band of trash, whose hulking physique, and savage followers seem at odds with his articulate speech, and ostensibly conciliatory manner. The story and characters elevate this movie over the host of low budget imitators that followed. But the film is not short on action either. And George Miller was a gifted director who put to film what remain the best car chase scenes ever shot, right down to this day. Action lovers will find plenty of excitement with this movie. It's a terrible shame the third film wasn't very good, as it killed the prospects of a long running series. This is sad because Max, wandering lone wolf that he is, is a character who, like James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, or the Conan of the old pulp magazines is eminently suitable to a series of adventures."
Ruthless... Savage... Spectacular
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 07/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ahhh, the classic post-apocolyptic thriller that sets the standard for post-apocolyptic thrillers. One tagline reads 'In the future, cities will become deserts, roads will become battlefields and the hope of mankind will appear as a stranger'. I remember skipping school in the early 80's to stay home and watch this one on cable, Such a great movie that has lost none of it's appeal even after 20 plus years. This is the story of a man, once an officer of the law, who now roams the highways of post-apocolyptic Australia searching for gasoline and maybe a reason to exist. In this time, gasoline is the most valuable commodity, so much so men kill for it. Mel Gibson plays Max, in the role that made him known worldwide. During his travels, he comes across a small settlement that is actually producing petroleum. This settlement is besieged by a group of motorized, murdering, mauraders who want all the fuel. Knowing that the fuel is life, the people in the settlement defend the fuel, but their strength and ability to hold out against this powerful force is becoming less and less each day. Max strikes a deal with them for all the fuel he can carry provided he can get a truck for them so they can haul their tanker of gas out of the wasteland and find a better life in a fabled coastal land. Max fufills his end of the bargin, and leaves the settlement with his fuel, but is attacked and left for dead. Having lost his car, he decides to drive the tanker. This sets up one of the most amazing highway battles ever filmed, as the settlers have turned the tanker into a moving fortess, and the marauders will stop at nothing to stop the tanker and get the gas. This movie is what I would call a nearly pefect example of excellent casting, story, dialogue, plot, script, wardrobe, etc. to make up a near perfect movie. Everything in the movie works so well that your entire attention is focused on the screen, even after multiple viewings. This is actually the second in a trilogy, Mad Max being the first and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome being the third, but, in my opinion, this one is the best. It's raw, gritty, sometimes humourous and competely enthralling. On a side note, what's up with Warner Brothers and their crummy cardboard packaging? It just seems so flimsy and cheap. And don't look for a lot of extras with this release, just the full and widescreen versions and some production notes.This just in...I heard George Miller and Mel Gibson are bringing Max back one more time in 2004 in Mad Max: Fury Road......"
Terrence Aybar | New York City | 05/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm saying "finally" because we've finally received a version of the Road Warrior that looks outstanding! The picture looks the best I've ever seen and while the sound isn't as great in terms of bass reproduction, it still sounds very clear, just a tiny bit lackluster. Several of the scenes have a bit of softness to them probably due to age but I'd say about 95% of the film looks crystal clear. There aren't many extras other than an introduction by film critic Leonard Maltin and a filmmaker commentary. A bit lacking in the extras department but the commentary is informative enough for film enthusiasts and fans of the film. It'd be nice to get a retrospective documentary one day on this classic.
At the end of the day, the movie is delivered in an above average presentation and definitely worth a peek in HD."
High Octane Excellence
David Baldwin | Philadelphia,PA USA | 01/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The summer of '82 I remember it well. "E.T", "Wrath of Khan", "Poltergeist", "Blade Runner", "Annie"(heh-heh). Why is it that this turbo charged import from down under has more resonance for me than these high-profile domestic releases? I did see the original "Mad Max" on it's initial release in 1980. It was a huge international success while it was a cult favorite here in the States. I remember first hearing of "The Road Warrior"(or "Mad Max 2" as it was known outside North America) in a long piece in Time magazine in the spring of '82. Time's critic hailed it as "Apocalypse!Pow!" and went on to rave about the film's virtues. Later in the year he put it on the list of the ten best films which was no small feat. I finally got around to seeing this film in August of that year as the bigger releases were winding down their runs. To say I was blown away is an understatement. "The Road Warrior" had energy and imagination to burn. Director George Miller did with a fraction of the budget what other director's with bigger largesse could only dream of. The film's basic premise, a group of post-apocalyptic survivors holed up in an oil refinery while rampaging hoards of leather-clad hoodlums hover outside looking for the smallest fissure to crack this fortress and take the "juice" is a compelling one. The exodus of this band from the Outback to the promised land while the marauders attempt to hi-jack their trucks is viscerally exciting. Throw in a burned-out mercenary anti-hero, Max(Mel Gibson), and you've got a classic on your hands. One can marvel at this film and say that Miller has created an original work but his influences are subtle. I can see him paying homage to Ford, Leone, and Kurasawa here. What also distinguishes this film are the rich characterizations. Aside from Gibson whose star was starting to grow with this film memorable performances are turned in by Bruce Spence as the Gyro Captain and young Emil Minty as the Feral Kid. This film is generally hailed as an action classic but I say it's classic,period."
Sorely in need of an upgrade!
J. Miller | East Hartford, CT United States | 03/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Road Warrior is one of my all time favorite movies without a doubt. And its story has been told many times in all the reviews below but what I think is sorely needed is some kind of a deluxe edition DVD. There appears to be few, if any, extras here. And its prequel mad Max has already gotten a special edition, why not its sequel? For instance, how about a commentary track from director George Miller? I know that getting Gibson to reminisce about this film is an unlikely proposition. And I'd love to see the original trailer for this film. If I recall it ended with a ghostly voice saying "...The Road Warrior..you better pray he's out there" On the technical side, how about some info on the famous car Gibson drove here?"