Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
- Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky
- Bruce Spence as The Gyro Captain
- Vernon Wells as Wez
- Michael Preston as Pappagallo
- Emil Minty as The Feral Kid
- Kjell Nilsson as Lord Humungus
- Virginia Hey as The Warrior Woman
After the grimness of the first Mad Max, George Miller stepped it up a gear with this sequel, armed with a bigger budget and a better grip on the story. Surpassing its predecessor in terms of spectacle and action, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is a lightning paced film of futuristic battles and apocalyptic carnage that is not to be missed by anyone.
Supplies of gasoline are dwindling fast in the future and has caused violence and destruction in the wake of its near absence. After the death of his wife and son in the first film, former cop Max wanders the desert wasteland an alienated man in search of gasoline and food. Max has become withdrawn and reticent with only the need to survive keeping him going in the chaos. Max soon encounters a psychopathic gang of punk motorbike riders in his search for survival, coming face to face with the utterly crazed right hand man Wez. It transpires that the gang are led by the muscled man mountain Lord Humungus. His followers regularly pillage what they can from an oil refinery run by the reasonable Pappagallo and his good settlers who are desperate to escape the constant threat of violence and death that hangs over them on a precarious basis. Max is aided by the crazed but very helpful Gyro Captain who helps him into the camp. At first, Max just wants his car which was taken and some fuel so he can continue journeying on in the never-ending desert and has no interest in helping anyone else out. Yet somehow his emotionally scarred barriers are broken down and he begins to help the settlers in their attempts to thwart Humungus and his cronies which leads to one hell of a showdown.
George Miller really shifts gears here and delivers a high-octane thrill ride of pumping action and turbo-sized thrills. Miller really gets a grip on the story and crafts one of great excitement and danger. I admire how he used sparse dialogue in this film, it really adds to the impact of the visuals which in turn do a lot of the storytelling. The Road Warrior is a visual marvel, with the dusty landscape of the deserts and scant resources playing a key part to the post-apocalyptic doom that Max finds himself in. The Road Warrior thankfully doesn’t suffer from the lulls in narrative of the first movie and emerges as a more polished and confident action movie which barely pauses for breath once the glorious action is set into pulse-pounding motion. Fast-paced chases and attacks form the action-packed backbone to The Road Warrior and create a dazzling array of stunts, inventive weapons and fierce battles. I also appreciated the nods to the western genre within The Road Warrior. We have the lone drifter searching what could be seen as a frontier, the battle for supremacy over something precious and the breaking down of the drifter’s emotionally devoid shield. The costume design is simply outstanding, with the leathers of Max’s costume and the punk rock attire, consisting of red Mohawks, shiny chains and chaps setting the standard for cinematic and apocalyptic chic that would be copied in a multitude of futuristic movies. A grand and majestic score provides ample excitement and intense atmosphere as Max joins the villagers in their quest to escape almost certain death. The Road Warrior just captures your interest from the start and doesn’t let go as you join Max on this journey through the wasteland.
Mel Gibson once again stars as Max and cements him as a cinematic hero. Combining the laconic qualities of a man who has lost faith in everything with the capabilities of violence and buried humanity that are awakened, Gibson is nothing short of iconic in this film. It’s safe to say this was the role and film that catapulted Gibson to super stardom and beyond. Bruce Spence exudes mad as hell craziness and strange antics as the Gyro Captain, who goes from being Max’s prisoner briefly to very helpful aid. Vernon Wells gets the crazy costume and psychopathic traits just right as Wez, one of the more vicious members of Lord Humungus’ cronies. Michael Preston brings wise leadership and calm assurance to the role as Pappagallo, who is probably the most sane person in the movie. Emil Minty, though he doesn’t utter a word and communicates in grunts and cries, is suitably helpful as The Feral Kid who is more than adept with survival and comes to look up to Max. Out of all the characters who Max comes into contact with, I believe it is The Feral Kid who brings out his hidden humanity that he has shut away from the world. Bodybuilder Kjell Nilsson uses his considerably muscly and intimidating physical stature to excellent effect as the violent and deep-voiced Lord Humungus. Rounding out the main cast is Virginia Hey, who displays a burning ferocity as The Warrior Woman.
The Road Warrior is just one of those movies were all the elements flow together to create a hell of a ride.