The Road Warrior (1981)

THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981)
aka Mad Max 2
Article 3245 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-8-2010
Posting Date: 7-3-2010
Directed by George Miller
Featuring Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston
Country: Australia
What it is: After-the-Apocalypse action flick

It’s after the apocalypse. A loner on the search for gasoline comes upon a compound that refines it, but the compound is under siege by a gang of punks led by a masked figure known as Humungus. The loner finds himself drawn into the struggle for the gasoline…

I’m not a fan of action movies; if the story, characters or humor don’t interest me, I don’t care how many car crashes and explosions they throw into the mix. So when I say this is one of my favorites of the genre, it says something about how well it’s put together. The characters are interesting, compelling and fun; outside of tortured loner Max, we have Bruce Spence’s gangly Gyro Captain, the willful Feral Kid, the more-animal-than-man mohawk-styled Wez, the leader of the pack known as Humungus (I really wonder if he would have spared the lives of the people in the compound if they had walked away from the fuel), not to mention the well-defined characters in the compound itself. Furthermore, the action sequences are to-the-point and tied to the story; for example, there are only two explosions in the movie, and they are both important to the story and not just there for show. Great little touches abound; I like the scene with Max, the Feral Kid and the music box, the first meeting with the Gyro Captain, and the clever (and very logical) twist at the end of the movie when it looks as if the mission has failed. This movie proved to be extremely popular and inspired many imitations; in fact, it became the template for after-the-apocalypse movies for years to come, though I’ve never seen one that did it better. Highly recommended.

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