Sunday, 1 August 2010

Film Review: MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981)

Co-writer/Director: George Miller
Running time: 91 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

USA release date: 28th April 1982

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 1st August 2010.


I remember seeing this film on VHS video at a friend’s house almost 30 years ago. At the time I was most impressed with the action sequences and with the futuristic setting of the story. Since then I have seen it a few times, but for the first time I watched it today with a different perspective. Here’s a bit about the plot and then I’ll tell you what I mean.

The story follows on from the 1979 film Mad Max, also directed by George Miller. I won’t go through the events that happened there, but I will tell you that former cop, Max, is now wandering the wastelands, a lawless desert. Here, after a run-in with some scavengers, he comes across The Gyro Captain, the pilot of a gyro-copter. He tells Max of a compound in the middle of the desert where the people there are pumping oil and refining it. With fuel being the most valuable commodity in the wastelands, Max is very interested in this place. They go there to find it under siege by the same scavengers that Max had a run-in with earlier. They are led by a character known as The Humungus. Max makes his way into the compound where he discovers they have a tanker but no truck to drive it. He has seen one out on the road and makes a deal for as much fuel he can carry, if he can retrieve it. I won’t say any more, I think that’s enough to whet your appetite.

Although it does look a little dated, this is still a very well made film. It’s not perfect by any means, but the stunt work, the acting and the humour all stand up today. It is not heavy on dialogue, but I could not fault any of the performances, so honourable mentions go to; Mel Gibson as Mad Max Rockatansky, Bruce Spence as The Gyro Captain, Michael Preston as Pappagallo, Max Phipps as The Toadie, Vernon Wells as Wez, Kjell Nilsson as The Humungus and Emil Minty as The Feral Kid.

I talked about perspective at the beginning and I think I should explain what I mean. Since I have been putting my thoughts online, for just over a year now, I have found that I watch films with a more critical eye. What I mean is I pay more attention to how they make me feel, to how they are made and to whether I find them entertaining.

So, I found Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior to have a lot more humour in it than I remember, although some of the stunts didn’t quite work and you can see where the action has been sped up to cover for this. Having said that, the story is great and it is told in a very clever way with just the right balance of humour and drama in and amongst the action. Entertaining throughout, and, given the limitations the filmmakers had at the time, a very well made and ambitious film. Over all, I loved it when I first saw it, and love it just as much today! Recommended.

My score: 7.8/10

IMDb Site:

No comments: