The Road Warrior (1981)

The Road Warrior (1981)
7.6
  • 168732
  • R
  • Genre: Action
  • Release year: 1981 ()
  • Running time: 95 min
  • Original Title: Mad Max 2
  • Voted: 168732

A former Australian policeman now living in the post-apocalyptic Australian outback as a warrior agrees to help a community of survivors living in a gasoline refinery to defend them and their gasoline supplies from evil barbarian warriors.

#PersonCharacters
1Mel GibsonMax
2Bruce SpenceThe Gyro Captain
3Michael PrestonPappagallo
4Max PhippsThe Toadie
  • Exhilarating action thriller. by 10

    *** 1/2 out of ****

    After so many years The Road Warrior still remains one of the most exhilarating action films to ever grace the screen. The car chases are as excitingly pulse-pounding as ever and no film has yet to surpass the final chase as the best in movie history. Yes, in terms of pure action, not many films have been able to equal The Road Warrior's thrills.

    The film takes place presumably years after the conclusion of Mad Max. The world has been devastated by a third world war and has suffered a setback by he rarity of gasoline. The loner, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) is still wandering around the Australian wasteland, thousands of miles from civilization, in search of gasoline. He comes across a gyro-pilot (Bruce Spence), who tells him of a compound that's producing fuel.

    Max brings the pilot along with him and studies the compound from atop a cliff. It seems a large gang also wants the gasoline and has been besieging the refinery for a long time now. They are a pack of madmen, led by the Humungus, a hugely muscular man who wears a hockey mask to cover his face. An attempt is made by the people inside the compound to find a rig large enough to haul the fuel but the effort is brought down when Humungus' men take down all the cars.

    Max, finding a perfect moment to strike a bargain, makes a deal with one of the survivors and makes it to the compound. Eventually, he makes another deal there, as he tells the people inside that in return for as much gasoline as he can carry, he'll bring the rig to them. What follows is classic edge-of-the-seat action entertainment.

    Having inspired dozens of rip-offs, The Road Warrior still remains the best of the bunch due to the great lead performance from Mel Gibson and the unrivalled car chases, which are very much worth mentioning. The movie begins with a rousing commentary over the events that led to the destruction of government. What follows next is a short and exciting car chase. True, the following half-hour does move by a bit slowly, but it all builds up to a lightning paced final 45 minutes.

    The final chase, in particular, is an exercise in action craftsmanship. Director George Miller has staged one of the most brilliant and downright exciting action scenes ever. So many spectacular stunts and on-road carnage occur during this sequence, to describe it simply wouldn't do it justice.

    Miller's cinematography is decidedly Un-Hollywood. He gives us many breathtaking camera angles, some of which are sometimes a bit shaky, which serves to make the action even more involving. Looking back at the film now, it might not appeal to a wide range of viewers. The odd characters (mainly the villains), ultra-violence, dark tone, and the sparse dialogue may seem a little too offbeat for some people.

    Mel Gibson remains the only world-renowned actor in the whole film. He does a terrific job as the character Max, one of his best and most interesting characters. The development of Max is another intriguing component of The Road Warrior, and serves the film by giving it a human edge by featuring Max's slow transformation from loner to savior. Not only that, Gibson also creates a great action hero. There's not a moment in the film when we aren't rooting for Max to smash Humungus and his gang. Bruce Spence as the gyro-pilot is decent in his role and offers the film's few humorous moments.

    Virginia Hey is also pretty good as the Warrior Woman, and though the script doesn't exactly give her a lot to do, she plays the part well. Mike Preston also shows a lot of honor as the compound's leader.

    On the other side of the equation are the actors who portray the villains. Surprisingly enough, though the characters are outlandish, no one ever goes over-the-top. Vernon Wells and Kjell Nilson are absolutely menacing and frightening as the lead villains, Wez and Humungus. They personify evil itself, creating characters who we truly grow to despise.

    To be honest, I am a little surprised that the critics enjoyed this every bit as much as I did. The film doesn't delve very deeply into philosophical issues and doesn't exactly have a lot of grand things to say. I suppose with the acclaim this film received goes to show that critics do truly watch movies primarily for entertainment.

    As I mentioned before, the film was the benchmark of a genre that grew in popularity. The premise of a loner helping a group of people in need has been used a bit too much now. Most notably is the big-budget flop, Waterworld (which is a good movie I recommend), though none have yet to match the outright intensity of The Road Warrior.

  • MAD MAX - back and better than ever by 8

    After the enormous success of "Mad Max" in 1979, it was predictable that a sequel would follow. In fact, two sequels followed, and the first of these is "Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior".

    Released in the U.S. simply as "The Road Warrior", "Mad Max 2" begins with a narration re-introducing us to wandering ex-cop Max (Gibson) ... and then we're off. In post-apocalyptic Australia, Max wanders the nuclear waste lands in search of Earth's most precious resource: gasoline. When he discovers a band of people guarding a large deposit of fuel, he lends his services as a driver to help them escape from a vicious group of bandits intent on taking the gas for themselves.

    "Mad Max 2" is one of the best sequels ever. It's everything the original was and more. Mel Gibson is great, and the cast performs very well. Brian May's skills as a composer have improved, and he gives a very fast-paced score. George Miller's directing skills have also improved, and he deals us out some intense car sequences that have yet to be rivaled.

    This film is special because, although it was very popular when released and is even more popular now, it is unique in that it is not afraid to be just that. If that confused you, let me put it this way: George Miller has created a film that, while trying to improve the flaws from past films, is not afraid to be original and un-Hollywood. And I must say, Mr. Miller pulls it off excellently.

    I love "The Road Warrior" as well as the rest of the "Mad Max" series. I would say that "Mad Max 2" is quite possibly the greatest film to come out of Australia. It is one of Mel Gibson's best and one of the best sci-fi films ever. "Mad Max 2" is essential.

  • The quintessential action film by 10

    My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember the Road Warrior...

    What can be said that hasn't already? The Road Warrior is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular action films ever made. It's very rare that I grant the score of 10 for a movie, but this one gets it and deserves it. From the opening imagery and narration, it almost seems like we're watching an alternate reality rather than a future sci-fi film, much unlike Mad Max's "A FEW YEARS FROM NOW..." prologue. This was a film that inspired countless ripoffs and wannabes; perhaps imitation is the most sincere form of flattery (I was secretly hoping the Y2K computer bug would destroy society so that I could put on my black leather jacket, get a pair half-pair] of football shoulder pads, and a sawed-off shotgun so I could drive around the desert and kill people for their gasoline).

    I've always loved movies presenting larger-than-life heroes. Indiana Jones, Conan, Dirty Harry, Flash Gordon, James Bond, Luke Skywalker, Robocop, whoever Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee play, John McClain ... the list goes on and on. But Mel Gibson's Mad Max is #1 on my list of the greatest action movie protagonists of all-time.

  • on the Road Again with Mad Max and his Dog by 10

    But most of all, I remember the Road Warrior. By this time, many people have forgotten that this set the standard for kinetic action on the roadways. The memories fade as the years go by, new action films are released, such as "Speed"(94), which seem to set new standards. But, it's not really the case. The Road Warrior has yet to be bested, and no amount of money, computer technology or loud noises will ever accomplish the deed. Nothing will ever capture the apocalyptic intensity or, most of all, the sheer elegance of combat on the roads, as depicted here. "Raiders of the Lost Ark"(81), for example, captured a more frenetic goofy-style action, also relentless, but not with the level of tension. It's exciting, sure, but it doesn't tie your stomach up in knots, leaving you drained yet begging for more.

    The sequel to "Mad Max"(79) - also a unique, tense experience - begins with an unusual prologue, giving the viewers a historical background on only half the screen. We are set up for a bombastic adventure, created as a new mythology for our perusal. Iconic figures abound, beginning with Max (Gibson) himself, of course. Here is the quintessential wandering loner hero/cowboy/samurai: he is striking - damaged both physically & mentally - but an ultimate survivor. Here are his foes: a scarred, massively-muscled atomic-age conqueror and his dogs, garbed in battle-dress for instant death and destruction. Here is his conscience: the last vestiges of civilization grouped in a makeshift fort for a final gasp of decency. When these three factions clash, it's the end of the world as we know it. Welcome to the new world of The Road Warrior.

    The Road Warrior influenced the sub-genre of post-holocaust science fiction throughout the eighties. There were numerous imitators, mostly low-budget efforts, and none of them came close to succeeding at this level. I hope not too many people continue to forget where it all began for this thrilling corner of the sci-fi adventure genre. It is to our downfall and regret that we forget.

  • One helluva film! by 10

    Studio executives today could use a film like this one, or its predecessor right about now. The Mad Max films were thrown together with great skill on absolutely shoestring budgets and made a king's ransom in profits. Nowadays we just seem to get one big-budget failure after another, as the box office slump now extends into its fourteenth week.

    Mad Max 2 (or The Road Warrior, as it is commonly called here in the USA) is an extraordinary sight to behold. The story centers on a loner (Mel Gibson) who roams the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Australia in search of gasoline so he can... I guess just keep driving. He is a man who lost his wife and child to a murderous gang of bikers in the previous film. He seems to be without a soul, or any feeling for his fellow man. One day he corners a man who tells him about a refining community besieged by a gang of ruthless outlaws. Thirsty for the large amount of fuel this community has, Max barters his way inside. To his dismay, the community has no plans to let him just take the fuel and run. They use him to provide them with a vehicle "big enough to haul that fat tank of gas", and by the climax of the film, he is driving the fuel through a gang of about fifty or more savages looking to take it for themselves. Max never really endears himself to anyone, but you can feel the humanity within him as he volunteers to drive the tanker. After just surviving a horrendous accident he can barely walk, but he knows he's their only chance.

    This film is absolutely breathtaking. The characters we meet inside the walls of the refining community are stubborn and resourceful, but just not strong enough to deal with "that vermin on machines" waiting outside for them. The vicious gang holding the community hostage are a motley crew of desperadoes. Many are dressed like WWE combatants. Some are even dressed in MFP uniforms similar to what Max and his fellow officers wore in part one. Are they former cops gone bad, or did they murder the cops to get the uniforms? We are never told. The script refers to these men as "GAYBOY BERSERKERS". The various motorcycles, hot rods, and trucks used in the film have to be seen to be believed. Maybe more fuel-efficient vehicles would be a better idea for a world so short on fuel! But these souped-up vehicles make for some great chase scenes! You have to hand it to the stunt men who worked on this film. With no CGI to do the work for them, many of them were putting their lives at risk each day. Both stunt team leaders Max Aspin and Guy Norris were severely injured during filming. Aspin was driving the car that went airborne after we see the driver shot in the back with the four-way arrow gun. I believe he suffered a concussion when it landed just short of the fortress wall. Norris shattered his ankle after being launched off a motorcycle and sent flying through the air in one spectacular shot during the final chase scene.

    The film has a great soundtrack, as well by Brian May. (Not the guy from Queen) Not too many lines are spoken throughout the film, but so what? This is a film about action, and it's a treat to watch it any time. The Hound will give it 10 of 10 stars. What a way to introduce American moviegoers to Mel Gibson!!

#PersonCrew
1Dean Semlercinematographer
2Brian Maycomposer
3George Millerdirector
4Terry Hayeswriter
5Brian Hannantwriter
6Byron Kennedywriter