The Road Warrior film review: Done by Rancel
The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior) is the 1981 Australian sequel to the 1979 classic Mad Max. It is a post-apocalyptic action movie written and directed by George Miller. Mel Gibson reprises his role as Max Rockatansky.
It takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting in the Australian wastelands, following a global war and the collapse of civilization after the Earth’s oil supplies were nearly exhausted. Barbaric Bandits have taken control of the environment and make life a living hell for a community of survivors living in a gasoline refinery.
Mad Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), who is now a shell of man, broken and battered, and traumatized by the death of his wife and son. He wanders the wastelands in a beat up, black turbocharged V-8 pursuit special police car, scavenging for food and gasoline. He has only his pet dog and his sawed off shotgun from his MFP police days to help him survive.
After Max drives off a gang of bandits led by the unstable Wez (Vernon Wells), he runs into a strange man called the Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence), who has a flying helicopter vehicle. The Gyro Captain, much like Max is also a wanderer and in the same predicament. He teams up with Max and they soon arrive at the gas refinery community.
Max and the Gyro Captain watch as “The Humungus” (Kjell Nilsson) and his marauders threaten the lives of the settlers. Lord Humungus has ordered them to surrender the facility in exchange for safe passage out of his territory.
A group of settlers in the community agree with Lord Humungus, a large muscular man wearing a hockey mask. They exit the compound only to be captured, tortured, raped and killed by his gang of marauders.
Max makes a deal with the remaining survivor who is about to die and brings him back into the compound in exchange for some fuel. The setters led by Pappagallo (Michael Preston) refuse the deal with Max and accuse him of being scum much like the bandits are. They also retain his car.
Later, Max makes another deal with Pappagallo which involves him driving a semi-truck, capable of hauling the tanker trailer that the settlers use to store the fuel they refine, in exchange for gas and his freedom. Max successfully retrieves the semi-truck, returns to the compound only to leave the community of settlers, who try to persuade him to stay with them, and escape to a supposedly more pleasant environment.
Max departs in his old police car only to be ambushed by Wez and his gang. Max is seriously injured, his car is wrecked, and his dog is killed. Max is left for dead, rescued, and brought back to the refinery compound by the Gyro Captain. Upon return to the compound, Max offers to help the settlers escape to freedom. Max proposes to drive the truck with the fuel tanker attached and rid themselves of Lord Humungus and his bandits once and for all.
Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior) much like Terminator 2: Judgment Day improved upon it’s predecessor. The cars, trucks, and motorcycle chase action sequences are more intense and thrilling. The violence, brutality, and body count have been turned up a notch. Mel Gibson is great as the heroic warrior Mad Max Rockatansky. He adds more depth to his character. You get to see Max in start out as a bitter soulless loner haunted by the demons of his pasts and not wanting to associate with anyone. He gradually finds purpose as being a saviour of people who can’t defend themselves against the evil and strong of the wasteland. He achieves a way of redemption and learns there’s a reason to live on by the film’s end. Max is still mentally and physically damaged, but becomes a symbol as the ultimate survivor.
The antagonists for the film are better than the first. The costumes they wear, consisting of hockey masks, football shoulder pads, war paint, leather, and animal hide are all very cool. The stunt men used for its action sequences were great. Some of them were injured during the filming. No CGI was available to them back then and they risk their lives filming all the great action scenes. Much like the first, the sequel doesn’t really tell you what continuity it takes place in. The Road Warrior starts off with an awesome prologue sequence giving a background on world events and what has happened to Mad Max. You as the viewer are left to wonder how far in the future the film takes place after the events of the first.
Kjell Nilsson (Lord Humungus) was a Swedish body builder before his role in the film. He is really menacing and cool. Vernon Wells as Wez, the mohawk haired, leather-clad and extremely evil biker was also a great villain. He was second in command to Lord Humungus.
Wez isn’t afraid to defy his orders from time to time. Since he isn’t very loyal, it would have been cool if they added a scene with him fighting Lord Humungus. The scene where Wez disobeys him just shows them arguing and then getting put in a stranglehold by Lord Humungus.
Wez was a big guy too and I think he could have put up a decent fight. There is something funny about Wez and his bikers that is implied and not mentioned in the dialogue.
It might come to your attention that Wez and his bikers are gay. Yes, they are ass goblins. *laughs* Wez carries around a little blonde buddy that later gets killed by The Feral Kid (Emil Minty). Bruce Spence as the Gyro Captain provides some quirky humor. I thought it was kind of gross that he ends up with one of the settler’s daughters in the movie.
The girl looked underage. The Gyro Captain with his rotten teeth and being much older just made that scene un-realistic, albeit a bit funny. For a child actor, I thought Emil Minty did a good job as the grunting and growling Feral Kid who doesn’t speak. The boy isn’t given any background story since it’s not mentioned in the dialogue. You can pretty much tell that the Feral Kid suffered some early trauma and that’s why he doesn’t speak.
The Road Warrior has a great soundtrack done by Brian May. I’m not talking about Brian May the famous guitarist from the Rock Band Queen. The sound effects are also very well done, which are all loud and awesome on my receiver when watching my Blu-ray version of this film. The picture has been cleaned up too from the original DVD release. It looks great on my 1080p HD TV. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is the best of the trilogy and has great replay value. It also has a great message in that trauma isn’t an excuse for quitting on life. Mad Max is a hero for the ages!
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior 1981 Trailer
Filed Under: Action
About the Author: Hello and welcome to Rancel's Movie, TV Show, Animated Films, and Japanese Anime Review Website. I love writing, watching films (especially foreign cinema and horror), playing video games, listening to music, repairing computers, and spending time with people I love. I have always been into the world of cinema, animated films, and TV series. So now as an adult I am an amateur film reviewer.