12 June 2005 | TOMASBBloodhound
One helluva film!
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!!