OSW Review | Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

Cast: Mel Gibson (with shorter hair still, looks good), that’s all you need to know!

Plot: Max is now a scavenger in the desert wasteland. He strikes deals which land him in the middle of an impending war between survivors in a compound and a murderous motorcycle gang.

Thoughts on the film:
• Kicks off with a black & white stock footage prologue setting up the world of mad max. Thank you! This should’ve kicked off MM1!
• Yes, Hawk & Animal ripped off the name (The Road warrior) and shoulderpad look from this film! Max’s leather cop uniform now 40% more post-apocalypty. It wasn’t called Mad Max 2 in North America because of the original’s limited release.
• The budget increase is instantly noticeable (it’s 10x the original) and finally we’re in the actual dirt wasteland, wooo!
• The action setpieces are much more elaborate and expensive. Also, some of the physical stunts have to be legit dangerous. I love that this is before CG was useable so it was all real stunts and filmmaking tricks. One of the motorcyclists accidentally broke his leg, hitting a car. He made it through and the shot looked great so they kept it in.
• Written like a videogame storyline with sidequests, in how it progresses. Need fuel? Bring me back and you’ll get fuel. Car’s taken away. Get rig to get car and fuel back. Get caught up in the bigger picture.
• Like the previous film, we’re given the bare minimum of setups/cues, eg see Max gather dripping fuel using whatever containers he can find = he needs oil. Main boss is a heel, as he runs a woman off the road and his cronies rape/murder her.
• Amazing – they tease a love interest, and it’s sandbagged completely! Dropped completely! Max also no-sells people asking him for his backstory.
• Nudity: we do see breasts. It’s unnecessary nudity (like a car catches the cloth of a tent, ripping it off, revealing tits.
• S&M He-Man, the ripped Lord Humungous gets a boxing introduction, known as the Ayatollah Of Rock & Rollah! Ah so that’s where Jericho got it from! Him and his cronies are dressed as if Demolition went to the Blue Oyster. I don’t know if it was very manly in the 80s but it’d be homoerotic now. What’s with the assless chaps?
• One more wrestling reference, the complex is run by a dead ringer for Lex Luger.
• I hate child actors. Especially ones with a caveman getup, with the bullshit savage frizzy hair. He throws a deadly boomerang (I’m serious!) and does a distracting wolf impression to show his usefulness. X-Pac heat from me. I also don’t know why they’d have a prominent (awful) child actor is there’s also tits and violence in the film, i.e. this movie is aimed at adults – kids can’t watch this!
• Max reluctantly has a comic-relief sidekick who is much more enjoyable than kid caveman.
• Some things I noticed were reused in Mad Max: Fury Road – the unloaded gun gimmick, cars use a Nitrous boost and spitting the liquid into the tank, and a big chase/escape battle finale with Max driving a tanker.

Overall: Of course relative to other films in general, plot/story/dialogue-wise it’s quite bare, but it’s a much more complete film than the first (it could’ve served as the first film), and is bigger and better in every way; so a perfect sequel. Only negative is the chid sidekick, this film’s ShortRound. Really enjoyed this, I can only imagine enjoying it more on subsequent watches. Recommend!

Next review is Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)


Release Date
June 5, 2015