Starring Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Vernon Wells, Michael Preston, Virginia Hey, Kjell Nilsson, Emil Minty.
Written by Terry Hayes, George Miller & Brian Hannant.
Directed by George Miller.
Everywhere else, it is known as The Road Warrior, but to Australians, it will always be Mad Max 2. Famously, it launched Mel Gibson’s career in Hollywood, after the original Mad Max was near-overlooked by its foreign distributors. I even recall this sequel sitting on some studio shelf for a few years before it was re-marketed as the aforementioned The Road Warrior (I could be wrong about that). But this is all superfluous information anyway in the wake of a film that is one of the greatest action movies ever made. Don’t expect any kind of character development or much of a story – anyone who had seen the original film knows who the hell Max is and anyone who didn’t are treated to a neat prologue to help establish time and place and the films’ protagonist. The remaining characters (although I should say ‘caricatures’) are just antagonists and background. In a post-apocalyptic world, the only commodity of value is “guzzoline” (yep, food is secondary) and for Max, it’s a never-ending quest to secure the stuff. When he agrees to help a ragtag band of survivors drive a tanker full of the precious liquid away from their compound, it is merely an excuse to stage some kick-ass chase scenes in the Australian outback. For there are some seriously bad dudes out in the wasteland who want that fuel for themselves, dressed to the nines in an assortment of bondage gear and the requisite 80s apocalypse film shoulder pads. This is pure escapism and a fine example of how to make a fun, exciting movie that is essentially nothing more than a futurist western. Sure, it’s a product of its’ time, but Mad Max 2 is also an exceptionally well-made film possessing much artistic merit to its’ photography and direction. And Mel is certainly a legendary screen antihero as Max. He may not have much dialogue, but when he utters the line “You wanna get outta here? Talk to me”, it becomes clear that it’s all about charisma. And you wanna be on board for the ride with this guy.
By Wadrick Jones