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Wadrick's Celluloid Dungeon

Mad Max 2 (1981)

Mad Max 2 (1981) Poster Art
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.

Mad Max 2 (1981) Rating Chart

By Wadrick Jones

Photos: from cinemaisdope.com; ipb.quicksilverscreen.com; guardian.co.uk; fancast.com; dailykos.com


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  1. I love Beyond the Thunderdome. I don’t know that I have seen Mad Max 2, I will have to go and see if I can rent it.

    Posted by Bill | December 9, 2009, 12:27 pm
  2. Bill, rent it now…you’ll need to look for The Road Warrior in your NYC video store, not Mad Max 2…
    Thunderdome wasn’t bad – it seemed to me that George Miller kept trying to outdo himself with each film as far as the car chase scenes go…But Mad Max 2 will always be my favourite…

    Posted by Wadrick Jones | December 9, 2009, 11:23 pm
  3. Mad Max inspired the MATV
    .-= shea Holliman´s last blog ..Art Refugee =-.

    Posted by shea Holliman | December 10, 2009, 9:23 am
  4. Have you taken a ride in one yet, Shea? Wasn’t the first one delivered to Afghanistan a few months back?

    Posted by Max Drake | December 10, 2009, 5:02 pm
  5. Ah, good call, Wadrick…

    Yeah, mad movie…Mad Mel 2…

    I always think of that crusty mute little kid with his blade boomerang…

    Would love to see it again actually, s’been a while…

    Posted by Decoy Spoon | December 11, 2009, 6:16 pm
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