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Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

By Jim Emerson

A strong candidate for the designation of most thrilling action movie ever made (the turbo-charged exhilaration of its full-throttle highway chases has never been equaled), the second part of George Miller's post-apocalyptic trilogy is also a magnificently imagined movie myth. Like the Star Wars trilogy (by that other George) the Mad Max films draw their inspiration from the works of mythologist Joseph Campbell. In the 1979 original, Max (Mel Gibson) is a policeman, the last guardian of civilization and order in a devastated world reduced to chaos. But when a leather-clad gang of sadomasochistic speed demons mows down Max's family, his remaining connections to humanity are also permanently severed. After brutally exacting his revenge, Max wanders off into the wasteland alone, "a burned out shell of a man" who (to paraphrase The Searchers) is destined to wander forever between the winds. In The Road Warrior, Max rediscovers a sliver of his shattered humanity, and a spark of redemption, when he helps an embattled colony of pioneers fight off the savages who are after that most precious of all commodities: "guzzline." Max is transformed into a legendary hero, just as Mel Gibson was catapulted to international movie stardom. With its final stirring images, The Road Warrior transcends its genre (whatever that may be--science fiction? Western? action adventure?) and becomes something timeless. It's a great movie.


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"Mad Max 2 , more commonly refered to as The Road Warrior, is inarguably the greatest movie OF ALL TIME. [Editor's note: Inarguably? Hyperbole alert! Step away from the crackpipe, Snidely. It's a truly great action flick - a five star film - but not the greatest statement humankind has made on celluloid.] It blends genres so masterfully that it is like our own realtiy, indescribable and difficult to define. It's almost like watching a chronicle of our own destiny, as though we too, are to be doomed to wander a desolate wasteland created by the collapse of "The Machine That Man Made. " A demise wrought forth by the very hands that created it. A fitting end indeed for such a world."

--Snidely Whiplash



Buy this VHS movie from! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from! (Click here!)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: George Miller

Stars: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Vernon Wells, Mike Preston, Virginia Hey, Emil Minty, Kjell Nilsson

Released: May 21, 1982

Availability: DVD VHS CD

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