Dir: George Miller, 1981
Max is back and he’s madder than ever!
Re-titled The Road Warrior in the US, the second installment takes a different path to its predecessor, deciding to go down a more comic book route.
Set some time after the events of Mad Max, the titular hero (Mel Gibson) cruises along the deserted roads, in search of food, water and petrol.
In a barren wasteland, Max meets a clan of salvagers who have set up their own commune and who possess the much-desired fuel.
But the commune is heavily fortified as a gang of thugs and murderers try to take the coveted supply.
Led by Lord Humungus and his second-in-command, Wez (Vernon Wells), the gang terrorise the settlers, desperately trying to pillage what they have.
It’s up to Max to save the day.
George Miller’s 1979 first feature had a kind of message or moral to the story. Miller was a doctor and had seen many casualties and fatalities in the emergency room from car crashes so it could be taken as a warning to driving dangerously. You could also argue that it’s a commentary on society and crime.
But, however you perceive Mad Max, this entry doesn’t have such moral and is just a straight forward action film.
There’s little, if any, character development with the settlers being the only characters that could possibly have any. Everything about Max was already said in the first one. This leaves Miller with the opportunity to focus solely on the action.
Having a very minimal script, Mad Max 2 can deliver big on explosions and car chases with no obstruction. An added bonus is that it, now, makes Max more angry and detached from the, relatively few, people he comes into contact with.
The popularity of this film inspired the look and style of post-apocalyptic movies that is taken for granted; fetishistic punk chic.
Mad Max 2 is often considered that rarity of sequels; superior to its predecessor. Although there is more action, there is less grounding in reality which detracts from what the original was all about.
The story is slight and rough, with its sparse script littered with terrible dialogue. More focus is placed on the cars and driving than any advancement of the plot or characters. It’s kind of a petrol head’s wet dream.
Despite it being silly and inane, there is a brutality to the violence that exceeds that of the 1979 film, in particular, the feral kid with a razor sharp metal boomerang.
Ridiculous but fun, Mad Max 2 has it’s moments of excitement and thrills that will keep you entertained.