MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR [1981] movie review

December 31, 2011 · Print This Article

One movie topic of debate is what movie franchises have a sequel better than the original. In that debate I cannot say I have heard MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR mentioned, but I thought MM2 was far better than MM1. MM2 eliminated all the lapses of logic that caused me to sour on the first, and added a great score to heighten all the action.

There is a long piece of exposition that I guess would have been very welcomed by cinema audiences having waited two years for the sequel. Even though it was only a seven day wait for me, I still appreciated getting properly filled in on Max’s backstory as well as how the world came to be as depicted in the movie. Perhaps that is another flaw of MM1 (or one of its strengths?) there is no mention of what brought about the post-apocalypse.


MM2 shows good continuity putting Max in a brace reminding us of the horrible leg injury he suffered at the end of MM1 (though he could still drive a stick shift with it!). We get treated to hearing the whir of the huge blower on his V-8 Interceptor right from the get go. The villains of the movie look more like my distant memories of the franchise recall them as–mohawked, large shoulder pads and adorned with savage weapons driving demonic vehicles.


The analog stunts and action are spectacular. This keeps the action scenes well within the realm of believability, something 00s action movies rarely are. Seeing real bodies flying through the air is very visceral.


The story is again simple and unoriginal. A hero figure encounters a group of villagers in need of his expertise, he attempts to lead them to ultimate victory against a brutal enemy. The Humungus is a frightening character. FRIDAY THE 13th was released in 1980 and IMDB puts MM2 as 1981, so I wonder if they each independently came up with a monster of a man covered in a hockey mask.


MM2 is well paced, showing director George Miller improved his movie making skills in the two years since MM1. The score by Brian May seemed at once to contain melodies that perhaps John Williams borrowed for E.T. mixed with some Indiana Jones as well. I definitely noticed the score, in a good way.


The sense of fear and grim reality was heavy in the final third of MM2. Again, to a modern viewer it is shocking to see significant good guy character, one after another, die unceremoniously and quite often horribly. It made me feel that truly no character is safe.


The plot actually contains a few clever twists and surprises that were refreshingly free of gimmicks.


THE ROAD WARRIOR is as good of a Friday night action movie as there is.


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