Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: The Road Warrior is everything a bigger-budgeted Mad Max sequel with should be: bigger, faster, louder, but definitely not dumber.


Movie Info

Director George Miller's follow-up to his own 1979 hit Mad Max is proof that not all sequels are inferior to their originals. If anything, this brutal sci-fi action film is even more intense and exciting than its predecessor, although the state of its post-apocalyptic world has only become worse. Several years after the deaths of his wife and child, Max (Mel Gibson) has become an alienated nomad, wandering an Australian outback that has fallen into tribal warfare conducted from scattered armed … More

Rating: R
Genre: Action & Adventure , Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: George Miller, Brian Hannant, Terry Hayes
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 25, 1997
Runtime:
Warner Bros. Pictures

Cast


as Max Rockatansky

as Gyro Captain

as Feral Kid

as Pappagallo

as Humungus

as Warrior Woman

as Curmudgeon

as Big Rebecca

as Quiet Man

as Lusty Girl

as Toadie

as Farmer

as Golden Youth

as Wounded Man

as Defiant Victim

as Broken Victim

as Pappagallo

as Mechanic's Assistant

as Mohawk Biker with Be...

as Mohawk Biker

as Tent Lover

as Tent Lover

as Young Woman
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (7)

Exhilarating entertainment -- and a textbook for sophisticated, popular moviemaking.

Full Review… | August 25, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

A straightforward action/adventure film, filled to the brim with over-the-top chases and stunts.

Full Review… | June 10, 2008
ReelViews
Top Critic

A film of pure action, of kinetic energy organized around the barest possible bones of a plot.

Full Review… | May 30, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Director Miller keeps the pic moving with cyclonic force, photography by Dean Semler is first class, editing is supertight, and Brian May's music is stirring.

Full Review… | May 30, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

For pure rhythm and visual panache, Miller has few real competitors; the climactic chase, with its deft variation of tempo and point of view, is a minor masterpiece.

Full Review… | May 30, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Miller's choreography of his innumerable vehicles is so extraordinary that it makes Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark look like a kid fooling with Dinky Toys.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

The story continues as 'Max Rockatansky' is now a roaming lone wolf, a highway mercenary who does what he can for precious fuel and to survive. Just one man, his car and his trusty loyal dog drifting across the vast outback.

For me this is easily the best of the trilogy as it gives you everything you kinda wanted from the first but didn't quite get. This film has since become an epic legend over time, how many movies videogames boardgames TV shows etc...have used this formula and visual style since! How many cheesy-ass movies have rehashed this simple concept? tonnes.

The plot is even more basic than the first film and dispatches any notion of family, love or even friendship really. Max is purely a roamer who cares for nothing but his dog and Ford Falcon...gas and sustenance are his goals. In short Max reluctantly gains a friend in the form of the 'Giro Captain' and is shown a source of much gasoline, liquid gold. Again reluctantly he ends up helping the small band of protectors that hold the gas from a vicious gang of bondage clad desert thugs...all for more gas.

In short this film is virtually a constant set up for stunts, action and chase sequences, nothing much more than that. Definitely original for the time, pretty much all vehicles and costumes in this style are now basically synonymous with this one franchise and this sequel. This used dirty seedy gritty oily machine-like world of the future also leans towards a Roman gladiatorial-esque look mixed with a touch of rusty steampunk perhaps. The new gang of badass thugs seem to have been visually designed with a blend of Native American Indian and Roman gladiator outfits/makeup in mind. There also appears to be a very strong homosexual undercurrent with all the bad guys (or some of them), some of which are dressed in black spiky leather with police helmets. I always did wonder why they took that specific route, fresh I guess. I also think there is an element of the 1975 film 'Rollerball' with some of the costume designs.

Who can forget the iconic lunacy of Vernon Wells' character with his mohawk and leather chaps displaying his thong clad bare ass. Of course not forgetting his collared blonde male bitch by his side. His utter madness and violent tendencies make him a scary gay loose cannon from hell that yells out unnerving war cries. The rest of the bad guys are merely carnage fodder that end up getting blown to pieces or crushed under vehicle tyres, but their costumes and appearance are all so unique and well crafted mixing fetish bondage gear with biker gear. I say well crafted but maybe that's all the extras had to work with, odd bits and pieces from home mixed with odd props, its possible as it all looks cheap. Very cliched now of course but anything like this now would come under the term 'Max Mad style'.

The bad guys easily boost the film with their insane appearance and constant assaults, swarming over anything like ants. Their leader again is another brilliant visual treat and again totally homosexual looking for some reason. A huge tanned muscle-bound man who has a good speaking voice, dresses in yet more black spiky strapped bondage gear and wears a hockey mask making him one of the best movie mysteries around. Who is this guy? what happened to him? and with the name 'Humungus' you again tend to think if that has anything to do with the gay theme. Naturally I have also wondered if the hockey mask idea had been pinched from a certain horror movie made the year before.

The good guys are a bland and boring bunch with their stereotypical white outfits which indicate that they are clearly the goodies. Baddies in black, goodies in white...oh the good old days of cliched action films. The 'Feral kid' character was rather annoying I must admit, the story is narrated by an older version of himself which is kinda neat but the actual character was just weird, but I guess that was the idea.

The film goes from one stunt laden set piece to the next not pausing for much of a breather. The outback setting really works wonders for the film and gives a really nice bleak barren dystopian futuristic feel. Of course the final tanker chase sequence is the most memorable and iconic action sequence of the film. Much like the iconic Indy truck chase sequence in 'Raiders' our hero takes on one bad guy after another as they try to derail the tanker resulting in some epic over the top carnage. What was also so original about this film was the fact that all the good guys that assist Max in this final assault get killed off! including the hot female! you didn't see that coming back in the day.

Not even Max's trusty old dog survives the ordeal. Those darn writers always know how to upset an audience. Have the innocent doggie killed off by a bad guy, guaranteed to get most folk all riled up for revenge instantly. Never mind about the humans surviving...most folk will care more about the dog! Damn those writers and their cliched overused movie trickery!!

This is pretty much the perfect action film with everything needed and supplied with class. A small budget (although probably not for the time and the franchise), a lot of creativity, hands on craftsmanship and hard work again shows what can be achieved without relying on CGI. It really does look like they just got a load of crappy vehicles, simply stuck a whole lot of metal junk all over them and trotted off into the desert.

Sparse in every sense, very little dialog, a tough hero with no name (although we do know his name I don't think its mentioned), eerily alien looking locations and all with an abundance of rich imagination. A fantasy barbarian film with guns instead of swords and fetish gear instead of loincloths. The ultimate used heavy metal junkyard post apocalyptic universe that influenced everything.

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phubbs1
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

½

A capable sequel to the first apocalyptic wasteland film concerning a now vengeful, angry Max (Mel Gibson), who decides to help a small town, rich in gasoline which is sparse in Australia, after they are threatened by a group of thugs who want to overrun it. A simple plot is good enough concerning the staple of these films, notably great car chases, hilarious over-the-top costume design, and Gibson's rock-solid, movie-star like performance. It is just a really entertaining film, not too long to wear out its welcome, but nothing terribly groundbreaking either. It is easy to see why the "Mad Max" series is a cult classic and beloved by many fans, although it never really truly comes close to achieving greatness, at least in my eyes.

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Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Mad Max 2 is one of that rarest of breeds; a sequel that actually surpasses the original. Like Desperado and Evil Dead 2, it is a big budget reinvention of the previous film rather than a true sequel per se. Mad Max was a powerful if flawed film that never quite lived up to the promise of its explosive action sequences. Once again, the film opens with an exhilarating hi-octane chase as Gibson's post apocalyptic man with no name stumbles upon an oasis of civilization under siege from a group of road predators. The film almost resembles a zombie film, except in this future where gasoline and ammunition are worth more than human life, the human race are being preyed upon not by undead monsters, but other human beings. The Australian outback makes a beautiful but believably desolate future wasteland and Gibson revisiting the part that made him a star has never equalled the grit and charisma of his performance here. The peripheral characters don't get much of a look in and the dialogue is suitably minimal, setting the stage for the true star of the show; the action. The brilliant production design which creates a similarly believable patchwork of scavenged technology became the blueprint for post apocalyptic science fiction; every sci fi film that followed copied it. The fantastic stunt and road level camera work makes for some visceral chase sequences in which vehicles and their occupants are smashed, crushed and sent pirouetting through the air with a sense of real time physics; there are no glossy Hollywood style slow motion pyrotechnics here; just an orgy of automotive destruction! A worthy addition to the tradition of Yojimbo and A Fist Full Of Dollars with a science fiction spin.

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garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior Quotes

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