The Road Warrior (1981) – Review

4 Stars

Essentially, this Australian feature is B-movie OZ-ploitation fare, but done with exceptional cinematography, skillful direction and editing. In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a group of survivors battle over a small amount of gasoline supplies. Mel Gibson reprises his role as ‘Mad Max’, a loner who begrudgingly helps a colony defend itself against a roving band of marauders. This is the second film in the Mad Max trilogy and many consider it to be the best. Short on story but loaded with spectacular stunts and a dazzling climax The Road Warrior exceeds its genera confines and emerges as a stunning piece of film-making from a visionary director.

After honing his skill on the first Max film, director George Miller along with cinematographer Dean Semler have crafted one of the most violent and action-packed sci-fi dramas you’re ever likely to see. The film is frequently intense but always compelling and certainly doesn’t lack for excitement. Especially in the high-energy climax, an extended chase sequence in which hordes of degenerates try to stop an oil rig driven by Gibson. Phenomenal use of editing tricks and some unbelievable stunt work coupled with groundbreaking filming techniques aid in creating one of the greatest car chase scenes of all time. A mass of knock offs would follow in its wake, none with the stunning imagination and creativity seen here.

Director: George Miller
Stars: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence and Michael Preston

2 thoughts on “The Road Warrior (1981) – Review

  1. Still the best Mad Max movie and one of the most influential action movies ever made. George Miller was heavily inspired by samurai movies like Yojimbo and westerns like Shane and Hondo and worked them in to his own post- apocalyptic comic-book ideas. The final act is like Stagecoach but with a truck and Mohawk biker gangs instead of Indians. The action is still jaw dropping after all these years and Mel Gibson already showed that he had great presence and charisma. A classic.

  2. It’s hard not to see Max as a post-apocalyptic “High Plains Drifter”. The economy of dialogue only reinforces that feeling. Still it was the high water mark for Miller, before he went for the cash grab with Thunderdome.

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