When the Australian film "Mad Max" was released in the United States, it did pretty terrible. After all, why would Americans care much about a random guy Max they know nothing about, not even why he is supposedly 'mad.' The film had become a classic in Australia though, so when they decided to do a sequel they knew they had to do something to make it into the mainstream. "Mad Max 2" was a.k.a. "The Road Warrior" in the states when first released, so people didn't immediately realize there was a movie before it. As "The Road Warrior's" popularity increased, it eventually caused a look back at the original "Mad Max" and people embraced the films as classics, causing instant stardom for Mel Gibson.
"The Road Warrior" is set in the future after a nuclear war, as Max roams the desolate lands alone after his wife and kid were brutally murdered. In a world where the one who controls the last vestiges of fuel has the power, Max's only motivation is fuel and he scavenges just enough of it to get by. When Max comes across a man who knows the location of a giant oil refinery, he forces him to take him there. While watching the coming-and-goings of the oil community, he sees brutal motorcycle gangs terrorizing and killing anyone who leaves. Max gains entry to the community and strikes a deal where in exchange for as much fuel as he can carry, he will help the entire community escape to safety with the rest of their fuel reserves.
Mel Gibson does a brilliant job as Max in the "The Road Warrior." It is so much fun to see a young Mel Gibson in a post apocalyptic world. He pushes himself as an actor, creating a character who despite being filled with cynical hate is still completely likeable. As with any actor, Mel Gibson has had his ups and downs in his acting career over the years. But with "The Road Warrior" as one of his first films, it is no wonder that Mel Gibson has gone so far with his career.
"The Road Warrior" set the tone for action movies back in the day. You just don't see this kind of action anymore. Everything we see today is CG, which definitely makes it look pretty, but it doesn't feel like what we see in "The Road Warrior." Filled with constant fast-paced, high energy car chases...explosions...and good old fashion violence, "The Road Warrior" is a true milestone for action films. The way they were able to capture each intense action scene is unbelievable. There are so many action-filled scenes in this 1 and ½ hour film that will knock your socks off many times over. Even with its age, "The Road Warrior" still shines as one of the best action flicks out there. And it's a post apocalyptic world...I mean, who doesn't want to see what directors think of the future!
Where some films have struggled bringing to life an older film, "The Road Warrior" excels. The mood is grim, and "The Road Warrior" video helps it feel like it. We get excellent detail outdoors as the deserted landscape rolls by. While the colors are appropriately muted for a desolate, unhappy location, the few colors that are present pop nicely; colors like yellows and oranges help create a hot grim feel to the screen. The only time the picture struggles is in its close-ups and dark scenes. At those times, we tend to lose some detail and more grain is present. But the rest of the film is filled with great flesh tones and an all around great picture.
Here we get a 5.1 Dolby Digital track that is actually surprisingly good. I was very impressed that we got a 5.1 track with such nice range to it. It did sometimes sounds like the highs were a little pitchy, but the lows are nice and smooth, and the dialogue fit in nicely. Overall we get a nice track that complements the action very well.
Intro by movie critic Leonard Maltin: This is a nice introduction by Maltin as he describes the film and the stunts that are performed throughout.
Commentary by Director George Miller & Cinematographer Dean Semler: This is a very good commentary track. We get good details from both Semler and Miller because they compliment each other very well as they talk. It is actually really neat to hear these guys back together, just like old friends kicking it and dissecting scenes that they could have easily passed up and just talked about normal details, but they loved the film and you can tell.
"The Road Warrior" is a true gem of a movie to watch. The acting is great, Mel Gibson's performance is fantastic, and the movie itself is filled with action that stands tall even today. "The Road Warrior" will have you at the edge of your seat for the entire length of the film. In addition, we are treated with a very nice video track and a good audio track that helps the film look and feel even better today. "The Road Warrior" is an easy Recommend.