Starring: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston
Director: George Miller
Running Time: 96 mins
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is an Australian film and the sequel to Mad Max. With the world descending further into darkness, gasoline reserves are being depleted, and Max is forced to defend a petrol depot from bombardments by the rogue gangs, who are becoming more and more tribal and even more violent.
Whilst the first film was a solid platform to build upon, this sequel is a massive improvement where the series really finds its voice and tone. In addition to the cool outlaw politics and epic car chases, this film introduces complete and utter craziness on a level not seen in the first movie, whilst it also moves towards a more post-apocalyptic world where you can sense more danger, making it all the more exciting to watch.
That is by far the main improvement of this film over its predecessor. Again, the first film did some great world-building, and painted a convincing portrayal of an isolated and desolate world that had just entered the apocalypse. However, this film centres the story right in the middle of the post-apocalyptic world.
It’s set in the desert rather than amongst some fields, the cinematography becomes a lot darker, the more brutal and adult themes of the film become a lot more frank and gritty, the characters wear leather bondage costumes and the cars, rather than being covered in crazy paint jobs, have spikes and skulls and guns all over them. That’s properly mad.
And the story is also a lot more relevant to the world than being just one long car chase, which is effectively what the first film is. Here, we see Max having to defend a gasoline depot from bombardment by the gangs, and the sort of ‘siege’ set-up to the whole story is a hell of a lot more exciting, whilst it also feels so much more dangerous.
The world that the story is set in is also so much more convincing. The first film’s setting was effective in making the isolated-feeling world, however you didn’t really get a feel of the context of the ‘apocalypse’, as to why people are going mad other than for anarchy’s sake. Here, on the other hand, there’s some more background into the whole apocalypse, whilst the whole theme of the depleting oil reserves is a massively believable and convincing way to show why the gangs have started becoming so much more violent and dangerous.
Overall, this gets a 7.5, because it takes the well-crafted first film and moves it in an upwards direction, making a grittier, more exciting, more dangerous and more convincing world to get properly engrossed in.