Leaving HBO at the end of this month, you have time to catch it now.
This film is possibly the greatest action thriller ever made. The stunts put Hollywood to shame. Everything is real, kinetic, and life-endangering.
Whether or not you like Mel Gibson, he brought Mad Max to the world, and his world is brutal, chaotic, and sublime. The Road Warrior stood as untouchable for thirty years until George Miller delivered Mad Max: Fury Road in 2015, and we had something to finally compare it to.
The opening montage sequence is a bit dated in its style, and perhaps underwhelming as an opening. Start at the first frame after it, however, and all bets are off. The music also seemed a tad old school, but the action is jaw dropping and center stage.
The plot of The Road Warrior revolves around a siege, that of an old oil refinery in the desert, surrounded by The Humungous and his dogs of war. The refinery people have a small society, straining to keep civilization going in contrast to the scavengers of the wastelands. Max must decide which world he belongs to.
And he’s not a great guy.
But he’s not a bad guy either.
What he is is a damaged guy for a damaged world. And he keeps his word.
It’s interesting how everyone sees value in him, but not himself. He seems to consider himself worthless, a rat scavenging guzzoline wherever he can find it. That’s all he’s capable of aspiring to.
I cited The Road Warrior as a major influence on my 2014 novel Transfixion. There is also a siege and with a school bus lodged across the front gate of a school. I made sure there was a truck/car chase sequence or two as well. It truly was effective, if you believe the readers.
It’s not all about Max. Supporting characters make this movie. Top spot goes to the feral kid, whom you have to stop and just cheer for. The feral kid is amazing. We’d never seen him before or since, and he’s perfect. Max’s gyrocopter-flying sidekick is also a key man in the story. And the helicopter afforded magnificent aerial shots of desert chaos that make sense, and so you never think twice as to why they have all these grand overhead views. It’s just magnificent filmmaking.
The Road Warrior is must-see cinema. End of discussion.