Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1982)

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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 civilisation 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.

8.5/10

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