This last summer I went with my buddy, Jesse, and we saw Mad Max: Fury Road. It was and is the best action movie of 2015.
With that, it sparked an interest in me to view the old Mad Max movies upon which this new film takes its heritage. So, I watched the original Mad Max and just last night, I finished Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.
Mad Max was a passable movie. It was interesting at times, confusing at other. The ending is all you really need to understand Max's motivation. George Miller was trying to develop this post-apocalyptic world and it doesn't really come through too much in the first film. But Mad Max certainly is a good revenge film. And the action set pieces are great. If I were going to give Mad Max a grade I would give it a C.
Now, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is a totally different beast. So, let's dive in and break this "beast" apart.
The World: I absolutely love post-apocalyptic worlds and this movie is post-apocalyptic. More so than the first Mad Max outing. You have feral bands of misfits roaming the desert looking for gasoline. They are brutal and ruthless. They do not care who they kill or hurt as long as they survive. Although, I don't really understand why we as humans would revert to wearing S&M leathers when the world ends. I would think we would want something a little more comfortable--everything else in the world sucks, why should your wardrobe choices suck too? The world of Mad Max is dusty, and grimy, and full of lethal, evil men--I love it.
The Characters: Max is the reason you are watching this film and he is a delightfully broken character. He is a rogue. He is selfish. He looks out for number one. But there is also that tiny piece of humanity within him. That piece that pulls at his heart and says that he should help people. Even at the end of the film, when he decides to help this group by driving the gas tanker, he doesn't really do it for them. He wants revenge. He wants to best the evil band that hurt him so badly. And that is why Max is able to be tricked. He is blinded by rage, anger, and hate. He is totally unfixable and that is that makes him a great character. The rest of the characters in the movie are laughably forgettable, even the bad guys. I know that guy with the mask had a name, but I wouldn't be able to tell you what it was without looking it up, and I finished the film last night. Okay, I looked it up and his name was Humungus. See what I mean! Why is his name Humungus? And who cares. They could have called them Bad Guy 1, Bad Guy 2, Bad Guy Boss and it wouldn't have made a difference. The Gyro Captain wasn't very interesting as a character, more of a Deus Ex Machina for Max when he gets beat up.
The Feral Kid (Really! That was the kids name?) was somewhat interesting. I was hoping that Max would use the kid to replace his dog. And I loved that scene where that kid killed two men with his sharp boomerang--one of the best! But Max is the best character. Who cares about the rest; this is Max's movie.
The Acting: Mel Gibson is at his best when he doesn't talk. That is what you get out of this movie. Gibson being a BA with very little dialogue. He fights and drives and get hurt and fights and drives some more. There were some moments where I was surprised that Max survived. But Gibson does a good job playing the BA, loner, rogue type. Certainly not his best role ever (Braveheart I'm looking at you), but not bad.
The Action: This is the strongest point I have, which is why I saved it for last. George Miller understands action. He understands explosions and car chases. He understands how to film groups of vehicles chasing each other trying to stop another car. He understand blood and gore. This is where this movie shines the most. Because the movie is all practical effects I believe it. I like action that is real. Mel Gibson might not have been in his car or that truck when they crashed, but someone was--or at least a dummy was and it was filmed in such a way that I believed it. You see, I can tell when something is a digital effect. I understand the need for CGI, but I feel like CGI has been the downfall of action movies in general. This movie does action right.
In the end, I would give Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior a B+. It is a great action movie, set in a interesting world. Go back and give it a view.