Director George Miller’s Mad Max series was certainly not the first of the post-apocalyptic-nightmare-world-where-water-is-more-precious-than-diamonds subgenre. But it is the most absolutely ass-kickingest and will continue to be heralded as such even after the Y2K bug shuts down the power grid and we must resort to bow-hunting rats at the city dump ourselves.
By far, the best of the Mad Max series was the second installment, The Road Warrior which is now being released in the widescreen edition just in case you didn’t think Humungus was humungous enough. If you haven’t seen The Road Warrior, stop living in a cave, find a TV and VCR, and see this tape immediately.
In The Road Warrior, World War III has devastated civilization. But in the Mad Max apocalypse, water isn’t the priceless commodity, gasoline is. (Judging from the recent price hikes at the pump, I would say we are definitely looking down the barrel of a loaded Armegeddon today.)
Max, played with Spaghetti western coolness by a hunky young, Aussie-accented Mel Gibson , now drifts the Australian Outback searching for gasoline. Max was a family man and cop in the first installment, but his wife and child were slain by a biker gang, his job as a police officer is now obsolete. Max learns of an oil refinery from a would-be attacker, The Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence), who offers the information in a plea for his life.
Max discovers that a gang of horribly-mutated outlaw freaks led by the unintelligible, muscle-bound, facemasked Humungus (Kjell Nilsson) has surrounded the refinery, demanding that the inhabitants surrender it; Papagallo (Michael Preston) and his band of gypsies have barricaded themselves inside. Max sneaks in, convincing the untrusting Papagallo to exchange some of the coveted gas to Max for a rig he promises to deliver. The group plans to haul a tanker full of gas to the coast where they plan to rebuild civilization. Natch.
Max helps the group escape the refinery, driving the gasoline tanker in the greatest chase scene in movie history (SEE ALSO: The French Connection, Ronin, Goldeneye). For over twenty heartpounding, whiteknuckled minutes, the tanker squares off against Humungus’ 30-or-so souped-up motorcycles, dune buggies, and pickup trucks, barreling down a deserted highway at breakneck speeds
The Road Warrior packs enough nuclear holocaust, mutants, flamethrowers, leather armor, crossbows, big rigs, dune buggies, motorcycles, monster trucks, gyrocopters, impalings and explosions for two movies, and the new widescreen edition allows us to see even more things blow up.