MAD MAX: THE ROAD WARRIORMOVIE REVIEW
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Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
Through narration we are connected between the first MAD MAX movie and what came after. The narration comes forth like a newsreel, interspersing bits of real historical news with scenes from the original MAD MAX. As this story begins, the fall of society is complete and humanity is ruled by savage anarchy.
People have lost even simple technological skills, like creating gunpowder. The physically strongest of the stupid and ignorant have taken over the earth. Losing our guns as we run out of places to find ordinance, we are down to knives, arrows, and fire. We lack the ability to make new clocks, so we keep fixing old ones. We lack the ability to make new engines, so we keep fixing old ones.
We scavenge for the ever decreasing number of parts, fuel, food, often violently because we must take from others who need it as well.
Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson: MAD MAX, MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME, CONSPIRACY THEORY, PAPARAZZI) fights these battles like all the rest. In this world, everyone is a target. To stay alive like Max, you have to be a moving target. The only thing that will keep you moving is petrol. And in the great wastelands of the Outback, the only place to find petrol is in the gas tanks of other people. So people fight to the death - because an empty tank equals death in the wastelands: a sitting target, waiting for the Raiders.
Eventually this existence leads Max to a seemingly abandoned gyrocopter, sitting out in the middle of nowhere, for who knows how long?
But looks can be deceiving and so is the sneaky Gyro-Captain (Bruce Spence: THE CARS THAT ATE PARIS, MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME, DARK CITY, QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS). Getting the drop on Max, he turns the tables at the point of his crossbow and is out to rob Max of all of his gasoline.
But nobody puts resourceful Max in a corner and the field of power flips again. To save his life, the Gyro-Captain quickly offers knowledge. He knows where there are thousands of gallons of gas. The oil rig brings it up all day, "Ka-chunk! Ka-chunk! Ka-chunk!" You can't just walk in and fill up, it's well guarded, but a quick and clever man like Max might be able to figure out a way to get to it.
Deeper in the desert, is a fortified oil rig that still works, run by people who still remember how to refine it. But it's surrounded by Raiders seeking a weakness or opening.
"They circle it day and night like angry ants!"
With little respite from the Raiders, there is no escape, and their other supplies are running out. They need help and Max may be the only chance they've got.
Max sees their trapped stalemate of a position and wants no part of it. Max is a survivor, and he's not about to let anyone else call the shots: especially people who put themselves and others into such a terrible fix.
Max will make a bargain for gas though. A contract of trade.
The putative leader of the oil rig group, Papagallo (Michael Preston: METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN), along with his few loyal fellow fighters like the Amazon Warrior (Virginia Hey: GAME ROOM, ALIEN ARMAGEDDON) battles daily with the unmercifully brutal Raiders without and struggles to calm the growing rebellion within. The rebellious: exhausted, traumatized and weary, are starting to listen to and believe the obviously false promises of the vicious Raiders, led by a giant masked muscleman who calls himself The Humongous (Kjell Nilsson).
"Just walk away and end the horror. Just walk away, and I'll spare your lives."
Despite his appearance, The Humongous is sharp, cunning, and uses a loudspeaker and microphone to whittle away, day by day, at the morale of the people within the oil rig camp. Meanwhile, stragglers coming across the oil rig and the promise of as much gas as they can carry, join up with The Humongous.
"Every day they get stronger while we get weaker!"
For The Humongous there is only one deal. Everyone inside the oil rig camp must leave and abandon their oil to him. There will be no other way.
Anyone who tries to escape the oil rig camp, no matter how keen their strategy, is quickly set upon by the Raiders, brutally raped and murdered, or slowly tortured to death: their gasoline stolen to keep the raiders fighting still another day on the outside, while the clock runs out inside.
During a lull, because the Raiders need to hunt food, find water, and search for fuel among the stray stragglers left on the roads, Max sneaks into the oil rig camp under a seeming surrender of peace. He has brought back one of their people: A survivor left for dead by the Raiders. But the survivor doesn't stay alive for long.
Surrounded by enemies on all sides, Max must rely upon his wits and choose a side.
The perfection of MAD MAX: THE ROAD WARRIOR, is that George Miller didn't try to remake MAD MAX again: a failing that Hollywood will apparently never stop making. Instead, THE ROAD WARRIOR is a stand alone tale. Instead of the continuing adventures, THE ROAD WARRIOR is a new adventure of the main character and the same world, that put it more in the sense of a series than a sequel: like James Bond movies. And it all still works! After nearly 30 years, MAD MAX: THE ROAD WARRIOR remains fresh, ferocious, heartfelt, and powerful!
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