Friday, May 27, 2011

The Road Warrior

Netflix says...1981 R 95 minutes
In this sequel to the dystopian action-adventure Mad Max, Mel Gibson returns as the heroic loner who drives the dusty roads of a postapocalyptic Australian Outback in an unending search for gasoline. Arrayed against him and the other scraggly defendants of a fuel-depot encampment are the bizarre warriors commanded by the charismatic Lord Humungus (Kjell Nilsson), a violent leader whose scruples are as barren as the surrounding landscape.

The 73rd Virgin says...
Take "The Seven Samurai" and "Shane", mash them together and squeeze down to 95 speeding minutes of action and offhand storytelling. More than any other action movie, except maybe "Samurai" the viewer always knows where they are. The long, almost silent set-up scenes early on show you the layout of the whole movie so you're never confused again, and give director George Miller the luxury of non-stop action at the end.

It is so well written that minor characters are described in great detail in 5 seconds or less. It takes 3 seconds of bad guy Lord Wez's boy-toy wanting in on some rape action, and one disapproving moment from Wez, shot from about a half-mile away, through a telescope, with no audible dialogue, to tell us all we need to know. Everyone knows the old guy with the oil pumping technocrats who wears a helmet and ribbons and thinks he's in charge, but you may also notice his miltary jacket is actually a suit coat with faint pin stripes. Or the sheepish grin on the face of the paraplegic master mechanic as he tries to douse the Molotov cocktail that is on fire in his lap, preceded a couple scenes earlier with no more than a few seconds of argument in the side of the frame about whether he should be on the truck defending it in the first place. We can see that Lord Hummungus is scarred under the hockey mask, but we never know how or why and he never takes off the mask. Doesn't matter except to know it's there. The story is almost nothing - but scene after scene of off-hand throwaway detail creates a convincing in-depth and sort of humorous alternate reality, and then blows it up real good.

"Mad Max 2 - The Road Warrior" was the international title since the original Mad Max was a hit everywhere but the U.S.

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