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After Mad Max George Miller received a number of offers from Hollywood, including to direct First Blood. He met Terry Hayes when the latter did the novelisation of Mad Max and together they worked on a screenplay for another film, a special effects horror movie.

However after a while Miller became more interested in doing a sequel to Mad Max, as a larger budget would allow him to be more ambitious. He hired the old Metro Cinema in Kings Cross, and Brian Hannant came on board as co-writer and second unit director.


Miller says he was greatly influenced by the films of Akira Kurosawa. The movie was shot near Broken Hill over 12 weeks. The movie had to have several cuts to ensure it received an "M" rating.

The movie was a commercial success, earning $3.7 million in rentals in Australia and $11.3 million in the US and Canada. Mad Max 2 received critical acclaim and is regarded by many as one of the best films of 1981. The film holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of May 2010.


Film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four and praised its "skillful filmmaking," and called it "...a film of pure action, of kinetic energy", which is "...one of the most relentlessly aggressive movies ever made".

While Ebert points out that the movie does not develop its "...vision of a violent future world ... with characters and dialogue", and uses only the "...barest possible bones of a plot", he praises its action sequences.


Ebert calls the climactic chase sequence "...unbelievably well-sustained" and states that the "...special effects and stunts...are spectacular", creating a "...frightening, sometimes disgusting, and (if the truth be told) exhilarating" effect.

In his review for The New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote, "Never has a film's vision of the post-nuclear-holocaust world seemed quite as desolate and as brutal, or as action-packed and sometimes as funny as in George Miller's apocalyptic The Road Warrior, an extravagant film fantasy that looks like a sadomasochistic comic book come to life".


In his review for Newsweek, Charles Michener praised Mel Gibson's "easy, unswaggering masculinity", saying that "his hint of Down Under humor may be quintessentially Australian but is also the stuff of an international male star".

Gary Arnold, in his review for The Washington Post, wrote, "While he seems to let triumph slip out of his grasp, Miller is still a prodigious talent, capable of a scenic and emotional amplitude that recalls the most stirring attributes in great action directors like Kurosawa, Peckinpah and Leone".


Pauline Kael called Mad Max 2 a "mutant" film that was "...sprung from virtually all action genres", creating "...one continuous spurt of energy" by using "...jangly, fast editing".

However, Kael criticised director George Miller's "...attempt to tap into the universal concept of the hero", stating that this attempt "...makes the film joyless", "sappy", and "sentimental".


The film's depiction of a post-apocalyptic future was widely copied by other filmmakers and in science fiction novels, to the point that its gritty "...junkyard society of the future look...is almost taken for granted in the modern science-fiction action film."

The Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction says that Mad Max 2, "...with all its comic-strip energy and vividness...is exploitation cinema at its most inventive."


Richard Scheib calls Mad Max 2, "...one of the few occasions where a sequel makes a dramatic improvement in quality over its predecessor." He calls it a "kinetic comic-book of a film," an "... exhilarating non-stop rollercoaster ride of a film that contains some of the most exciting stunts and car crashes ever put on screen."

Scheib states that the film transforms the "...post-holocaust landscape into the equivalent of a Western frontier," such that "...Mel Gibson's Max could just as easily be Clint Eastwood's tight-lipped Man With No Name" helping "decent frightened folk" from the "marauding Redskins."


When Mad Max was released in 1980 in the United States, it didn't receive a proper release from American International Pictures as A.I.P. was in the final stages of a change of ownership after being bought by Filmways, Inc. a year earlier, and A.I.P.'s problems would hurt the popularity of the film, which was the opposite reaction than all the other nations of the world.

When Warner Bros. decided to release Mad Max 2 in the United States, they knew that the first film was not that popular. What they failed to recognize was that Mad Max was becoming popular, thanks to showings on premium pay cable channels, like HBO. However, this fact didn't come to mind whenever Warner Bros decided to change the name of Mad Max 2 into The Road Warrior.


The advertising for the film, including print ads, trailers, and T.V. commercials, didn't refer to the Max character at all, and all shied away from the fact that this was a sequel to Mad Max.

For the majority of viewers, their first inkling of this film being Mad Max 2, was when they saw the black and white, archivial footage from Mad Max, during the prologue of the film.




Resources: Wikipedia.org, imdb.com, cinemasquid.com






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PART TWO: THE ROAD WARRIOR

Against a backdrop of vintage documentary footage and clips from the movie Mad Max and other archival footage of war, a narrator's voice (Harold Baigent) in the near future remembers the time of chaos after the collapse of the oil-based economy, and the apocalyptic world war that followed.


The narrator relates how gangs of scavengers took over the roads, pillaging for fuel, and how ordinary men were broken in the decay: men like Max (Mel Gibson), the Road Warrior, who lost his wife and infant child to the gangs, and became an empty "shell of a man."


Max and his dog are in a car chase, two cars and a motorbike pursuing Max's V8 Interceptor. Max deploys his booster and outruns his pursuers, wrecking the two cars.


The motorbike riders pull up as Max is collecting fuel from one of the wrecked cars, and the bike's driver, Wez (Vernon Wells), pulls an arrow from his own arm, screaming defiance at Max.


Wez rides off, leaving Max on his own. Searching the wrecked truck, Max finds the mutilated body of a dead child, and picks up the child's tiny music box, amused by the tune it plays.


Max drives off a short time later. Max spots a gyrocopter by the side of the road. He approaches cautiously, but when he catches the snake guarding the 'copter, a man camouflaged with sand bursts from the ground, aiming a crossbow at him.


The Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence) has been using the 'copter to attract the curious, and get their fuel once the snake has done its work.


Max warns him the Interceptor's full tanks are booby-trapped, and when Max's dog attacks the Gyro Captain, tables are turned.


To save his own skin, the Gyro Captain offers to show Max an oil-refinery not far away, suggesting that the group that lives there will give Max all the fuel he needs. Max takes the man prisoner and drives to the refinery.


They arrive on a hill next to the refinery to find it under siege from a gang using all sorts of odd-looking vehicles, from motorbikes to hot-rods.


The gang is under the leadership of a huge, masked man calling himself Lord Humungus (Kjell Nilsson). As he watches through binoculars, Max spots Wez arguing with Humungus.


Max, the dog and the Gyro Captain settle in for the night. The Gyro Captain pleads for his freedom, but Max reminds him the deal was Max wouldn't kill him.


In the morning four cars make a sortie from the refinery compound, heading in separate directions, with Humungus' people in pursuit. One car is intercepted close to their hide-out, and its driver and co-driver captured and tortured.


Watching through binoculars, Max and the Gyro Captain see one is a woman, who is raped and then viciously murdered. Max arrives at the scene after all except the rapist have left.


He disposes of the rapist, and releases the badly wounded male victim, Nathan (David Downer), who offers Max as much gas as he likes if he takes him back to the compound.


Pulling up outside the compound, Max gets out and enters the compound at gunpoint, carrying Nathan over his shoulder.


Max's car (with the dog) is brought inside by the compound's Mechanic (Steve J. Spears), as the leader of the refinery-people, Pappagallo (Michael Preston), interrogates Max about the fate of the other escapees.


Max can tell him nothing, and points out he just wants his gas, as Nathan promised. However, Nathan dies and Pappagallo informs Max that whatever arrangement he had died with Nathan.


Just then, Humungus' gang approaches, and the gate to the compound (an old school-bus, reinforced with armor plating) is closed, forcing the refinery people to let Max stay inside, cuffed to a pipe.


Humungus tells the refinery-people he intercepted all their escapees, and has learned from the captives that they were sent out to find a semi-tractor big enough to haul the fuel-filled tanker from the compound.




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