The Road Warrior, known as Mad Max 2 in Australia, is, simply put, one of the all time classics. It is, without a doubt, one of the greatest action stories ever put to film and, perhaps, one of the all time great films, period. It is sort of the action film answer to Citizen Kane or Casablanca. The movie is well crafted and the story well told. Even with the breakneck pace and chaos within the story, the movie remains clear and coherent the whole way through, and is one of the all time must download movies.
There really aren’t many movies out there that work so perfectly on so many levels. In the pantheon of action films, it’s comparable to Robocop, and not much else. It’s very strong, full of drama, action and, at times, humor and even tragedy.
If you haven’t seen it, and somehow have no idea what it’s about: Mad Max Rockatansky is a former cop wandering a wasted outback in Australia. Food and water have become scarce after World War III, as has gasoline. Max is trying to find enough resources just to keep himself alive from day to day as he wanders across the wasteland.
Eventually he must come to terms with his own humanity or lack thereof. Throughout the previous film, the first Mad Max, Max lost touch with his own humanity in the pursuit of vengeance. Now he must reaffirm himself as human, as a member of society, or… What’s left of it, anyways.
The movie is essentially one long chase scene, stopping here and there just long enough to give us a breather and some more character and story development. Of course, the majority of character and story is developed through the action, which is how it’s supposed to be. Too often, action is only thrown in to get in the way of the story and put the viewer’s brain on pause. Here, the action IS the story, just as it was in the days of the old westerns.
The movie really comes down to the nature of heroism and righteousness. George Miller, the film’s director, went into the Joseph Campbell mythology to develop the story for the film, and it paid off. The movie feels timeless, an instant classic. It will inspire you, and there’s a reason that many Australians consider it to be “their Star Wars”.
It will likely go down as one of the great westerns and western influenced films. It should stand alongside Stagecoach in that regard, in that it really is just great action and physical heroism from beginning to end.
The movie is loud, spectacular, full of crazy characters and stunts, and, perhaps, one of the ten greatest films ever made, depending on how you evaluate films on a personal level. At the very least, it is one of the most well crafted and well told action stories of all time, and certainly belongs on your download queue if you haven’t seen it yet.
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