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Road Warrior (Mad Max 2)

A proto-cyberpunk hero's tale set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Director George Miller draws from every action-adventure genre (esp. road and biker films) to build a soap box from which to talk about myth and heroics. It's a multi-layered presentation of comic-book tragedy, cosmic humor, and the universal quest for non-renewable resources. The desolate desert setting is the same as the first Max movie, but this one is all punched up and plummed out with nifty street tech and a cast of post-nuclear outlaws and leather-clad law men. The higher aspirations of the film fizzle out quickly, leaving us with lots of high octane action, fancy f/x, and outrageous costumes (no complaints there).

Mel Gibson returns as the stone-cold stud hero, this time joined by Bruce Spence and Vernon Wells.

The third movie in the trilogy, "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" (released in 1985), was too much of everything 'cept substance. Why is it that fat budgets always seem to lead to flabby scripts and lazy, joyless performances?

(G. Branwyn)

The Road Warrior
available on home video.

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George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and many of the other action/adventure directors of the 70's and 80's were fascinated by Joseph Campbell's book "The Hero With a Thousand Faces." They wanted to bring back the mythic-level Hollywood adventure film as a way of reanimating the hero myths now dormant in our culture. George Miller was also influenced by Campbell's books while making his Max trilogy, especially The Road Warrior. It is interesting to note that some of the Bill Moyer's interview series with Joseph Campbell was filmed at The Skywalker Ranch. Star Wars models can be seen in the background as Campbell uses clips from the saga to illustrate his universal hero myths.

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© 1998 The Computer Lab
Gareth Branwyn -

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