A strong candidate for the designation of most thrilling action movie ever made (the turbo-charged exhilaration of its full-throttle highway chases has never been equaled), the second part of George Miller’s post-apocalyptic trilogy is also a magnificently imagined movie myth. Like the Star Wars trilogy (by that other George) the Mad Max films draw their inspiration from the works of mythologist Joseph Campbell. In the 1979 original, Max (Mel Gibson) is a policeman, the last guardian of civilization and order in a devastated world reduced to chaos. But when a leather-clad gang of sadomasochistic speed demons mows down Max’s family, his remaining connections to humanity are also permanently severed. After brutally exacting his revenge, Max wanders off into the wasteland alone, “a burned out shell of a man” who (to paraphrase The Searchers) is destined to wander forever between the winds. In The Road Warrior, Max rediscovers a sliver of his shattered humanity, and a spark of redemption, when he helps an embattled colony of pioneers fight off the savages who are after that most precious of all commodities: “guzzline.” Max is transformed into a legendary hero, just as Mel Gibson was catapulted to international movie stardom. With its final stirring images, The Road Warrior transcends its genre (whatever that may be—science fiction? Western? action adventure?) and becomes something timeless. —Jim Emerson
Dr. George Miller, the original Aussie Renaissance man, has divided his life between two great passions: medicine and cinema. Consequently, his most enduring big-screen works as a writer/director/producer — arguably, the Mad Max series and Lorenzo’s Oil — combine these interests in subtle and not-so-subtle (but consistently electrifying) ways.
Born in 1945 in the bustling metropolis of Brisbane, Queensland, Northeastern Australia, Miller was christened George Miliotis by his Greek immigrant parents, the Balloyoulus, but he anglicized his surname as a young man. He grew up in the nearby bucolic town of Chinchilla, Queensland, and developed an enduring infatuation with cinema from an early age, but medicine (and more specifically, the physiology of the human body) entranced him with competing force. He and his twin brother, John, thus enrolled jointly at the New South Wales Medical School in the late ‘60s, and George interned at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney upon graduation… read more
From a making-of documentary on George Miller’s Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981).
A real blast of a sequel, less violent but a lot more spectacular.
Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest is done again, as Kurosawa did in Yojimbo, Leone in Per un pugno di dollari, and the Coens in… read review