Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Road Warrior

I haven't seen George Miller's The Road Warrior in probably 15 years. A lot has changed since then with George Miller. He directed the kid friendly Happy Feet and is signed on to do a film version of The Justice League. Miller originally struck gold with Mad Max which told the story of a Australian cop trying to avenge the death of his family from a vicious biker gang. The Road Warrior is a continuation in a sense, but more of a reimagination of Max set in a world torn apart. The film preludes with a brief explanation of the superpowers fighting a great war over oil (Sound familiar) and eventually falling into a barren wasteland. Scavengers hunt for petro along deserted stretches of highway where the only way to keep alive is to never stop moving.

Max (Mel Gibson) has a tricked out police interceptor with a sawed off shotgun, but no ammo for the weapon. Max tangles with road gang led by some guy in a Jason Voorhees mask and Bennett (Vernon Wells) from Commando. Max shakes free and soon meets a crazy inventor(Bruce Spence) who tells him of a working oil derrick with unlimited amounts of gas. Max decides to investigate and makes a deal to help get the people of this operation to safety in exhange for all the octane he can carry.

The Road Warrior was the biggest budget film ever made at the time in Australia. The stunts and action sequences are all old school with no CGI. Elaborate chase scenes are done with no fat and all meat. This a streamlined action film with no stopping. All of that creates a superbly desolate and thrilling future world. Miller and company obviously knew what they wanted to do and they do it well. The dialogue is limited, but the film doesn't drag because of it. The real stars here are machines that keep the people alive. It left me quite thrilled to rewatch the third film in the series later this week.


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