Monday, May 18, 2015

MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981) - George Miller

Without a doubt, still my favorite Max of the bunch (Fury Road included). Lean, mean, visual storytelling. Dialogue only when necessary. The last 30 minutes is pre-CGI breakneck action filmmaking at its best. The chase, the stunts, the editing, those trucks! The end sequence alone easily puts it in my top 100 films of all time.

Not to mention the character. The Max Rockatansky of The Road Warrior is a jaded, cynical soul, a self-preserving sort with a streak of grey in his hair and a shredded leather ensemb to match. He is the Man With No Name in a land that no longer exists. He doesn't care if civilization lives or dies, only that he has enough gas to make it through the next chase. He has the wasteland's best dog for a sidekick, a pup who will ably hold a gun on a hostage when his hands are busy on the wheel.

In a pinch Max will drive your tanker of "guzzoline" for you, play decoy in a convoy, but only because he wants his goddamn car back. He doesn't have time for hope or friendship or female companionship (see Warrior Woman above). If you're lucky, he'll toss you a quarter can of his Dinky Doo Meat and Veggies dog food, but only after he's gotten his fill.

Max's feeling on kids? If they're scrappy and feral and good with a boomerang, he'll humor them, maybe tinkle out a few tunes for their amusement on an old windup music box. That said, he has absolutely no compunction about sending them onto the roof of a speeding oil tanker to retrieve the very last shotgun shell.

The Max of Road Warrior will always and forever be the Max I grew up with. he is the maddest, baddest of them all (the actor who played him notwithstanding). Though the film takes place in the Aussie post-apocalypse, I will always think of The Road Warrior as a classic Western and the Max as the wasteland's Wyatt Earp. I read somewhere George Miller credited Shane as a major influence. I need to watch Shane, get myself an Aussie Cattle Dog and a pair of scuffed leather chaps.

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