on 16 December 2000
I bought "Mad Max 2" (aka "The Road Warrior") on DVD today - my all-time action movie favourite. I've watched it on video more than 30 times, where the editing, music and action sequences form one of the very best action movies ever made. It is violent, yes, but not in the splatter movie way. Instead, it is tough, grim and violent without being gory. The DVD is a Zone 2 release (Europe), and I began to suspect foul play when I saw the running time: 87 minutes. When I came home, I checked it against my British video version, which is 92 minutes, and the US release, which is 96. Dreading the worst, I started watching the DVD... And yes, the censors had been there and cut or shortened several scenes. Mad as h*ll, and disgusted as well, I stopped watching the travesty. I will return it to the shop, as the cuts made it unwatchable. I absolutely _hate_ censorship, and the DVD version has severely stunted what should have been a welcome addition to my DVD shelf.
on 23 April 2006
This movie, the second in the Mad Max trilogy, is easily the best of the three. Visually, it's very distinctive. The first movie showed a society breaking down in the post apocalyptic world. By this movie, it's broken down. The first movie showed the immediate aftermath. There were still working phones, power lines, people trying to go on with their normal lives, etc. There was even a police force, of which Max was a member, trying to maintain order. Now, society has descended into complete anarchy. Civilization's infrastructure has broken down completely. In the first movie you saw shops, service stations, hospitals. Now you see people scavenging in a wrecked world. Max's car is no longer a gleaming black vehicle, but a delapidated, dirty old beater, its engine still in top shape, but its interior stripped, and its body covered in dust, battered and old. Max's leather police uniform is no longer immaculate, but torn and patched. Visually, this movie set a new standard, and like "Star Wars" and "Blade Runner", changed the way movies in its genre were made. Even the setting works in telling the story. Where the first film featured country with trees and green grass, this movie is set in a blasted desert, further accentuating the sense of collapse.
And this movie's quality doesn't end with the visuals. It has a great, exciting story, very reminiscent of the pulp adventures of old. It's hero, a wanderer, a uniquely skilled and deadly loner, is a mythic archetype. The actors are all perfectly cast. Mel Gibson, with only a few lines of dialogue, turns in a compelling, emotional performance, showing the transformation from the happy, loving husband and father of the first film, to the wounded, burnt out shell of a man seen here. In this film, Max is a tough, fang-scarred old wolf, who has absolutely nothing to live for, but whose survival instinct, combined with his toughness and resourcefulness, just won't let him quit.
The other characters in this movie are also unique and memorable. Bruce Spence's gyro captain is a likeable opportunist. Mike Preston's Papagallo is the determined, idealistic leader, in over his head, but trying his best. Vernon Wells makes a great, flamboyant villain. And Kjell Nilsson is the Humungus, whose face we never see; leader of a vicious band of trash, whose hulking physique, and savage followers seem at odds with his articulate speech, and ostensibly conciliatory manner. The story and characters elevate this movie over the host of low budget imitators that followed. But the film is not short on action either. And George Miller was a gifted director who put to film what remain the best car chase scenes ever shot, right down to this day. Action lovers will find plenty of excitement with this movie. It's a terrible shame the third film wasn't very good, as it killed the prospects of a long running series. This is sad because Max, wandering lone wolf that he is, is a character who, like James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, or the Conan of the old pulp magazines is eminently suitable to a series of adventures.
A previous reviewer has claimed that this is missing around 10% of the footage found in the US release. This is incorrect. There is indeed a time difference between the Region 1 (US) and Region 2 (UK) DVDs of about 5 minutes but this is down to the conversion in video standards (I won't go in to details!)from NTSC (US) to PAL (UK). This generally results in a decreased runtime of around 7 ot 8%.
This version of Mad Max 2 is the full US theatrical version, which itself was slightly cut for a few seconds of violence, before reaching our shores. Aside from those precuts made in the US this film is untouched before theatrical release. Oddly the original Warner Brothers UK VHS release has these few seconds of violence remaining!
This stands as one of the best action movies ever, and the final chase sequence is staggering. This movie does indeed deserve a Special Edition with lots of extras and a decent picture (which is sadly lacking here).
on 24 April 2008
Of the three Mad Max films this is my favourite. The picture and sound are not going to blow you away, so this isn't the title to show off to your mates. This isn't a fault of BluRay but more limitations of the original film materials. A bonus on this BluRay is an audio commentary with director George Miller and cinematographer Dean Semler. This offers a great insight into the early 80s Australian independant film making process. And they too point out sections where they would have done things differently had they the money and the resources. This is an improvement on the original DVD issue and certainly worth the money for Mad Max fans. Languages are English, Castilian Spanish, German, French, Itallian. Subtitles are English, Castilian Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish. There is no indication on the packaging to show if this is region coded. It plays on my region B machine.
Also known as The Road Warrior, this film was the sequel to the low budget slice of punk oddness/the revenge genre that appeared in 1979. Here George Miller had more of a budget & presented a post-apocalyptic world in a manner that along with Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) would influence style for the rest of the decade (witness appalling films in this style- like Space Hunter & Bronx Warriors).
The opening voicover recaps the events of the first film & the collapse of society (we discover the narrator to be the Feral Kid at the end of the film)- we then cut into a desert wasteland where Max (Mel Gibson) travels as a post-industrial cowboy of sorts. He meets significant people: homosexual thug Wez & the amusing Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence). They exist in a world where petrol has become the new currency, and eyes turn to an Oil Refinery that has become a fortress. Max eventually going inside & getting caught between them & the marauding savages of the Humungous.
The film is shot brilliantly, looking like Sergio Leone shooting Burroughs' The Wild Boys- and is complemented by Brian May's Bernard Herrmann-inspired score. The supporting cast is littered with amusing characters- there is plenty of humour alongside the violence. The action sequences are great setpieces- from Wez's intrusion of the fortress (ending with one of his few spoken lines: "You can run- but you can't hide!")to Max's acquisition of an abandoned tanker, to the final confrontation on a lost highway (which ends with what would become a horror cliche). Miller delivers a film with such panache, that many would attempt to imitate this in the years that followed: see Waterworld (then again, don't...), Hardware, elements of Near Dark, Duran's Wild Boys promo , The Terminator etc
The follow-up, Beyond Thunderdome (1985), was terrible- not raising hopes for the proposed fourth chapter Fury Road. The Road Warrior is an excellent blend of SF, updating the Spaghtetti Western to a post-apocalyptic world (elements of High Plains Drifter, Django & A Fistful of Dollars can be detected). It stands out as an original film in the SF genre- this & the action set too high standards for this kind of film. Hence drivel like The Postman becoming the standard...
The Road Warrior is also a key film of the 80s, one that fits in with the New Romantic aesthetic in terms of fashion- a lineage of punk/new romantic that can be traced back to films like A Clockwork Orange (1972) & If...(1968). Unlike Mad Max or the second sequel, it stands above the franchise as a key film of the era- and one that has dated very well. A classic, of sorts...
on 9 February 2011
If you're reading these reviews, the chances are you will have have seen Mad Max 2 many times and are well aware that it is one of (If not the) greatest road/stunt movie of all time. This review is for the UK Blu-Ray release. The picture and sound are a vast improvement on the DVD issue and are, at times, astounding for a film that is 30 years old. The colours are bright and vibrant with a nice sharp clarity in most scenes. The night shots are a little messy by comparison, but this is only a minor quibble.
Fans will be pleased to know that the old violence cuts (The more graphic arrow and boomerang footage) have been restored. Unfortunately, this release is missing some of Papagallo's dialogue from the compound scene (Specifically, when he says he's prepared to stay behind alone and will leave Humungus's gang nothing). This extra footage is present in old VHS versions and television broadcasts of MM2 and I can't understand why Warner Brothers have chosen to omit it on Blu-Ray.
The extras are pretty basic, with little more than a theatrical trailer and feature commentary. It's a real shame, as with a complete print and possibly a few more extras, this would undoubtedly be a five-star disc. If you're lucky enough to possess an original VHS version of Mad Max 2, I wouldn't bin it just yet.
on 28 March 2012
This Blu-Ray has the following audio tracks: English (5.1), Castillian Spanish (5.1), German (5.1), French (2.0), Spanish (2.0)
Subtitles: English, Castillian Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish.
Special features: New commentary by George Miller and cinematographer Dean Semler. Introduction by Leonard Martin. Theatrical trailer.
on 2 May 2015
Burnt out former Australian policeman Max Rockatansky, now known as "The Road Warrior", is now roaming the highways of post-apocalyptic Australia, years after he avenged his wife and son and his partner who were murdered by the motorcycle gang led by the evil Toecutter.
searching for sources of fuel, stumbles upon a gasoline refinery home to a community of survivors who are struggling for survival and finds the community is being terrorised by a band of brutal motorcyclists led by The Humangus and his finest warrior, Wez, who bid to loot all the gasoline from the refinery for themselves.
The community hires Max, as Max agrees to help the community transport the gasoline across the highway and fight for freedom, as they are pursued by the Humangus and his warriors.......
Ow this is more like it. After the little misstep that was Mad Max, Miller throws everything he has and can at the screen, and thankfully, it all sticks, and remains probably the greatest Oz-ploitation movie ever made.
It's all due to Gibsons wonderful, brooding screen presence, simple premise, and wonderful execution.
It's basically Assault on Precinct 13 meets Duel, people trying to protect their fuel from some very overwhelming villains, and they hire the man with no name to help them, and it all ends with one of the greatest action set pieces of the eighties.
Many have tried to capture Millers eye for action (most noticeably Marshall with Doomsday), but you cannot recreate the genuine craziness of what is The Road Warrior.
And that last image of Gibson standing at the roadside, is a work of art, a really strong closing image.
It's groundbreaking stuff, see it, and prepare for your jaw to drop.
on 30 July 2014
MAD MAX 2 aka THE ROAD WARRIOR picks up years after the events of George Miller's classic cop/revenge movie MAD MAX.
Former cop Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), traumatized after the violent loss of his wife and infant child, now is a drifter driving around the Australian Wastelands.
Gasoline has become scarce and is heavily fought over, right at the opening Max has to defend a few drops of the precious gas against marauders.
He runs into The Gyro Captain (wonderful: Bruce Spence), who ambushes Max when he checks his autogyro for fuel to take. Max overpowers him and takes him prisoner. He tells Max about an oil refinery nearby and they both check the refinery out from a safe distance. There they witness the compound is actually under siege by "The Humungus" and his group of marauders, two of whom Max had to fend off earlier. The raiders try to convince a group of settlers to surrender the refinery in exchange for safe passage out of the territory, but the settlers' leader Pappagallo (Mike Preston) refuses. A group of settlers tries to make a break for it and abandon the refinery, but the marauders kill them and rape the girl.
Max takes a wounded survivor back to the compound in exchange for a can of gas, but the man dies.
The marauders return and Max offers the settlers a different deal:
he will retrieve an abandoned Mack truck he spotted earlier, which is capable of hauling the tank trailer the settlers own, in exchange for his vehicle which they seized, and as much gasoline he can take with him. The settlers accept.
With the help of the Gyro Pilot he makes good on his promise but is attacked on the way back to the refinery. Once again under siege, the settlers with the help of Max make a break for it. The stunning finale is a huge car/truck chase in which the settler must defend their truck and fight off an army of marauders.
I can't say whether I like MAD MAX 1 or 2 better, both are brilliant and in my opinion Gibson's best movies. MAD MAX 2 is not a simple rehash of the first movie, thankfully it features a completely different story and theme - it is not a vengeance/vigilante film at all, MAD MAX 2 is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi/action movie.
Since MAD MAX 1 had a very limited theatrical release in the US and was not a grossing success therefore, the distributors figured the original title MAD MAX 2 would be confusing, so it was retitled THE ROAD WARRIOR. Gibson was relatively unknown at the time, so the original US trailers did not feature him, but focused on car chases and action scenes instead.
The actors are all first class, including of course Mel Gibson, whose portrayal of the traumatized drifter is very convincing and well played, Bruce Spence as The Gyro Captain is just brilliant and Mike Preston as the settlers' leader Pappagallo is great as well. Unfortunately some of his dialogue still remains on the cutting room floor, as this is the "International version" of the film, not the Australian version.
Excellent screenplay and story written by George Miller, Terry Hayes and Brian Hannant who really came forth with a new story instead of a carbon copy of the original.
Miller also did a fantastic directing job, well paced action sequences and great car chases and stunts make this one of the best 80s action movies.
The cinematography (Dean Semler) is stunning, capturing the beauty of the Australian Outback just perfectly. Very effective score by Brian May who also composed the score of MAD MAX 1.
MAD MAX 2 is action at its very best and a worthy successor to its predecessor. Avoid MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME though, the hugely disappointing PG-13 finale of the trilogy.
RATING: 10 / 10
Reviewed version: 2007 Warner Bros. US Blu-Ray
Feature running time: 96 mins. (International version all MPAA cuts restored)
Rating: Not Rated (MPAA) / 18 (BBFC)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 / 16x9
Audio: English 5.1, French 2.0, Spanish 2.0
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: Audio Commentary, Introduction by Leonard Maltin, Theatrical Trailer
Region: A, B, C (region free)
Despite the cover claiming this to be the R-rated version, this actually is the Unrated version that contains all the violence trimmed for the R rating in the United States.
It's post nuclear war Australia and the precious commodity is gasoline, all the varying degrees of survivors pursue it in anyway they can.
Director George Miller is here armed with considerably more cash than was available for the first cult hit offering in the series, and boy does it show as we get more destruction, even more outlandish stunts, and a fully realised apocalyptic vision of the future. It's incredible to note that there is no CGI here, this is pure raw stunt work, the film plays out as a standard good versus evil tale, but it's the realisation of the crash bang wallop sequences that lift it to being one of the most important sci-fi action movies of modern times.
The baddies are a seething mass of leather, masks, and mohawks, they scowl as they rape pillage and plunder anything in their path, they will stop at nothing to get the craved gasoline that is so important in this world. The good guys are joined by the road warrior himself, Mad Max Rockatansky, a former police officer who turned to being the angry lone warrior of the road after his wife and child were murdered. Can these honest folk survive the onslaught of the crazed plunderers?
Well it's high octane entertainment finding out, and the pace is relentless. The direction is first rate, the scenes are put together brilliantly, and the sound is incredible for those with home cinema. Whilst the film may be guilty of having little to no dialogue for the most part, it really isn't needed as it's all in the action, so strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.
Brilliant film that is still a benchmark for the genre. 9/10