I stil remember certain details about the 80´s, even when i was very young at that time. And i especially remember our neighbor family The Ostwalds, because they used to get their hands on VHS films that i had no idea existed. They used to have a whole wall of VHS films, and i remember that i went through every tape, where i was especially fascinated about the covers. The Ostwalds owned a shop dowtown where they sold tobacco, candy, magazines, sodas, basically all the stuff you would want on a weekend. Next to their shop was a VHS video rental store, and The Ostwalds knew the owner, so they would get their hands on new VHS films from there, and this gave me some luck. I got to see some of the films they brought home. One of those films was Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, wich i thought had such a cool VHS cover. At that time i had no idea that this was the third film in the Mad Max franchise. Even if i was too young to watch Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, i enjoyed the film and loved the atmosphere of Mad Max, where people are stuck inside a apocalyptic world. It was also fun to see legendary music artist Tina Turner doing a role as the character Aunty Entity. I believe it was 2 years later, when i got to see the second Mad Max film The Road Warrior on VHS for the first time, as i found it on sale at a VHS store. I still remember the first time i watched this film, and i soon realised that this film is much better than Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. There were so many cool action scenes in The Road Warrior, and this film also had some really good characters as well. I did eventually watch the first film as well, but The Road Warrior was still the best in the franchise. Recently i was going through a list of films that turns 40 years old this year, and the year of 1981 had some really good releases. The Road Warrior was on this list, and i decided to revisit this film to see how i feel about it today. Does the dusty roads of The Road Warrior still work as effective today as it did in the 80´s, or have this film aged too much and don´t have much to offer?
The world have suffered through a global war and the collapse of civilization, where oil supplies were nearly exhausted. Haunted by the death of his family, former policeman Max Rockatansky ( Mel Gibson ) travel across the desert to find supplies, and survive against savages. Max manage to find an oil refinery, who seems to have a lot of supplies, as well as oil. But the compound is attacked by the desert savages known as "The Marauders", who wants all of their oil. The people who live on this compound will never let them in, and defend their ground. The people at the compound realise that they might be able to use Max to help them, to help them escape to a better world in harmony. Max agree on one condition, if he get his car back and give him as much fuel as he can carry. The only way to survive, is to risk everything on the highway.
When a film that was made 40 years ago have better looking highway action scenes than action films that are made today, i think that clearly proves that The Road Warrior was ahead of it´s time. This is one of the best desert action films ever made, and it is of course thanks to director George Miller and his oustanding camera work. Some of the highway battle scenes works so well, that you want to stand up and applaud infront of your TV screen. One of the biggest reasons why this film works so well, is thanks to the powerful acting performances, who are actually bad guys. Let us begin with the savage character known as Wez ( played by legendary actor Vernon Wells, who some of you might remember from the Schwarzenegger film Commando ). Wez have a mohawk hair cut, looks like a complete maniac and he have no compassion for any humans. As long as he gets to kill, nothing will stop him. Vernon Wells manage to bring out the insanity into the character of Wez, in his own unique way. The second character is the leader of The Maraders known as The Humungus ( played by Swedish actor Kjell Nilsson ). The Humungus looks like a muscle monster, who have a very cool look through his mask ( reminds me of Jason Voorhees ). Kjell have no problem delivering a character that you won´t forget, who is clearly a very powerful leader. So what about Mel Gibson as Mad Max? I think it is no secret that Mel knows exactly how to play Mad Max, and he does this wihout any flaws. One of the things i do think is good about the character of Mad Max, is that he does not need to talk a lot. You can see the pain and anger in his facial expressions, as he just focuses on surviving. You might think he have no heart at all, but that clearly changes towards the end as he tries to help a group of survivors on the highway. I am no big fan of car action movies, but if i would choose one film in this genre it would have to be The Road Warrior. This is how you make an action film on the highway, where there are no rules. Just imagine that they made these car scenes without any CGI effects, and made these scenes so well 40 years ago. If you want to experience a film where you actually feel the heat of the highway, The Road Warrior is the film to choose. A must see for action lovers, and car lovers as well. An iconic film in this genre that will live on to many generations ahead. If you ask me, the best work from legendary director George Miller.