ROAD WARRIOR, THE APPROVED - Content
ROAD WARRIOR, THE APPROVED
From the Aug. 6, 1982, Deseret News
THE ROAD WARRIOR — Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Vernon Wells, Emil Minty; rated R (violence, nudity, sex).
"The Road Warrior" is a sequel to a film you most likely never saw, a little, low-budget Australian actioner called "Mad Max," and in Australia "The Road Warrior" is called "Mad Max 2."
The main thing "Mad Max" had going for it was style. It was slam-bang, foot-to-the-peddle, pull-out-all-the-stops action – and "The Road Warrior" is more of the same. But it's even better and more stylish.
This is what they used to call "a man's picture," pure action with one high-pitched stunt sequence after another.
"Warrior" is set in the future, in a time when cities have become burned-out junk heaps and the most priceless possession you can have is gasoline.
Max, played by Mel Gibson ("Gallipoli"), is a silent loner, having lost his wife and child to a sadistic motorcycle gang in "Mad Max." He was a cop back then but now he's Clint Eastwood, The Man With No Name that populated the ‘60s spaghetti Westerns that made Eastwood a star.
Indeed, "The Road Warrior" is little more than a Western itself. It's the Indians attacking the fort, only here the Indians are members of a motorcycle gang, all dressed in leather and with hair that only a punk rocker could love, and the fort is an oil refinery, or what's left of it. A small group of survivors has barricaded itself inside and hopes to make a break for it with enough gasoline to find a place to start over. But the bikers have other ideas.
Then in walks Max, and he seems to be the only hope. Along with him is the loony pilot of a gyrocopter, offering comic relief and helping Max help the survivors.
It's a simple plot line, and it's really just an excuse for a string of fantastic stunts and special effects. But what makes it work is style. Are you listening, Hal Needham? Director George Miller has lifted "The Road Warrior" up from the rubble of films like Needham's "Megaforce" and "The Cannonball Run," and given us an adventure that keeps us on the edge of our seats with suspense and wonder.
The bad guys are truly evil, with their wrist crossbows and nasty looks, plundering and pillaging and raping anything in their path.
That's developed early, so we won't feel any qualms about Max's being just as nasty, as he violently dispatches them one by one. Along the way, he's joined by a youngster with a deadly boomerang and we shift for a while from "A Fistful of Dollars" to "Shane."
But action is the emphasis here.
Occasionally the low budget shows through, as with a couple of scenes that are very obviously speeded-up camera work, but for the most part the film is replete with gorgeous photography and harrowing stunts.
Though not as smooth or slick as "Raiders of the Lost Ark," there are comparisons, as "Warrior" is as much a roller coaster ride as that one was.
Rated R for violence, though not as gruesome as some that have come through town lately, "The Road Warrior" also has a few brief nude scenes, including a rape viewed through a telescope.
If action is your thing, this film won't disappoint you. When you leave the theater, you'll be as exhausted as the drivers of the battered vehicles that fill this film.