Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Review of "The Road Warrior," starring Mel Gibson

Review of

The Road Warrior, starring Mel Gibson

Five out of five stars

 This remains one of the best action/disaster movies of all time. The climactic chase scene with orchestrated mayhem involving all of the vehicles still amazes me after seeing it more times than I have fingers and toes. I also consider it Mel Gibson’s greatest performance as Mad Max, a man with apparently no heart and a killer that remains an honorable man.

 The setting is the Australian outback in a post-apocalyptic world where brutal gangs rule, pillaging and destroying all that is not part of their organization. Gasoline is called “juice” and is the most precious commodity. Multiple lives will be spent in order to acquire a few gallons.

 The ultimate prize is a permanent location over an oil well where the inhabitants are refining and storing the fuel. A gang led by a man called Lord Humungus has the site under siege and time is running out on the inhabitants. Their goal is to break out and travel over 2,000 miles to a place of fresh water and greenery. To them, it is paradise.

 Even though the performance of Gibson is first rate, the roles of the supporting characters are strong and at times more effective than Gibson. Bruce Spence plays the gyro captain, a man that flies a gyrocopter powered by a VW engine that is air-cooled, which reduces the weight. While he is not much of a warrior, he is easily overpowered by Max, he remains a man with a sense of humor and is in his own way very capable. One of the best scenes is when he wipes his mouth in the manner of a fine diner after eating dog food out of a can.

 Another strong performance is put in by Vernon Wells as Wez, a psychotic member of the Humungus gang. When his boy toy is killed, he goes out of control to the point that Humungus puts him in chains. To many, the most memorable character is the Feral Kid, a young boy that lives near the permanent compound, communicates by grunts and growls, moves in and out of the compound via tunnels and sports a deadly metal boomerang.

 This is a movie that you can watch many times and suddenly spot a feature that you never noticed before. As someone that has studied ways in which civilization can be restored after a global disaster, I pay attention to ways in which the good side could better fight back against the Humungus gang. A gasoline bomb catapult always comes to mind.

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