Of all the movies of the Mad Max trilogy this one is the one that has been aired on television the most since its release and therefor is the most well-known film of the series, most of the times even considered the best. This movie, with its extravagant portrayal of civilization (or the lack of it) in an post-apocalyptic future, is responsible for movies like Waterworld and the more recent Doomsday. But it all started back in 1981 when the world really got to know Mad Max. The original Mad Max was never a huge hit outside of Australia so in 1981 this movie was released in amongst other the US as The Road Warrior. So let go back to 1981 and hit the road!
The Road Warrior starts off with a lengthy prologue about how oil became rare after a war between two warrior tribes. It doesn’t get much clearer than that. Was this something globally or were the two tribes native Australians? Doesn’t matter, Australia is a wasteland populated by small communities and sole survivors crossing the wasteland. The country is filled with deserted vehicles, their drivers have fled the scene or are dead. The vehicles are stripped from their gasoline. Something everybody is in search for, which made me wonder: these people all want gasoline because it is so rare, yet they all drive useless circles with their vehicles, vehicles which all are very fuel-inefficient. Other than Max eating a can of dog food we don’t see anyone really eat. In my opinion growing food would be something more useful to do that hunting for fuel for your pimp-mobile. But the Black Gold is everybody’s obsession in this wasteland filled with guys in the most gayest outfits they could probably find. The movie basically puts Max between two groups; a bunch of hostile males wearing said gay outfits who roam the lands and attacking everyone who they come upon. Some of the males rape females they find, but other than that it’s obviously clear that they really have this tight man-to-man thing going on. The other side is a small colony of people who have a working refinery (a field of vegetables was nowhere to be found), women, children and a school-bus that functions as a gate to their guarded territory. Now the inhabitants of this colony want to leave their refinery and head to the coast with a lot of oil, the gay hostiles want to take over the refinery and kill all those civilized people. Luckily for these people Max is here kick some ass and eat dog food.
Of course the plot is preposterous and the acting of the entire post apocalyptic Village People is dreadful but the movie does have its charm and makes up for quite a fun 90 minutes in which the stunts with the cars are actually real. The lack of CGI and the rawness of the chases are really a plus. Especially the big end sequence in which Max drives a customized truck and is under attack of 10+ vehicles filled with muscled versions of Boy George. And yes they really want to hurt Max, they really want to make him cry.
But is a school movie with a high nostalgic factor and was a major influence on every other post apocalyptic themed movie afterwards. It might have even inspired the makers of the Friday The 13th series as the leader of the Butty Boys wears a hockey mask. Since you don’t see his face he has to act with his body. Just watch it if only for that, he acts like a guy in a Power Ranger suit.