A strong candidate for the designation of most thrilling action movie ever made (the turbo-charged exhilaration of its full-throttle highway chases has never been equaled), the second part of George Miller's post-apocalyptic trilogy is also a magnificently imagined movie myth. Like the Star Wars
trilogy (by that other George) the Mad Max
films draw their inspiration from the works of mythologist Joseph Campbell. In the 1979 original, Max (Mel Gibson) is a policeman, the last guardian of civilization and order in a devastated world reduced to chaos. But when a leather-clad gang of sadomasochistic speed demons mows down Max's family, his remaining connections to humanity are also permanently severed. After brutally exacting his revenge, Max wanders off into the wasteland alone, "a burned out shell of a man" who (to paraphrase The Searchers
) is destined to wander forever between the winds. In The Road Warrior
, Max rediscovers a sliver of his shattered humanity, and a spark of redemption, when he helps an embattled colony of pioneers fight off the savages who are after that most precious of all commodities: "guzzline." Max is transformed into a legendary hero, just as Mel Gibson was catapulted to international movie stardom. With its final stirring images, The Road Warrior
transcends its genre (whatever that may be--science fiction? Western? action adventure?) and becomes something timeless. It's a great movie. --Jim Emerson
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.