The Road Warrior

"There has been too much violence. Too much pain. But I have an honorable compromise. Just walk away. Give me your pump, the oil, the gasoline, and the whole compound, and I'll spare your lives. Just walk away and we'll give you a safe passageway in the wastelands. Just walk away and there will be an end to the horror."    - the Humungus

release year: 1981
genre: post-apocalyptic action
viewing setting: home DVD 2/25/14 and many, many times before, dating back to the early 1980s

synopsis: In the wasted remains of the world, people fight over fuel.

impressions: This is a classic. It was what I call a template movie, like Die Hard: the first of its kind, with many imitators afterward, none of which matched it. Back in 1981, no one had ever seen anything like this before...a bleak, deadly world dominated by the strong and aggressive, with no chance of anything close to a normal life, and high-speed battles on the roads using guns, bows, chains, spears, flamethrowers, and anything else that could be brought into play. The characters were a mix of flamboyant and crude, many with mohawks. The highlight of this movie is the 12 minutes of nonstop high-speed road battle near the end.

acting: A very young Mel Gibson is Max, the burned-out and quietly competent loner. Bruce Spence is a goofy guy with a helicopter. Michael Preston is the visionary leader of the refinery people. Emil Minty is a wild kid who grunts and throws a razor-sharp boomerang. Virginia Hey is a bow-wielding warrior woman. Kjell Nilsson is the gigantic, iron-masked evil leader. Vernon Wells is the wild main evil henchman.

final word: Classic of both the early 1980s and of post-apocalyptic mayhem.

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