The Road Warrior

Rated R 94 minutes 2013

George Miller's 1981 sequel to his 1980 sleeper, Mad Max. Set in a postapocalyptic Australia, where nomadic tribes battle each other for precious gasoline, it's a highly stylized, roaringly dynamic action film that shuns plot and characterization in favor of a crazy iconographical melange—it's like the work of a western punk trucker de Sade. The style is more spectacular and comic-bookish than that of the original, which isn't all to the good: without the crude but functional motivations of the first film, the violence here comes to seem somewhat arbitrary and distasteful. But for pure rhythm and visual panache, Miller has few real competitors; the climactic chase, with its deft variation of tempo and point of view, is a minor masterpiece. With Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, and Vernon Wells; originally titled Mad Max 2.

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