ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Road Warrior(1980)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: George Miller

Starring:
Mel Gibson/Mad Max
Bruce Spence/Gyro Captain
Vernon Wells/Wez
Kjell Nilsson/Humongous
10 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A post Apocalyptic future + family unit good guys with oil + outrageous leather clad gay hoodlums who want the oil + silent yet deadly loner Mad Max (Gibson) in the middle = death, violence, motor vehicle carnage and all around fun times!
THE LOWDOWN

If it's all the same to you, I’ll drive that tanker. – Mad Max

In 1979 a little 400,000$ budgeted, Australian made, Post Apocalyptic revenge opus named Mad Max cracked the Box Office. It starred a then unknown Mel “the man” Gibson who was actually dubbed in the film for North American release. Funny how things change hey Mel! One year later; Mad Max 2 was set into motion, the budget was jacked up to 4,000,000$ and the title was changed to “The Road Warrior” for its North American release. You see at the time, not many Yanks knew who The Max was…but that swiftly changed.

Who wasn’t ruined silly when first viewing The Road Warriors? This insane jamboree of death, nihilism and vehicular destruction was one of my favorite movies when I was a wee “paper frog torturing” twerp pretending to be tough. Specific moments and entire scenes from it have been engraved in what now stands as my brain for years! Going back to the film today; I was bamboozled as to how strongly it beat the test of time. It still stood up proudly as one of the greatest Action/Sci-Fi exploitation party of all time. It was actually a more rewarding experience today where I picked on so much more with the overt homosexual tones being the main thing. Shite, the lead villain actually had one of his henchmen on a dog-leash at a certain point! How did I miss that???

The key to the Road Warrior’ success in my extremely useless opinion is easy to discern yet so many filmmakers fail to achieve it: “simplicity”. I’ve always said that my ideal film would solely be communicated by images as opposed to dialogue. Film is after all a visual medium; it’s not the stage! The Road Warriors did just that with bull-dog balls and leather panache in tow. The set up? Good guys on the right, bad guys on the left and guy who doesn’t give a shit in the middle. The prize? “Oil”. The means to get it? Violence and death through motor vehicles. That’s it, that’s the movie and you know what that’s all I needed to make my freaking day a fulfilling one. This had to be one of the easiest sit downs ever! The unraveling of events zoomed by, the stellar cinematography/directing/editing jacked up the ride and the action/stunt driven nature of the narrative gracefully dragged me from one plot turn to the next. My kind of movie!

It should be said, that this flick’s last 20 minutes or so contained one of the most exhilarating, head bashing, mind numbing and bone crushing, extensive motor vehicle chases in the history of cinema. I was exhausted after watching that bit. No car jamboree has ever been equaled in terms of rawness and pure excitement! Tag to all that a brilliant milking of the novel locations that were the Australian Outback, a slew of memorable characters (the lead villain is a pre Jason Voorhees, gay Jason Voorhees) and a captivating anti hero in the guise of self centered, man of action Mad Max and you get one for the bloody books of classic. On the whole The Road Warriors was and still is a unique and primeval experience. After it’s released; countless imitators popped up and to this day none have managed to equal the BRILLIANCE that is this cinematic bully. LONG LIVE THE MAX!

GORE
We get some arrows in various body parts, sliced off fingers, a boomerang in the head and lots of cars on people carnage.
ACTING
The camera loves Mel Gibson (Mad Max) and no amount of dialogue could’ve matched the magnetic animal presence he displayed in this baby. Now that’s a star! Bruce Spence (Gyro Captain) did fine as the semi comic relief but I could’ve easily went without him. Vernon Wells (Wez) was amazing as the grunting, Mohawk sporting gay baddie. See “Commando” for his other “gay villain” part. THE MAN OWNS! Kjell Nilsson (Humongous) lets his muscles and his hockey mask do the acting; GREAT ACTING! Emil Minty (The Feral kid) played a kid who was…well…feral. I BOUGHT IT!
T & A
We get a tit shot during a rape scene (not pleasant) and the ladies get Mel shirtless and Lord Humongous staying true to his name in his beyond pumped up nature. The man IS a bench press!
DIRECTING
Miller drove his film at a furious pace while staging his action scenes in an exciting, multi angle fashion. I so boogied to the slick areial shots, which gave me a diverse point of view of the mash up at hand. Tight, focused and adrenaline charged. George come back! We miss ya!
SOUNDTRACK
The heart pounding score by Brian May supported the riveting and brutal images perfectly.
BOTTOM LINE
Road Warriors was akin to a potent adrenaline shot injected into one’s veins that went on to whiplash brain cells full force. This demolition derby was well acted, effortlessly paced; “Energizer Bunny” directed and showcased one of the more seat hopping action/car/chaos bonanza of all time. I have ZERO qualms with this picture; it’s definitely a must see, a must own and a must re-watch at least once a year. Viva Road Warriors! THE REAL F*CKING DEAL!
BULL'S EYE
Because he was unknown in the US at the time; the trailer focused on the car chases, not Mel Gibson.

The black Interceptor Mad Max drives is a 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Coupe

George Miller went on to direct the underwhelming (to me anyways) second sequel Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. A fourth Mad Max has been rumored for a while but the last attempt at getting it off the ground failed. Let’s hope it happens one day!
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