Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Mimsy Review: The Road Warrior

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, May 24, 1999

Greetings from The Humungus! The Lord Humungus! The Warrior of the Wasteland! The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla!

Special features

Production Notes3
Trailer4

With the “original gore restored”, you just can’t miss! I’m not sure what gore was added back in, however, as it was pretty gory to begin with and I haven’t seen it for quite a while.

RecommendationPossible Purchase
DirectorGeorge Miller
WritersTerry Hayes, George Miller, Brian Hannant
Movie Rating7
Transfer Quality7
Overall Rating7
Formats
  • Enhanced Widescreen
  • Pan and Scan

Where Mad Max was a touching story of a nervous breakdown, Road Warrior is a propane-fueled, nitrous-enhanced action fiesta. Sometime between the first and the second movie, the world was destroyed in flames. Australia is a breeding ground for motorcycle gangs. And the wars over gasoline continue in microcosm as they did globally.

This is the movie that made Mel Gibson. I know people who have continued to see lame movie after lame movie just because it stars the Road Warrior.

I’ve given it a pretty good “transfer quality” rating, despite the relatively low quality of the film. This is a friggin’ low-budget Australian film! I’ve never seen it in the theatres without it being quite grainy; this is a faithful reproduction of that. It is undoubtedly the best transfer we’re going to get, and they definitely get extra points for going to the trouble to make it anamorphic.

This was George Miller’s second movie. There wasn’t a particularly high budget on it. Mostly, they seem to have used the profits from Mad Max to pay off a couple of locals in nowhere, Australia, and buy a copy of “The Hero With a Thousand Faces”. This is the Australian Star Wars, done with football pieces for costumes and lots of leftover leather pieced on in spots.

Many of these actors never really went anywhere. The Lord Humungus had another part a year later with Kristy McNichol! And shows no more roles on the Internet Movie Database. Of course, they could be huge stars down in Australia, and us outback Americans will never know.

For all I make fun of it, this is a very good movie, a great action flick, one of the best. In “Bulworth” (hardly a low budget film), Senator Bulworth asks an assemblage of movie producers why they keep producing bad movies. “It must be the money. Turns everything to crap.” Movies like “The Road Warrior” certainly show that great movies can be made with less than spectacular budgets. Personally, I can’t see how anyone with any shred of decency could make a sequel to this movie. But they did, and they poured a lot of money into it, and honestly it was crap. It just doesn’t live up to “The Road Warrior” in action, plot, or even acting.

Max is a loner, living day to day, from gasoline spill to gasoline spill, picking up the precious liquid to run his fuel-hogging “V-8 Interceptor”. (You would think that in a world where gas is gold, a Chevette might be more sensible.)

After making enemies with the motorcycling “Wez” and friends (somewhat) with the geeky Gyro Captain, he comes across a community living in an old oil refinery. They’ve managed to get the refinery pumping again, and are fighting off all the slimey warriors of the wasteland to keep the gas as their own. They need someone who can drive like a madman, and Max needs a way to redeem his lost soul—lost before the final collapse of civilization. It is only mentioned briefly in the opening credits, but Max lost his wife and child to a motorcycle gang before everything went completely haywire. (It was, however, already well on its way.)

The story of how they get the gas out of the refinery is one of the best “car chases” I’ve ever seen on film. (Not to say that I’ve seen better in real life, of course, honest, officer!)

There isn’t much in the way of extras: some text production notes, and the trailer with a monotonous voice over. I would have loved to see a director’s commentary on this puppy. But if you’re a fan of “Road Warrior”, you will definitely want to purchase this movie. If you aren’t, but you like action, you should definitely rent it.

Recommendation: Possible Purchase

DirectorGeorge Miller
WritersTerry Hayes, George Miller, Brian Hannant
ActorsMel Gibson, Bruce Spence
Spoken languagesEnglish, French
SubtitlesEnglish, Spanish
Special FeaturesProduction Notes, Trailer
More links

If you enjoyed The Road Warrior…

If you enjoy apocalyptic, you might also be interested in The Matrix.

If you enjoy roleplaying, you might also be interested in Excalibur, Ghostbusters, Highlander, and The Seven Samurai.