I've often spoken of my unadulterated (and unapologetic) love for George Miller's cult classic, The Road Warrior. The sequel to his first film, Mad Max, was basically a bigger, better, more outlandish remake of the original, with the director essentially trying to one-up himself in every possible way.
The Road Warrior is one of the best pure action movies ever made. Miller and co. trimmed all the fat off the story: it's basically guns and cars. They borrowed their ideas pretty heavily from westerns here, Rio Bravo (good guys trapped in a small space and possess what the bad guys want) and the spaghetti westerns (man with no name and mysterious past rides into town and ends up saving the day) come to mind. To describe the movie in such easy terms though does it a disservice. It is also: a startlingly still relevant post-apocalyptic tale with an offbeat, quirky sense of humor and dim view of humanity. Everybody thinks of Mel as Max (and he is perfect in the role), but there is no shortage of great characters, or great character moments, in this movie either.
The practical special effects employed here STILL hold up today and in fact look a helluva lot better than almost all of the CGI being used for action flicks these days. But what I admire most about this film is Miller's ever-present why-the-hell-not attitude to filmmaking. It's low budget. It stars nobody. It's genre. It's one long car chase. But it's also extremely well-crafted, shot, and especially edited and the f--king score is brilliant. The opening montage captures the mood of the story perfectly, grim and foreboding and sets the stage for the relentlessness to follow. The film is capped off by wonderful narration as the camera pulls away from Max, the Road Warrior, a character the movie has turned into a mythical hero: enigmatic, scarred, conflicted, but ultimately good...and also badass.
Can't wait to see Mad Max: Fury Road this weekend