There aren’t many movies that work so well as action movies while being one of those films you might consider to be one of the greatest ever made. However, the film is just so incredibly strong on so many levels that you have to recognize how good it is as a film regardless of whether or not you’re usually a big fan of action flicks.
If you haven’t seen it, and somehow have no idea what it’s about: Mad Max Rockatansky is a former cop wandering a wasted outback in Australia. Food and water have become scarce after World War III, as has gasoline. Max is trying to find enough resources just to keep himself alive from day to day as he wanders across the wasteland.
Throughout his trials in the previous film, Max became just as much of a ruthless beast as the criminals he’d been chasing. Here, he’s offered a chance at redemption, at becoming a part of society, or what is left of it, once more.
The movie is essentially one long chase scene, stopping here and there just long enough to give us a breather and some more character and story development. Of course, the majority of character and story is developed through the action, which is how it’s supposed to be. Too often, action is only thrown in to get in the way of the story and put the viewer’s brain on pause. Here, the action IS the story, just as it was in the days of the old westerns.
In the end the movie is really a statement on heroism, delving into Joseph Campbellian mythological structure and coming up with what many Australians consider to be “Star Wars Down Under”. It’s certainly one of the most successful films to ever come out of that country, and is still considered a national treasure of the Australian cinema all these decades later.
The movie is really a western and deserves to be classified alongside films like Stagecoach and The War Wagon as one of the all time great action packed adventure films.
The movie is loud, spectacular, full of crazy characters and stunts, and, perhaps, one of the ten greatest films ever made, depending on how you evaluate films on a personal level. At the very least, it is one of the most well crafted and well told action stories of all time, and certainly belongs on your download queue if you haven’t seen it yet.