• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

The Road Warrior

TITLE: The Road Warrior

YEAR: 1981

GENRE: Science Fiction and Action/Adventure

AKA: Mad Max 2

The 1980’s was a golden age for balls to the wall action movies. Adrenaline icons such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, and Jean-Claude Van Damme did their best butt kicking during that era plus numerous franchises such as Rocky and Rambo had their heydays during the Reagan era. Australian action/sci-fi import Mad Max was one of those action heroes, releasing three films during the first half of the 80’s. The second film in the series, titled The Road Warrior, is a total high octane thriller and very well could be the very best action film of the 1980’s and one of the five best sci-fi films of the same era.

The planet has been ravaged by war and a lack of energy and is now a post-apocalyptic wasteland. After his wife and child are killed by marauding gangs, Max Rockatansky (played by Mel Gibson) roams the desert in a supercharged car scavenging for food, water, and the most valuable commodity of all—gasoline. Max is ambushed by the Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence) for supplies, but Max and his dog overpower the desolate tract resident. To save his skin the Gyro Captain tells Max of a community that has a working oil well and a seemingly endless supply of fuel. Intrigued, Max travels to the compound only to discover that the society is being constantly harassed by The Humongous (Kjell Nilsson) and his gang of degenerates. Max enters the compound and is assumed to be one of the marauders by the citizens and he is held hostage until he solves a major problem: to use a semi-truck to haul the gasoline to another location up north. Max is attacked during his adventure to the semi and is left for dead until the Gyro Captain picks him up and flies him back to the compound in a makeshift personal helicopter. As the community plans to flee the compound, Max agrees to drive the vehicle with all the petrol. However, Humongous knows that the precious fuel will be on one mobile source and the battle for the gasoline commences.

What makes The Road Warrior required viewing by any science fiction or adrenaline-fueled fanatic is the fact that director George Miller keeps the literal pedal to the metal throughout the production and gives the fans some of the most memorable action scenes ever filmed. After a short introduction to bring the view up to speed, the film immediately starts with Max avoiding some of the marauding gangs and the movie never lets up the intensity. The climax of The Road Warrior is the prowling hordes chasing Max with the gasoline and a few of the stoutest warriors from the community, and the car chase scenes and stunt driving ranks right up there with the chariot races from Ben-Hur as the greatest action sequences ever filmed before the advent of CGI. The secondary characters in The Road Warrior are also classic and give the final project more depth than the typical action movie including the following memorable characters: Wez (Vernon Wells), a sadistic lieutenant of The Humongous complete with a  Mohawk haircut, football shoulder pads, and a psychotic attitude and is one of the most memorable villains of the 1980’s; The Feral Kid (Emil Minty), a gleefully over the top Tarzan-style kid complete with a metal boomerang who ends up being in as much action as his little feet will allow; and The Toadie (Max Phipps), the gang’s spokesperson who ends up losing his fingers to The Feral Kid’s boomerang. The script is simple but also incorporates some humor including great banter between Max and the Gyro Captain. The costume design by Norma Moriceau (who also did the costumes for the Crocodile Dundee films as well as the 1996 adaptation of The Island Of Dr. Moreau) did an excellent job creating the punk/bondage inspired wardrobe, and the cinematography by Dean Semler (who later won an Academy Award for his camera skills in Dances With Wolves) is downright amazing with fantastic camera angles and an intense perspective. The evolution of the Max character is also interesting and learns that one person can make a difference in other’s live instead of his beginning nihilistic attitude, which is refreshing and shows more mature writing than most post-apocalyptic movies. .

Co-screenwriter Terry Hayes has moved on to Hollywood and has written other genre films such as From Hell and Dead Calm, and of course Gibson became an international superstar until his unconventional rants ruined his career and made him infamous tabloid fodder. After the Mad Max trilogy and the best short in the Twilight Zone: The Movie anthology, Miller moved on to children films and created the Babe and Happy Feet franchises. An anime version of Mad Max is in production and Miller himself plans on resurrecting the character for a prequel sans Gibson scheduled for a 2014 release. The Road Warrior is one of those rare often imitated but never topped movies that invented its own sub-genre, created an iconic character, and raised the standard for low budget science fiction (with a  budget of only $4 million AUS). The Road Warrior is obligatory viewing for all film nerds and should be required viewing for all film students in how to make an epic production with limited resources.

* * * * *

–Mark

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