95 minutes, U.S.A., 1982, Colour

This special screening of Mad Max 2 will be introduced by Dr. Harvey O’Brien, whose book Action Movies: The Cinema of Striking Back is newly published by Columbia University Press.

Director George Miller’s follow up to his ‘Ozploitation’ hit of 1979 has an identity all its own. Known in U.S. distribution simply as The Road Warrior, this sequel finds former cop Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) morally adrift on the endless highways of a post-apocalyptic earth with dwindling fuel resources where gangs of marauders roam and terrorise the few pockets of civilisation that remain.

Max could go either way, but finds himself behind the wheel of a tanker truck fending off crazed leather-clad raiders in customised vehicles during the film’s frenetic climax, a spectacle of kinetic filmmaking both harkening back to the great western stagecoach chases and establishing the stylistic template for the action films of the ‘80s and ‘90s. A reboot is in the offing, but decades of imitation have yet to see a match for the prototype.



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