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Mad Max 2:The Road Warrior (1981) – Director: George Miller

Action cinema in its purest form in this breathless opening sequence from George Miller’s influential post-apocalyptic tale which made Mel Gibson an international film star.

More broadly mythic than the more rough and ready exploitation of the 1979 original, Mad Max 2 uses a  bare bones ‘Shane‘ style western plot of the reluctant, lone hero (Max) protecting a group of peace-loving future settlers  from a savage group of punk style marauders as an excuse for several lengthy, exciting chase sequences whose visceral impact has not diminished over the three decades since the films release.

The reason for this – at least partly – might be that we are now so inured to action, effects and vistas created on a hard drive that it’s almost shocking to see director George Miller’s startlingly realistic action choreography in a 21st century context.

But aside from this sense of realism which immerses you in this barren, lawless world,  it is the sheer relentless energy of these chase sequences that fuels Mad Max 2’s cinematic legacy; furious sound and dynamic framing creating a vivid and violent pulp fantasy that has left its mark on both the imaginations of auteurs such as Quentin Tarantino – i.e., Death Proof – and the high-octane style of the Fast & The Furious franchise to name just two examples.

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