I reviewed Kevin Costner's giga-buck epic "Waterworld" for this show several weeks back, and all things considered, I was pretty easy on it. I thought it was a fairly entertaining movie that probably shouldn't have cost about two hundred million dollars, but a decent time at the movies, nonetheless. At least, that's what I thought until I viewed director George Miller's truly classic action film, "The Road Warrior".
Although I mentioned that "Waterworld" is a fairly blatant rip-off of "The Road Warrior", I don't think I actually realized just how much of a knock-off it actually is. I mean, let me put it this way: if you take Max, the Road Warrior, put him in a boat, give him some gills, and pit him against Dennis Hopper, what you get is "Waterworld"!!
Rather than going into the long list of reasons why this is true, why don't we talk about "The Road Warrior", a movie that cost about a twentieth of what "Fishtar" did. The plotline is pretty basic, and the movie is glorious, head-smashing fun because of it. Basically, there are two armed camps struggling to survive in the ravaged desert following World War Three: a good camp and a bad camp. The good camp has gained control of an oil refinery, which they use to produce the most valuable commodity available, gasoline. The bad guys, a group of marauding, buffed out skinheads, metalfreaks, and bondage fetishists, want that gas, badly.
In between these two warring factions comes Max, the Road Warrior. Max is a loner, traveling the forsaken highway in search of gas and food, which is usually in the form of Alpo. As he goes about his business, he decides to enter the conflict and turn a profit while doing so. Along the way, he meets up with an autogyro flying toady, a wilding, boomerang throwing kid, and all sorts of assorted lowlife, doom-sayers, and of course, really cool, gas guzzling eight cylinder cars.
Basically, "The Road Warrior" is a teenage boy's dream of an action movie, but upon a recent repeat viewing, I discovered it's also one of the best action movies that this humble movie fan has ever seen. Mel Gibson is very good and believable as Max; the stunts are spectacular, with elaborate vehicle-jumping fights, and multi-car accidents; and the direction is in a flat-out style that keeps the whole experience chugging along at about a hundred miles per hour. So, if you're thinking of going to see that water-logged piece of whale pucky, don't. Rent "The Road Warrior" and you'll have a much better time.
Copyright 1995 John A. Lavin
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