Mad Max 2 (also known as The Road Warrior and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior) is a 1981 Australian post-apocalyptic action film written and directed by George Miller. The film is the second installment in the Mad Max film series, with Mel Gibson starring as Max Rockatansky. The film's tale of a community of settlers moved to defend themselves against a roving band of marauders follows an archetypal "Western" frontier movie motif, as does Max's role as a hardened man who rediscovers his humanity when he decides to help the settlers. Filming took part in locations around Broken Hill, in the outback of New South Wales.
Mad Max 2 was released on 24 December 1981, and received ample critical acclaim. Observers praised the visuals and Gibson's role. Noteworthy elements of the film also include cinematographer Dean Semler's widescreen photography of Australia's vast desert landscapes; the sparing use of dialogue throughout the film; costume designer Norma Moriceau's punk mohawked, leather bondage gear-wearing bikers; and its fast-paced, tightly edited and violent battle and chase scenes. The film's comic-book post-apocalyptic/punk style popularised the genre in film and fiction writing. It was also a box office success and received six nominations at the Saturn Award ceremony, including Best Director for Miller, Best Actor for Gibson, Best Supporting Actor for Spence and Best Writing for Miller, Hayses and Hannant, winning Best International Film. Eventually, Mad Max 2 developed into a cult film: fan clubs and "road warrior"-themed activities continue into the 21st century. The film was followed by Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985, with a fourth film in the series, Mad Max: Fury Road, slated for release in 2013.
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“What do any of us know of the private past of even the most harmless and kind-looking individuals?”
—Arnold Phillips, Max Nosseck (19021972)