(1981)5Brendon HanleyMad Max 2 (The Road Warrior) is a pure expression of cinematic existentialism. The characters spend their time driving through a barren, post-apocalyptic world looking for gasoline so that they can continue to drive around the desert and find more gasoline. Of course, there's an exciting action movie thrown in as well. The loner protagonist at the center of our attention is again Max (Mel Gibson), who in the first Mad Max lost his wife and child to a murderous bunch of thugs. Max retreats from society, living the life of a scavenger in the "wasteland." It might be a sci-fi setting, but Max is a direct descendant of classic Western and film noir antiheroes. He looks out for himself and only himself, and there's only a very fine line between him and the bad guys. The setup of the "reluctant savior" rescuing the stranded "villagers" is about as traditional a storyline as you can get, and the movie precedents are no less obvious: it's Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven (minus the six other guys). Following the success of this movie, Gibson became an international star. Talented writer/director George Miller has gone on to mixed financial success as a producer and director, but has consistently produced interesting and original material. The infamous Kevin Costner vehicle Waterworld is basically a remake of Mad Max II in an aquatic setting.