George Miller's action film series hit its brilliant stride in 1981 with MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR.
Our anti-hero Max (Mel Gibson) is surviving in the Australian outback with his dog and his supercharged police interceptor, fending off the uber-violent metal punk gangs roving the wild in search of the only valuable currency in the new world, gasoline.
When Max stumbles upon a tiny refinery defended by a small group of survivors, he quickly finds himself part of their plan to escape the evil Humungus and his blood thirsty minions.
With double the $1 million budget of the first film, Miller improves on the original in every way. There's more at stake, more to see and ten times as much action.
The last 25 minutes of the film is one huge chase as Max drives a full size tanker with a priceless load of gasoline across the barren landscape with all of Humungus gang in hot pursuit.
The stunts are all real, the crashes all filmed live and all those stunt folks are really jumping from car to semi and hanging off every angle at high speed.
It's one of the best chase sequences ever made and in 1981, set a new standard for action movies.
Gibson is perfect as Max (thankfully not dubbed like he was in the original film) and brings real feeling and plenty of dry humor to the role in a style not unlike Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name in his spaghetti western trilogy with Sergio Leone.
The music score by Brian May is less intrusive this time (thankfully) and Bruce Spence (Gyro Captain) and Emil Minty (The Feral Kid) bring great energy and big personalities to their important roles in the story.
One of the best films of the 80's, ROAD WARRIOR takes Max to the next level and delivers a fast, dark but fun ride at 100 MPH that gets an A+ and a spot in my all-time Top 100.
Followed in 1985 by MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME and "reimagined" by Miller himself 34 for years later as 2015's MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.