Follow TV Tropes


Film / Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
aka: The Road Warrior

Go To

My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember the Road Warrior. The man we called "Max".
The Narrator

The second Mad Max film, released in 1981. It was retitled The Road Warrior for the American market, and is also known as simply Mad Max 2.

The movie follows Max into the anarchic wasteland that used to be Australia, where a few years later he is now Walking the Earth with his Post-Apocalyptic Dog in his Cool Car. He runs into a small ragtag group of survivors barricaded in an isolated oil refinery, who are surrounded and terrorised by a vicious gang of bandits led by the mysterious masked Lord Humungus. After at first resisting their pleas for him to help them, Max ends up assisting them in their plan for escape to the north, exorcising some of his own personal demons.

2015's Mad Max: Fury Road borrows a lot from this film, more than it does from any other Mad Max film.

This film provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: The Gyrocaptain becomes one for Max when the former keeps insisting they're "partners". It saves Max's life when the Gyrocaptain airlifts him to safety, assuring Max he's his "partner".
  • Action Prologue: The film opens with Max being chased by the Lord Humungus' flunkies, well before we actually meet him.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In the end, Max and the Gyrocaptain are badly injured and briefly chuckling at the fact that they risked their lives for a truck full of sand. It's the only time Max smiles in the entire film.
  • After the End: While civilization was on its way out in the first movie, now it's explicitly gone. Lawless scavengers roam the roads, Max is a wandering drifter, and the only remaining pocket of civilized humanity that we see is a walled refinery that itself is under siege by marauders who would kill for a tank of gasoline or just for fun.
  • Air Guns: Used in lieu of gunpowder firearms due to the shortage of ammunition. The Marauder who accidentally shoots Wez uses a handheld tube that fires an arrow via compressed air, and there are four-barreled vehicle-mounted versions as well.
  • All or Nothing: The settlers already won when the bandits chose to focus their entire effort on chasing after the conspicuous fuel truck which actually contained nothing but sand. By the end, with Humungus dead and the truth of the truck exposed, the remaining gang leaves without any commotion, dejected from complete defeat.
  • All There in the Script: The screenplay names Humungus' gang as the Marauders.
  • And Starring: The cast roll ends with "and Emil Minty as the Feral Kid".
  • And Then What?: Lord Humungus promises to let everyone go free if they just hand over the tanker and the refinery to the Marauders. While a few of the defenders are actually in favor of taking the offer, Papagallo points out that even if the Marauders do let them go (already a huge stretch), what happens next? Do the defenders just roam the wasteland like scavengers until they're no different from the Marauders?
  • Animal Companion: The cattle dog that accompanies Max in his travels across the wasteland.
  • Annoying Arrows: Both played straight and subverted.
    • In the opening chase Wez gets his arm impaled by a bolt fired by another Marauder. He slowly pulls it out while glaring at Max, then uses it to replace one of his own. While from his expression the experience is painful, the only time he screams is before this, over frustration at Max having killed the others and escaped him.
    • In every other scene, arrows and bolts are at the very least painful and very dangerous, and in most cases simply lethal. Just about every single character that doesn't die in a vehicle crash or explosion meets their end by arrows.
    • Played straight with the Marauder hanging from the side of the tanker that the Warrior Woman shoots with her crossbow before she's killed. He just pulls the quarrel from his chest and climbs onto the tanker.
  • Apocalyptic Logistics: Gangs driving gas-guzzling vehicles is handwaved in the Opening Narration in that "only those mobile enough to scavenge" can survive. This explains their desperation to seize the tanker truck in particular. Averted with food and ammunition, both of which is shown to be in short supply, with Max eating dog food and bows and arrows used in preference to firearms.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Both sides use bows and crossbows, as well as arrows fired by compressed air. The Warrior Woman uses a compound bow and is shown manning a modern version of a ballista mounted on the walls.
  • Arm Cannon: Wez and several other Marauders are shown with wrist-mounted crossbows, presumably because it leaves their hands free to drive a vehicle. This is shown when Papagallo has a similar weapon attached to his arm while he's driving his own vehicle.
  • Ass Kicks You: When raiders enter the refinery, the Mechanic's assistant swings the Mechanic in his suspension rig to knock one down, hitting him rear first.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Lord Humungus is a freakishly muscular giant of a man and leads his dogs of war. When Wez (himself a large psychopath) goes berserk at an inconvenient moment, Humungus personally chokes him out.
  • The Bait:
    • The Gyro Captain leaves his autogyro seemingly abandoned by the side of the road, with footprints leading away from it. The pilot is actually buried under the sand waiting to ambush Max.
    • After the Gyro Captain works out that Max has a hidden weapon next to the fuel tank booby trap, Max moves to get in the car without being told. Thinking he's going for another weapon, the Gyro Captain shoos him away from the car door and opens it himself, whereupon the dog lunges out at him.
    • The Marauders apparently give up their siege and leave during the night, but when the settlers send out scouts the next day, they're quickly swarmed by the Marauders who have been waiting nearby the whole time.
    • Knowing the Marauders want the big rig tanker above all (as a means of carrying fuel with them), the settlers use it as a Decoy Convoy while the rest of them escape in smaller vehicles while the Marauders are busy chasing after Max. The tanker turns out to be full of sand. The fuel is actually being hauled in 44-gallon drums in the bus, which escapes along with the rest of the civilians.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: A Marauder sees Max has crawled from the wreckage of his Interceptor and is too weak to defend himself. He raises his crossbow to shoot him, only for his cattle dog to come out and snarl, so he shoots the dog instead. The delay while he reloads his crossbow is enough for the booby trap to go off and kill him in the explosion.
  • Barbarian Longhair: Many of the bad guys have grungy hair-metal mullets. The Feral Kid has the appropriate Wild Hair.
  • Battle Boomerang: The Feral Kid's preferred weapon.
  • The Beforetimes
    • The Opening Narration refers to "another time, when the world was powered by the black fuel, and the deserts sprouted great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now, swept away."
    • The Gyro Captain mourns the loss of "good clean women". Fortunately there's just such a woman in the settlement who returns his interest.
  • The Berserker: Wez. He wants to charge into the refinery after his boyfriend is killed and has to be calmed down by Humungus, who's hoping to coax them out.
  • Big Bad: Lord Humungus, who is besieging the oil refinery.
  • Big Badass Rig: The Mack R-600 Coolpower tanker truck used for the final Stern Chase, modified with spiked fighting turrets, barbed wire to deter boarders, and a cowcatcher blade and PSP armor for ramming vehicles out of the way.
  • Bloody Hilarious: The Marauders roar with laughter after Toadie loses his fingers trying to catch the Feral Kid's metal boomerang. Then the refinery defenders laugh. Then, finally, even Toadie himself laughs.
  • Booby Trap:
    • Max has a booby trap attached to the gas tanks of his vehicle. The Gyro Pilot forces him to disarm it, but Toadie and the others aren't so cautious.
    • After the survivors leave the compound, some of the raiders drive in, expecting to have an unlimited supply of gas now. Ten seconds later, ka-blam!!
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. Ammunition is shown to be extremely rare.
    • Max turns out to have been bluffing with an empty shotgun when he finds ammo again which turns out to be a dud. While Papagallo gives him a bag of shells for the final break out, he spills them during the action and has to send the Feral Kid crawling out onto the hood of the truck to pick up the last remaining shell.
    • The Lord Humungus has exactly five rounds for his Magnum, only loading it sparingly; he fires one shot at the truck when Max brings it back to the refinery and uses his last four at the start of the final chase. After that, he switches to triple bladed knives.
    • After Wez pulls the quarrel from his arm, he uses it to replace one of his own expended quarrels rather than throw it away.
  • Brick Joke: The Gyro Captain only discovers Max's shotgun is empty when he removes a shotgun shell from a Marauder's corpse. The Gyro Captain points out the shell could be a dud, but isn't willing to try his luck. Turns out the shell is a dud, which Max discovers when he tries to shoot Humungus.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In the opening car chase, Max comes across a tractor-trailer whose driver has been killed. He makes a deal with Papagallo to fetch it for them in exchange for his vehicle and fuel.
    • The bus used as a gate for the compound is used to haul away the fuel in 44-gallon drums tied to the seats.
    • The booby trap on Max's fuel tank for a Rule of Threes. The first time Max uses it to deter the Gyro Captain from killing him and stealing his gas, the second time the Mechanic disarms it, the third time Toadie triggers it.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Most of the good oil rig defenders wear white and beige clothes while the villainous Lord Humungus and his men mainly wear black. It's probably one of the reasons the refinery settlers assume Max is dodgy, since he's also clad in black leather.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The movie never calls attention to it, but Max wears a brace over the knee that got shot during the climax of the first film. The right arm of his jacket is also missing, presumably having been cut off so that he could get treatment on it after it was run over by Bubba Zanetti.
    • Papagallo's speech to Max mirrors Max's conversation with Fifi when he resigned from the MFP. Max had become the thing he was afraid of becoming.
  • Cool Mask: Lord Humungus was wearing hockey masks before Jason Voorhees made them cool.
  • Cooldown Hug: Humungus "hugs" his lieutenant Wez as he is about to go on a premature, suicidal killing spree.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Max keeps his car booby trapped to explode should anybody attempt to siphon fuel from the tanks. Furthermore, he keeps a knife right next to the bomb's arming switch so he can use it against anyone who forces him to disarm it. The Gyro Captain figures this out pretty quickly. (He wasn't counting on Max's dog, though.)
    Gyro Captain: Uh uh uh. A fellow — a quick fellow — might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel.
  • Dead Guy on Display: After chasing down the scouts, the Marauders return with their bodies tied to their vehicle hoods. Two survivors are tied to the front of Humungus's vehicle, and are left there even after he later has them tortured to death—their bodies get smashed during the final chase.
  • Decapitated Army: Once Max has dispatched both Wez and The Lord Humungus, the half-a-dozen or so remaining members of their gang look dejectedly at the crashed truck and drive off into the sunset, as the tank turned out to be filled with sand and there is no gas for them to loot.
  • Decoy Convoy:
    • Several scout vehicles are sent out by the settlers in different directions to find a tanker, drawing away the Marauders in pursuit. After they've apparently all left, the buggy driven by Nathan tries to leave, but is quickly run down by Wez and his men.
    • At the climax, part of the Northern Tribe goes with Max, driving a fortified tanker truck away from the refinery, which is set to explode. This succeeds in drawing Lord Humungus and his gang away from the rest of the tribe who are carrying dozens of barrels of fuel in their vehicles for their journey to Queensland; the truck that Max is driving is full of sand, something even he doesn't know about.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: The Warrior Woman is cold to Max at first, but grows less hostile as he becomes more of an ally to the settlement.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Some of the villainous gang members are shown raping women, though Wez in particular had an androgynous guy riding with him who was implied to be more than just a friend, and they all were dressed in BDSM-style homoerotic clothing (cheekless pants, black leather galore, lots of chains and studs, leather facial masks, etc.).
  • Despair Event Horizon: It's heavily implied that, similar to Max, Humungus was a victim of this and chose to be bad; witness his "We have all lost someone we love" speech and the picture of himself and his wife (or, possibly his parents) that he keeps with his gun. Humungus was originally going to be Goose from the first film, having gone over to the dark side, but this was cut out of the finished script.
  • Distant Finale: The narration that Book Ends the film notes that, thanks to Max's efforts, the refinery settlers were able to escape to the north and establish themselves in The Promised Land.
  • Dodge by Braking: Max does this at the beginning of the film when he has Wez coming up on one side and another Marauder on the other; the latter fires a quarrel which ends up in Wez's arm instead when Max hits the brakes.
  • Dog Food Diet: Max lives off cans of Dinky-Di dog food. You can even see crates of it stacked in the back of his car. The Gyro Captain ends up eating their leftovers after both Max and the dog have had their fill.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Max's Australian Cattle Dog. Its name is never given, and the script just calls it dog.
  • The Dragon: Wez to Lord Humungus, though Humungus is actually tougher than Wez.
  • Dressed Like a Dominatrix: A rare Gender-Inverted Example with the Lord Humungus. While The Apunkalypse is in full swing, the Big Bad nevertheless prefers to dress as a male dominator in the searing Australian heat, with no indication of it being an ouright sexual kink.
  • Dwindling Party: The tanker defenders go down one by one as the chase continues: Zetta gets his leg caught with a grappling hook and his platform dragged off the tanker; the Warrior Woman gets riddled with quarrels then dragged under the tanker, taking the Mechanic with her when he tries to save her; and Papagallo gets killed by Humungus, stabbed by a throwing knife when he tries to get the Feral Kid off the tanker. Even the Gyrocaptain, while not killed, is effectively taken out of the fight when his autogyro gets shot down. By the end, it's only Max and the Feral Kid left on the rig by the time Max crashes it.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Happens as the tanker defenders fight to the last even though the rig is a decoy filled with sand. They still ensure the rest of their community escape to safety.
  • Emergency Food Supply Animal: The Gyro Captain raises snakes as a food source as well as guards for his aircraft.
  • Epic Fail: A pursuing Marauder tries to pop one on the tanker tires with a wrist-mounted blade. He gets sucked into the wheels for his trouble.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Lord Humungus' crew includes several women, though it's unclear whether they're actual members of the gang or tagalong prostitutes (or both). They're treated much better on-screen than unaffiliated female characters, anyway.
  • Evil Plan: Lord Humungus seeks to obtain a small colony's fuel supply.
  • Exact Words:
    • The Gyro Captain expects Max to let him go free after leading him to the compound. Max reminds him that their deal was to let him live.
    • Max takes the badly wounded scout back to the refinery compound in exchange for a promise of fuel. The man dies right after Max brings him inside; as the deal was with him, the other settlers have no intention of honoring it.
  • Fan Disservice: There's briefly bare female breasts visible, but they belong to the corpse of a woman whom Lord Humungus's gang raped and killed.
  • Fingore: Don't try catching bladed, airborn metal, razor-edged boomerangs with your bare hands. The results aren't pretty. The Toadie finds out the hard way.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Ammunition and firearms may be in short supply, but the settlers take advantage of their plentiful supply of fuel by manning the walls with flamethrowers, making the Marauders reluctant to storm them.
  • First-Person Peripheral Narrator: The Feral Kid reveals himself at the end to be the film's narrator.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Papagallo says he's going to drive the tanker, he then studies the sand pouring through an egg timer he's holding.
    • When the convoy of vehicles leave the compound the bus is shown trailing behind because it's weighed down with fuel drums.
    • As the tanker becomes damaged in the climactic chase, sharp-eyed viewers might wonder why sand is pouring from the broken hose on the side.
    • While Papagallo tries to save the Feral Kid, he yells, "We won!" This is despite the fact that they are still being chased by Humungus and his marauders. This implies that he knew of another goal, namely they're the distraction.
    • In the opening narration, the car Papagallo drives during the final chase is sitting abandoned next to Max, a hint that the driver didn't survive the film.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Papagallo turns it into "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
    Papagallo: What is it with you, huh? What are you looking for? C'mon, Max, everybody's looking for something. You're happy out there, are you? Eh? Wandering? One day blurring into another? You're a scavenger, Max. You're a maggot. Did you know that? You're living off the corpse of the old world. Tell me your story, Max. C'mon. Tell me your story. What burned you out, huh? Kill one man too many? See too many people die? Lose some family?
    (Max briefly gives Papagallo a Death Glare)
    Papagallo: Oh, so that's it, you lost your family? That makes you something special, does it? Do you think you're the only one that's suffered? We've all been through it in here. But we haven't given up. We're still human beings, with dignity. But you? You're out there with the garbage. You're nothing.
  • Friend or Foe?
    • In the opening car chase, Max has Wez on his motorbike coming up on one side and a Marauder car on the other, so does a Dodge by Braking. The Marauder's arrow ends up going into Wez's arm.
    • A Marauder tries to Pop the Tires on the Mack truck with a car-mounted multi-barreled air rifle. The Gyro Captain sees this and air-drops a snake onto him, causing the alarmed Marauder to fire into the back of the driver, causing the vehicle to crash.
  • From Bad to Worse: The oil shortage in the first movie eventually snowballed into a full-on nuclear war as shown in the opening. It's also revealed that it wasn't just caused by declining oil reserves but by an unspecified large scale conflict in the Middle East that destroyed many of the oil fields, described by the narrator as a clash of egos between two "mighty tribes" (likely the U.S and USSR).
  • Future Slang: The Gyro Captain says "guzzoline" instead of "gasoline".
  • Generic Graffiti: THE VERMIN HAVE INHERITED THE EARTH is painted on the tarpaulin covering the load on the wrecked Mack truck.
  • Genre Shift: The first movie portrayed Australia as a crime-ridden, but still livable, crapsack world, and Max is a Cowboy Cop. The Road Warrior is post-apocalyptic, and Max is more like a traveling ronin or gunslinger.
  • Handicapped Badass:
    • The mechanic has no legs, but that doesn't stop him from being one of the truck defenders in the final chase.
    • Max wears a leg brace, a Continuity Nod to the first movie when Bubba Zanneti shot him in the knee.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Max thought he really was driving a full fuel truck and had no intention of being a decoy.
    • Papagallo would be a more straight example, since he knew the truth from the start and he was going to drive the truck anyway before Max came along. Also the rest of the truck defenders if they were in on the secret.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Exploited in the finale. The conspicuous-looking fuel truck defended by several armed warriors including Max noisily clashes with the raiders head-on while the other settlers quietly escaped from the same opening but in a different direction... Invoking virtually no suspicions from the raiders that it could be a diversion. Moreover, the settlers carrying the actual fuel doesn't even looked like they were armed for defense, although to be fair their weapons could have been hidden just like those oil drums were.
  • Homoerotic Subtext:
    • Wez wears assless chaps and drives around with his twink boyfriend clinging to his back. When his boy-toy gets killed, Wez goes berserk, and Humungus has to put him in a very intimate looking sleeper hold while whispering into his ear.
    • One group of guys under the Humungus's command is known as "Smegma Crazies" (NSFW, unspoiler at your own risk: smegma is the viscous mix of skin cells and body oils that builds up on the unwashed human penis) and another as "Gayboy Berserkers."
  • Hooks and Crooks: A Marauder in a buggy manages to throw a grappling hook onto the truck's rear fighting parapet, pinning Zetta in place and eventually tearing the parapet off the truck, though the buggy ends up being wrecked in the process when the truck starts dragging it. Later Wez manages to tear the door off the truck cabin with another hook.
  • How We Got Here: In the Opening Narration, we see an image of Max, heavily injured and standing in the middle of the road without his V8 Interceptor. It's actually the last shot played in reverse as the refinery settlers leave him.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • The Gyro Captain upon learning that Max has been bluffing him with an unloaded shotgun: "Empty, all this time! That's dishonest! Low." This, when the Gyro Captain first met Max by luring him with a deceptive trap.
    • Toadie knocks out the captive strapped to the front of Humungus' vehicle, then casts a guilty look at the compound while stroking the man's hair.
  • I Gave My Word: Papagallo is urged not to let Max leave the compound, at least not with his valuable Interceptor. But Papagallo just says that Max has kept his 'contract' and, having shown himself to be an honorable man, therefore is free to go. Lord Humungus gives his word as well, but Papagallo isn't silly enough to believe that Villains Never Lie.
  • Impairment Shot: Max regains consciousness to find the Gyro Captain ferrying him to safety, telling him in a distorted voice: "Relax, partner, relax."
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Not so much "fancy" as it is "what outfit?" Lord Humungus must have a major case of sunburn.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • The mook shooting down the autogyro with arrows would be nigh-impossible to pull off in real life.
    • Wez shoots a running rabbit with his arm crossbow.
      Toadie: SEE! Nothing can escape! The Humungus rules the wastelands!
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • The Gyro Captain likes snakes - both as a booby-trap device and as a thrown weapon. Oh, and as a food source, too - he's got a recipe for snake, Fricasee Of Reptile...
    • The Feral Kid uses a razor-edged metal boomerang, using a chain-reinforced gauntlet to catch it safely on return.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Played straight with the Feral Kid, averted with Dog.
  • Improvised Armour:
    • Protective sports gear is used by both Marauders and settlers.
    • The truck is modified with a steel plate protecting the engine to prevent Humungus shooting it again, fighting parapets with Spikes of Doom forged from metal fence pickets, and perforated steel plate shielding the tires.
  • It's the Only Way
    • The settlers are on the verge of giving up, so when Max offers to fetch them a vehicle that can haul the tanker, they decide to accept his offer despite the risk he might just steal the 'down payment' fuel, find another vehicle and not come back.
    • Max can barely stand after crashing his Interceptor, but volunteers to drive the truck because he's run out of options—either he helps the settlers break through the Marauder cordon or he dies along with them.
  • Kick the Dog: When Max brings in the truck he's treated like a hero, only to curtly refuse to drive it for the breakout as he has what he wants. When Papagallo tries to convince him to join their community instead, he punches the wounded man and then shoos away the Feral Kid when he wants to join him.
  • Jump Scare:
    • When the Feral Kid reaches for a shotgun shell on the edge of the truck's hood during the climax chase, a bloodied Wez suddenly comes out of nowhere and grabs the Kid's hand, screaming.
    • When Max first inspects the truck, he opens the driver's side door only for the corpse of its driver to fall out, complete with Scare Chord.
  • Large Ham Title: The Toadie introduces his master thus: "Greetings from The Humungus! The Lord Humungus! The Warrior of the Wasteland! The Aya-tollah of Rock and Rolla!"
  • Lawman Gone Bad: Implied with some of the Marauders who wear Main Force Patrol uniforms and drive Pursuit Specials. This was foreshadowed in the first film when Max worried that he would become no different from the terminal crazies the MFP was up against.
  • Leatherman: Driving in a dusty desert valley doesn't stop everyone from wearing black leather. Mind you a lot of the settlers are wearing fur jackets, so it's probably colder than it looks.
  • Make an Example of Them: After Max breaks through his cordon with the truck, Lord Humungus drops the pretense of negotiation. He has the surviving scouts strung up and tortured to death in view of the compound, while promising to Leave No Survivors.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Lord Humungus and many of his gang who wear police helmets and other assorted masks.
  • Men of Sherwood: The survivors at the oil refinery spend the film fighting against a Wasteland Warlord and his army but, after the first few scenes, they only lose a few people and those people are mainly leaders rather than the soldiers who man the defenses throughout the film.
  • Molotov Cocktail: The Gyro Captain drops molotovs from his autogyro, even nailing Lord Humungus at one point. The Mechanic throws molotovs from the truck until he is hit and drops one onto himself. He's not too fussed about being on fire (possibly due to being unable to feel his legs) but the Warrior Woman leaves cover to help him out and gets shot.
  • Morality Pet: The Gyro Captain is planning to escape just like Max, but the girl he wants won't leave the people who've become her family to go with him. He takes a deep breath and stays with her.
  • Narrator All Along: The Nostalgic Narrator of The Road Warrior turns out to be an elderly, dying Feral Child, now leader of the Great Northern Tribe.
  • New Old West: A post-apocalyptic variation. Like many a Wild West gunslinger before him, Max is a badass drifter who gets roped into helping a beleaguered settlement defend itself from bandits. And just like his predecessors, he moves on after the battle is over, having protected a civilization that has no place for deadly wanderers.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: After Max completes his mission to get the truck to the refinery, he turns down an offer to drive it in the ensuing mission to evacuate the area and escape from Hummungus' gang. He then sets out on his own, intending to leave for good, but an attack by Wez subsequently destroys his vehicle and leaves him with no choice other than to participate in the mission after all. If Max had been allowed to leave unmolested, it would have deprived the refinery inhabitants of their greatest road warrior and significantly reduced their chances of success. Instead, the attack on Max ensures he will be fighting on their side.
  • Nitro Boost: The Humungus has nitro boost on his personal vehicle. When Max tries running the blockade in his V8 Interceptor, Wez steals the vehicle and uses the nitro to catch up and run Max off the road. Humungus himself uses the boost in the final battle to catch up after he's forced to stop and extinguish the flames from the molotov dropped on his vehicle. However he doesn't realise that Max has turned the truck round and is heading back in his direction. Humungous comes over a hill moving too fast to stop or swerve and slams right into the truck, killing him and Wez and causing the truck to crash.
  • No New Fashions in the Future: The apocalypse obviously happened in the 1980s, because the remnants of fashion are frozen there. The nameless heroic warrior woman has crimped hair, and Arkie Whiteley's character looks like she stepped out of an 80's aerobics class. The villains' technicolor mohawks and some of their leather gear are also pretty solidly confined to 80's punk culture.
  • No-One Could Have Survived That: Wez drives off after seeing Max's crashed Interceptor explode along with all its fuel in a huge ball of fire, not knowing that Max crawled out of the car beforehand. Max is then rescued by the Gyro Captain after he sees smoke rising from the direction Max left in.
  • No Place for Me There: Papagallo offers Max a place in their community and a future where Living Is More than Surviving. Even though both the Feral Kid and the Gyro Captain are shown to take up the offer, Max continues roaming the wasteland just like he was at the start of the movie. The revelation that the townfolk were all along planning to send him to his death by getting him to drive the decoy fuel transportation likely did not help.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Wez wears a wide-eyed, fierce, almost-haka face in practically every scene, but still manages to bug out his eyes even more when he is about to get crushed between Max's tanker and Humungus's speedcar.
    • A Black Comedy moment when the Gyro Pilot has a shotgun wired up in his face with Max's dog holding a cord to the trigger in its mouth. At one point the dog turns its head at the sight of a rabbit running past... yikes!
    • The Marauders pursue Max right into the compound, but the defenders manage to close the gate after only a couple of vehicles have gone through. The driver of the third vehicle finds himself looking down the muzzle of the gate flamethrower, and his expression says it all.
    • After opening the gas tank of Max's wrecked Interceptor, the Toadie notices too late the lit fuse of the booby trap...
  • One Hit Poly Kill: The first shot Max fires during the climax takes out the driver of one car, which takes out another vehicle.
  • Peekaboo Corpse: Subverted as Max doesn't even blink when the crashed semi's long-dead driver falls out of the cab.
  • Pet the Dog: Max's attitude towards everyone is selfish and callous; the first crack in his facade is him clutching his dog protectively after it attacks the disabled mechanic and it looks like the others might harm it. His next moment is when he gives a wind-up music box to the Feral Kid.
  • Pop the Tires: Wez with his wrist-mounted crossbow, and then a Marauder with a multi-barreled air rifle, fire at the tires of the Mack truck. Since it's such a huge and powerful vehicle with multiple wheels it doesn't accomplish much, and the truck keeps on going despite the flattened tires.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Dog: An especially iconic one!
  • Pragmatic Hero: While helping the good guys, Max is first and foremost motivated by his own personal well-being and a supply of gas he can secure. And he would rather leave than bother with further help for the people living in the refinery.
    The man: [barely able to speak] Tha-thank you... Thank you. Thank you!
    Mad Max: Save it. I'm here just for the gasoline.
  • The Promised Land: The villagers are trying to locate their own promised land.
  • Ramp-rovisation: As Max watches through binoculars a motorbike rider does this to leap over the walls of the compound. As he was by himself, he presumably didn't last very long.
  • Recurring Extra: Several of the unnamed, uncredited members of both the Refinery Tribe (such as the archers guarding the gate, a red-bearded man wearing pink and a slightly built blonde woman, and the doctor who the Captain's Girl assists) and Lord Humungus's marauders.
  • Robbing the Dead:
    • After the opening chase scene, Max rushes to a crashed vehicle and puts out containers to gather up the leaking fuel. That there's a man still trapped in the wreckage doesn't bother him at all. Likewise he's unfazed by the decaying corpse of the truck driver and takes a music box from his dead hand that is later given to the Feral Kid.
    • Max and the Gyro Captain return to the autogiro to find that the snake has killed a Marauder. Max goes through his pockets and finds a couple of shotgun shells. One breaks apart in his hands, but the other seems intact enough to load into his (now revealed to be empty) shotgun.
  • Running Gag: Max trying to make his shotgun actually useful.
  • Running the Blockade:
    • Several settlers are sent out to find a vehicle capable of hauling their fuel, but they're quickly run down and killed (or captured and made to wish they had been killed).
    • Max sneaks out at night, fetches the truck he saw earlier and drives it back through the surrounding Marauders. He's given his Interceptor back in exchange, but when he tries to drive it out Wez is ready for him. Despite driving a much faster vehicle this time, he's run off the road and barely escapes with his life.
    • For the final act, Max drives the tanker truck—now heavily modified for defense—while the rest of the settlers use this distraction to flee in the opposite direction.
  • Sane Boss, Psycho Henchmen: Lord Humungus commands a gang of renegades even crazier than him, especially The Dragon Wez, a psycho punk who wants the settlers dead, especially when his protegee The Golden Youth is killed early on.
  • Shout-Out: Humungus refers to his "dogs of war" and says they are in the "valley of death."
  • Shipped in Shackles
    • Max keeps the Gyro Captain in shackles, even after he leads him to the refinery. He only gives him the key after he helps fly Max back to the abandoned truck.
    • After Wez repeatedly defies him Humungus has his Ax-Crazy Dragon chained to the front of his vehicle like a rabid dog, releasing him for the final battle.
  • Ship Tease: Subverted. In any other film, the manner of the Warrior Woman's apology to Max, where she briefly touches him on the arm might peg her as a potential Love Interest. Not here, though, as she gets killed during the final chase.
  • The Silent Bob: Max himself only has sixteen lines in the whole film.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: The Gyro Captain and Max's dog have this vibe.
  • So Much for Stealth: Max tries to sneak through the Marauder camp at night only to fall down a hole. As he's carrying four jerry cans of fuel this makes a lot of noise that draws a Marauder to him. He's saved by the Feral Kid imitating a dingo howl.
  • The Stakeout: Max waits up in the hills watching the compound with binoculars. After a couple of days, he gets his opportunity when he sees the scout wounded, and goes to rescue him while the gang is busy chasing the others.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: Max's tattered MFP uniform aside, one of the occupants of the refinery is an old gent still wearing his army uniform.
  • Stock Footage: Used for the opening narration.
  • Super-Reflexes: Max is able to disable the snake resting on the autogyro with a single grab. The Gyro Captain is impressed, saying no-one's been able to do that before.
  • Talent Double: The backflip done by the Feral Kid was actually performed by a local Broken Hill gymnast girl Melissa. That was the only stunt not performed by Emil Minty.
  • Technically a Transport: Max drives an armoured tanker truck as a Decoy Convoy to lure the Humongous' forces away from the settlers' caravan.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: In video releases, the packaging revealed that the fuel was in the bus, not the tanker.
  • Wasteland Elder: Papagallo is a somewhat younger version of this trope. He leads the refinery settlers to The Promised Land, even if he doesn't survive to see it happen. The Feral Kid eventually becomes this trope in the ending narration.
  • Wasteland Warlord: Lord Humungus is one of the most famous examples, a brutal and relentless warlord in charge of a raider party who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: Max's shotgun for most of the movie. He uses it to bluff Wez into retreating at the start of the movie and rigs it up to keep the Gyro Captain captured. It's only when he searches a dead Marauder and finds a single shotgun shell that we discover that the gun has been empty all along.
  • Wham Shot: Two of these occur near the end, the first is at the end of the final battle when it turns out the tanker was carrying sand instead of gasoline, and the other is when the camera pans to the Feral Kid, revealing him to be the Narrator All Along.
  • Wild Child: The "Feral Kid," as his name suggests, is a wild kid who seems to have raised himself in the wasteland. He wears fur and growls at people.
  • "You!" Exclamation: Wez when he catches sight of Max a second time.
    "YOU! You can run, but you can't hide!"

"And the Road Warrior? That was the last we ever saw of him. He lives now... only in my memories."


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mad Max 2, The Road Warrior



In a world where fresh food is a luxury, canned dog food is an easy source of nutrition and flavor.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / DogFoodDiet

Media sources: