A sparse crowd congregated at my apartment this time for another of our east-end film nights, actually it was just Jules and I, but that's okay. Tiff's impending midnight madness screenings and a slew of colds and fevers has thinned the potential guest list but to make up for it Jules has supplied another amazing bounty from his last beer run to Buffalo. The highlight of which was the Sierra Nevada southern hemisphere harvest ale.
Last time out we watched the semi-atrocious Solarbabies, a kind of low budget Mad Max/Lacrosse/Rollerball mashup which supplied laughs and cries in equal measure, all unintentional. Finally though, back to the classics. The quality of the film this week is way up with a long overdue revisiting of Mad Max 2 aka The Road Warrior, on blu-ray of course.
Now, the guys give me a hard time over my hi-def advocacy ever since I spoiled our screening of Hard Boiled by whingeing all the way through the film about the fact it was only on DVD. Can I just say though, it would certainly have been better on blu-ray and Mad Max 2 is a case in point.
This new print looks so fresh and sharp that it feels like it was shot this year. What struck me most about this film is really how well it has stood the test of time. It was in fact even better than I ever remember it being. It is better than I had any right to expect. Somehow, I think they managed to get every element just right.
The cinematography is epic with huge panaromas of the outback "wastelands" of Oz. Some of the shots are so wide you can actually see the curvature of the earth.
The characters and costumes are timeless, gritty and disturbing and though it's pretty over the top it manages to avoid feeling camp and stays menacing. I think the gay biker vigilantes in bondage gear have only become more terrifying as I've gotten older and will continue to do so.
The road chase action sequences are just the best. All done for real and it pays off, you really appreciate the speed and danger of it all. The orchestral score is also a triumph. There's not much dialogue to worry about and what there is doesn't detract. Some of it is even really funny. And the cars, oh the cars are glorious.
The root of this films success though is Max, the quintessential nihilist wandering the wastelands and the fact that Max is so long gone he wants nothing from anyone, he won't let anyone near him. Atleast Travis Bickle had a plan, an aim. There's a beautiful girl, Max ignores her until she is pierced with a crossbow and lies bleeding on some barbed wire. Max doesn't flinch. The "Paradise" that they are heading for, Max knows it doesn't exist. He meets people who try and befriend him, he deletes them from his facebook. Max has really had enough. The only flicker of humanity shows in Max's relationship with the so credited "feral kid", whom is revealed as narrator right at the last moment. The credits rolled and I had to sit and take a moment. I had to watch it again the next day and enjoyed it even more without the distraction of Jules systematically spilling beer on each item of furniture in my apartment. I just love everything about Mad Max 2.
This film is more than just a kitsch cult item, it's a bonafide classic of the genre.