THE FINAL transition from nice-guy cop with a solid moral disposition to ruthless road warrior is neatly done in this brilliant sequel to Mad Max.
The leather is tattier, leg irons support his shot-out knee, his XB Hardtop is a little worse for wear and has had a few new mods, like giant fuel tanks in the back, and he’s found himself a clever dog who helps him out of the odd scrape and is happy to wait for leftover Dinky Di dog food once Max has had his fill.
Yep, life couldn’t get peachier for ol’ Max – blasting down the road, scavenging for fuel and living on dog food. The thing that keeps him going is the occasional run in with the more organised riff raff who have the same life goal of finding fuel to keep them going.
When he foils an ambush by a gyrocopter pilot, Max learns there’s a heavily defended refinery churning out fuel, and he’s just got to have some, which is the basis of the film.
Trouble is, the nastiest bunch of no-good villains this side of Broken Hill (where much of the film was shot) were also in the queue for a tank of guzzoline, and Max had already managed to get them off-side earlier in the film. Leader of the gang is The Humungous, who looks like he had a nasty accident with a pot of boiling human growth hormone as a toddler, and his lieutenant is Kawasaki-rider Wez, with his male pillion bitch, who Max narrowly avoids in the opening scenes.
The rest of the film is about how Max tries to outsmart the gang, so he can get in and out of the compound with full tanks of gas. But a shot of NOS, and a chrome exhaust stack, brings about the tragic demise of that wonderful XB.
There are a bunch of classic cars among the 80 used in the film, and the keen of eye will spot a pink 1959 Desoto, a couple of Valiant Chargers, a Monaro with a front end that looks more at home on a Willys, a ZG Fairlane, a Landau, a couple of F100s, a VF Valiant, an XA coupe, a chopped up HQ Statesman and a Customline.
The Interceptor is actually two cars. The original XB from Mad Max was modified and is featured in the close-up and interior shots in this film, while a replica was made for the chase scenes and was blown up as part of the movie.
The genius of this film is George Miller’s vision of a post-apocalyptic dystopia, not to mention a brilliant cast of characters, from The Humungous and Wez to the Gyrocopter Pilot and the paraplegic mechanic, who gets one of the film’s most memorable lines: “Last of the V8 Interceptors – a piece of history. Would have been a shame to blow it up.”
Then there’s Virginia Hey’s smoking hot Warrior Woman, the righteous leader of the compound, Papagallo, with his twin 351-engined buggy, and the Feral Kid with his lethal boomerang and limited vocabulary.
Great characters, fantastic action, iconic cars – Mad Max II has it all and deserves its inclusions in greatest movie lists.
A fitting sequel to the greatest Aussie car film ever made. It’s such a shame they went the next step with Mad Max III: Beyond Thunderdome, which moved away from the car theme, the one thing that makes these films resonate with all who love classic Aussie muscle cars.
- 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT351 Coupe,
- Twin 351-powered buggy
- Various Valiant Chargers
- Ford Landau and other barely discernible classics
COOL FLICK FACT:
The stunt where the bike rider hits the car and cartwheels through the air was actually a serious accident. The stuntman was supposed to miss the car, but smashed his legs and was nearly killed – a close look shows a broken leg bending luridly.