The best of the “Mad Max” movie series is the second, called “Road Warrior.” In a post-apocalyptic Australian desert, a former cop named Max, played by a young and buff Mel Gibson, drives around with a sawed-off shotgun in a tricked-out American/Australian muscle car wearing tight black leather and a large chip on his shoulder.
The reason for that chip on Max’s shoulder – the reason he’s mad – is that he was such a good cop in the first movie that a bunch of weirdo thugs sought to defund him. Max was too tough for them, so they settled for his wife and infant son.
Max brought justice to those bad guys, and I don’t mean the social kind.
In the second movie, Road Warrior, almost everyone is a marauding bad guy. These new bad guys are even weirder than the old ones, but in a predictable and conformist way. One has a pink mohawk haircut and rides a motorcycle with a smooth skinny transvestite on the back. (Such realism was not illegal when this movie was made in the 80’s before the First Amendment was abolished.)
“Humongous” is their leader, or at least their head bully. Most wear masks.
These exhibitionist pervs wield makeshift weapons like Molotov cocktails, nails and clubs – the usual Antifa stuff. They typically fight behind human shields who look a little like soccer moms.
They’re mostly peaceful, mind you, aside from that penchant for burning, looting and murdering which is all the fault of their victims for getting in the way.
They’re comically stupid and incompetent, even as barbarians go. They sometimes carelessly injure one another. They accidentally immolate themselves. One loser reaches to catch a sharpened boomerang and it slices off his fingers. He’s horrified for an instant but then, when the others laugh at him, he pathetically revels in their attention.
If there were the smell of pot in the air, a few thousand vagrants pooping in the streets, and a pusillanimous mayor kissing up to these psychopaths, the scene would be as bad as today’s Democrat-controlled cities.
Helping Max against the bad guys are a genuinely diverse group including an odd guy with a one-man gyrocopter, a resourceful but mute feral boy and of course a beautiful woman who coos to Max, “I was wrong about you.”
The movie centers on the barbarians’ assault of a tiny outpost where a few dozen inhabitants are hanging on. The real reason for their assault is that they like to burn, loot and murder, but the ostensible reason is that the outpost surrounds a little oil well and a miniature refinery to make gasoline, which is a rare commodity in this failed world.
The few dozen hangers-on are good and brave people who talk, reason, agree and disagree constructively. No one censors, name-calls or shouts anyone down. It’s an island of civilization in a sea of dystopia.
We see a few assault scenes where the hangers-on repel the attackers, but just barely. Then Humongous offers the hangers-on a deal. If they will walk away from the outpost and leave him the gasoline, he will spare their lives.
Some of the hangers-on want to appease Humongous. The alternative, they point out, is to get canceled. To objections that Humongous will renege on the deal once the hangers-on open the gate, the appeasers reply, “But he’s given us his word!”
Not to spoil it for you, but with Max’s help they reject the offer and get away safely with the gasoline. On a coast 2,000 miles away, they establish the “Northern Tribe” which is hinted to be the seeds of a new civilization.
Disappointingly, the woman gets killed in a truck chase. Max disappears but the brave gyrocopter pilot and clever feral boy become leaders of the Northern Tribe.
Civilization is reborn, but it’s all nip and tuck. Today’s world should be so lucky.