Road Warrior WonderBros

Man, I’m going off-book for every post this week. I said I was going to do ten tips for The Karate Kid or Rain Man, but instead, I’m going with another 80s movie, The Road Warrior! Now The Road Warrior may seem like an unlikely choice for a plate of screenwriting lessons. The script focuses mainly on action, which doesn’t translate very well on the page. But look closer and you’ll find that how the script tackles action is the secret to its success. Today’s studio films are so jam packed with action, they’ve lost track of why they’re adding it in the first place. Maybe to fill up their trailers. Maybe because they’re afraid the audience will get bored. I don’t know. But The Road Warrior comes in at a lean 95 minutes, and only includes action sequence when they’re necessary (true, the smaller budget probably contributed to this, but that may be a lesson in itself – don’t spend money if you don’t have to). What sticks with you when you watch The Road Warrior are its amazing set pieces (read: car chases), and particularly the climactic chase. These may not be as flashy as the stuff you see today, but they’re definitely more brutal and real. That’s because there were no special effects.  Everything you saw was real.  The problem with these digitally-aided chases today is that they all carry a sheen of fakeness. And “fake” feels safe – the exact opposite of how you want your audience to feel in the theater. But I’m getting off track here. Let’s reach back to one of the greatest action movies ever and see if we can’t learn something from it.

1) Never underestimate a simple story – I see so many writers writing themselves into corners because they’re trying to do too much with their story. Look at the plot of The Road Warrior. The good guys must find a way to escape the bad guys with their fuel in tact. The great thing about a simple plot is that the audience is never confused. Everybody always knows what’s going on. These days in movies like Transformers 2 or Pirates of the Caribbean 4, that’s rarely the case.

2) Universal Motivation – Movies work well when there’s universal motivation. This means every character is motivated by the same thing. In this case, it’s fuel. Every character wants it. No character wants to give it away. This provides ample opportunities for conflict, since all of your characters are fighting over the same thing.

3) If your hero doesn’t say a whole lot, make sure he does a whole lot – A character who doesn’t speak much must speak with his actions. Max isn’t a talker, but he’s very active. If he’s not outrunning the road pirates, he’s stopping to inspect curious objects (the gyro-copter), forming his plan to get into the fuel yard, heading out to get the fuel truck. He’s always DOING something. If you have a character who doesn’t speak and doesn’t do, you have a boring character.

4) Script Exercise: Pretend that sound isn’t working on set today – Pretend you’re a writer on set and the director’s just informed you that the sound equipment broke. Hence, you need to come up with a version of the scene that doesn’t contain dialogue. As a guideline, watch the scene in The Road Warrior where Max befriends the Ferrel Kid. There’s no dialogue in it but it’s very powerful. Max takes out an old music box he found on the road and starts playing it. The kid is intrigued. Max plays a little more before tossing it to him. The kid spins the crank, the music comes out, and he gets excited. It’s a simple scene, but it establishes a solid friendship between the two. The Road Warrior has a few really nice moments like these.

5) Establish the danger in your world – If we don’t feel the danger, we won’t be afraid.  And you need your audience to feel afraid of the bad guys.  Early on, we watch a band of the road pirates mercilessly kill a man and rape his wife. Admittedly, this would be a hard scene to show today. But it really established how dangerous this world was. If you do this right, it will pay dividends throughout the rest of the movie. When the bad guys are chasing Max in the truck, for example, we know if they catch him they’re not simply going to put a bullet in his head.  There will be torture, pain, horrible things done to him that we can’t even begin to imagine.  Which is why we don’t want him to get caught!

6) Urgency in the form of an ultimatum – One of the easiest ways to create urgency is through an ultimatum. The road pirates come up to the oil yard and broadcast an announcement that the good guys have 24 hours to leave the yard or else they will be slaughtered. Urgency is one of your best friends as a storyteller (as evidenced by yesterday’s article), and this is a really easy way to instigate it.

7) Make characters memorable with their actions, wardrobe, disposition, possessions – Too many writers try to make characters memorable with their words. Instead, look for ways to make them memorable with their actions and outfits and overall disposition. Helicopter Guy wears goggles and has a quirky flying machine. The Ferrel Kid speaks in grunts and has a bladed boomerang. Max eats dog food to survive. It’s these extracurricular things that the audience typically remembers, not what your characters say.

8) You want your hero going into the climax at his worst – The worse your hero is prepared for the climax, the better. Max is nearly dead when he takes control of that tanker. He’s got one leg, one eye, and one arm (think about that – he has only ONE ARM to drive this tanker!).

9) You want your bad guys going into the climax at their best – It shouldn’t be a fair fight. The bad guys have 30 cars and hundreds of weapons to Max’s 1 car and handful of weapons.

10) Find irony in your set pieces – Set pieces are supposed to be big and action-packed and crazy. So writers look for the biggest most action-packed craziest way to do them. By taking this approach, however, they often miss out on the more nuanced moments that make a set piece memorable. Many times it’s the TINIEST thing that can be the stand out moment in a set-piece. For example, in the ending of The Road Warrior, a final shotgun shell rolls out onto the hood of the truck. It’s out there dangling on that dashboard and getting that final bullet turns out to be the only thing we care about for two minutes.  This amongst an insane car chase with over 30 cars!

As great as this movie is, there’s still one thing I haven’t been able to figure out about it. Max is a really selfish hero.  He doesn’t care about anyone but himself.  He’s not very talkative.  He’s a dick to everyone.  I mean there’s a moment where he’s about to save somebody but before he does he says, “I’ll only do this if you give me gas.”  But we still love this guy.  Why?  Is it as simple as that he has a dog?  That he connects with the little kid?  Is it that the bad guys are so much worse?  Max today would probably be rewritten to be more “likable.”  And it would’ve ruined the character.  So my question to you is, why do we like Max?  I feel like if we can figure that out, we can shed some light on just what “likable” means.

  • Warren Hately

    I always knew this was retitled (and subtitled, right?) in the US, but I thought The Road Warrior was what they called the original Mad Max. If you guys are unfamiliar with the first in the series you should check it out. *That* is a great film on a budget.

    • laptopman

      The film known as mad max 2 cost 2.2 mill compared to the first which was made for 700k. Most of the stunt men ended up in hospital due to the severity of the road chase chaos. The most famous accident being the biker who broke both legs as he hit the ditch and went sailing straight into the football camera Dean Semler had set up. Most of the end tanker chase with main A unit Mel and Minty was shot stationary with Dean Semler shaking the crap out of the camera to simulate movement.

      • carsonreeves1

        Yeah, I noticed all those low angle shots inside the cars that were shot without the car moving. But wow, add the rumble of an engine in post and a shaky camera and it’s crazy how easily we’re tricked.

    • brenkilco

      Mad Max was originally dubbed with American actors for the U.S. drive in market. A feeling that the grind house crowd wouldn’t be able to cope with the Aussi accents. Pretty funny if you catch that version today.

  • Andrew Orillion

    The fact that he lost his wife and child plays a big part in making him likable. Granted, it’s only really mentioned in the prologue, but it buys him a lot of initial sympothy. The dog definitely helps, too.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Great character.
    This is a guy who’s only friend is a dingo.
    And the kid — runs around loose like a stray.

    Watched Iron Man 3 last night.
    Couldn’t help but notice the scene with the stray kid
    — that ends up helping Iron Man.

  • FD

    Yeah, he loses his entire family at the beginning. I think that’s enough. It’s a similar scenario as in Gladiator; you don’t have to like him, but you do empathise with him.

    • Citizen M

      Your villain could lose his entire family and you would understand his rage and darkness of soul.

      Something more than loss of family has to be involved when it comes to people we root for or don’t.

      • ripleyy

        All a villain is, is a hero who sees a different perspective. Honestly, from the villain’s perspective, you could easily believe the Hero is the bad-guy. But no matter what their loss is, it’s universal but I agree that we are hard-wired into believing the villain doesn’t deserve to win. I don’t know where this is going, but I just thought it was interesting when you said something much more needs to drive the person.

  • Hephaestus

    Good question. I’d offer that the principle where “you make the anti-hero likable by surrounding him with more detestable villains” is in effect here.

    Also, the practical, unsentimental qualities of Max make sense in this lawless world. They seem like the proper response to the horrors he’s experienced. See: High Plains Drifter, where Clint walks into town and rapes a girl in the first few minutes of the story… but somehow we still like him. We like him because he’s been attacked first, and we give him a pass to react as he sees fit. And we trust that whatever he does is ultimately going to make the world a better place.

  • Lenny

    I suppose we like Max because he’s a survivor with his own code, like Snake Plissken, Omar Little or Parker: the badass against the world living by his rules. By the way, great review. I hope there will be more in the same vein. Something like Ten Screenwriting Tips From The Warriors, or Why Escape From New York Is So Awesome, or The Ten Reasons Why Adventures In Babysitting Works And Jonah Hill’s The Sitter Don’t.

    • romer6

      Adventures in Babysitting is awesome. I mean, not a masterpiece but a really entertaining movie. Carson must have loved it since there are so many references to a certain Greek God.

      • drifting in space

        I effing love Adventures in Babysitting. Supremely underrated movie.

    • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

      I have a pretty good reason that Adventures in Babysitting > The Sitter…

      …a young Elisabeth Shue.

      When I was 11 years old, in the hospital for a week after appendix surgery, I took a break from watching a shitload of X-Files on the VCR-TV they wheeled into my room (Children’s hospitals are the shit) and watched Adventures in Babysitting. Just saying, as an 11 year old, I definitely wanted Elisabeth Shue to be my babysitter….

      • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

        (there are obviously many other reasons it is a superior film, but Ms. Shue doesn’t hurt…)

        • BSBurton

          Have you seen Hamlet 2? She’s great in that lol. And still smoking.

      • drifting in space

        I want to up vote this until it breaks.

  • JakeBarnes12

    Yeah, this all works because of the stripped-down but focused action. That, and the crazy in Mel Gibson’s eyes. Some things you can’t fake.

    Contrast that with the bloated “Man of Steel,” which is a horribly convoluted mess from start to finish.

    In a similar vein to “The Road Warrior,” Joss Whedon’s TV show “Firefly” and its movie “Serenity” succeed brilliantly in setting up the “Reavers” (read “Indians”) as fearsome villains who’ll rape, skin, and eat you alive. And that’s before they start torturing you.

    • romer6

      I agree with you on the “Man of Steel”. That movie is a mess. I keep thinking how they could get it so wrong.

      • JakeBarnes12

        Yeah, if “Man of Steel” showed up as an amateur weekend spec, it would get a royal kicking for the overcomplicated yet shallow story, myriad plot holes, and underdeveloped Clark & Lois relationship. Structure was all over the map as well.

        • Citizen M

          Thank God none of us sullied our reputations by authoring that piece of drek.

          (I keed! I keed!)

          • JakeBarnes12

            No doubt even as we speak Goyer is contemplating giving back the money and begging for the screenwriting community’s forgiveness.

          • drifting in space

            Yeah. We wouldn’t reward him with a lucrative studio deal where he can continue to churn out that junk.

          • BSBurton

            I thought ghost rider 2’s script would stop him from getting work. It made me roll over in my discount theater seat hahahaha

          • drifting in space

            ROFL!

        • BSBurton

          Hahahaha. Love the Snyder/ Goyer bashing for that crappy movie. I thought they were finally going to do away with the alter ego because he played so loose with his identity (“raised in Kansas, been here 33 years”). And he just shows up at the end as mr reporter douche.

          Oh, and the one the military characters looks at the gravity device and says “he’s making earth into krypton.” Except there’s never been a mention of Krypton and the guy should have no way of knowing that… Writer FAIL

    • klmn

      Not just the crazy in Mel’s eyes. For one thing he’s smaller than just about everyone he fights. There is a theory that movie stars tend to be short people with large heads, making them appear more childlike. (Obviously there are exceptions to this).

      • JakeBarnes12

        At a dinner party Mel Gibson got into a pissing match with famous (and very tall) British film critic Barry Norman about who was taller.

        So they were standing back to back when Norman noticed the obviously shorter Gibson was edging up on his toes to try to close the gap.

        To avoid trouble one of the guests said they were the same height, which caused Gibson to turn to Norman and say “you see?”

        Norman replied “If you say so, Mel. If you say so.”

      • Poe_Serling

        “For one thing he’s smaller than just about everyone he fights.”

        Alan Ladd – 5’6″ vs. Jack Palance – 6’4″ in Shane.

        The filmmakers used boxes, ramps, and camera angles to give the illusion that Ladd was much taller than he actually was in each scene.

        • Citizen M

          While filming Boy on a Dolphin (1957), Sophia Loren (5′ 8 1/2″) was required to walk in a trench in order to give audiences the impression that her diminutive co-star, Alan Ladd, was taller than she. — IMDb

          • Poe_Serling

            It seems that Ladd dealt with height issues throughout his successful film career.

            From his TCM bio:

            “Rejected at first for major film work because of his diminutive frame, Ladd’s persistence on the radio and in minor film roles helped him become one of talent scout Sue Carol’s clients, and she orchestrated his ascent with a string of minor roles, including a role as a reporter in “Citizen Kane” (1941). Divorced from his first wife, he married the controlling Carol in 1942, who helped him score a studio contract at Paramount. That same year, she was critical in her husband being cast in his star-making role, playing hitman-with-a-conscience Raven in Graham Greene’s “This Gun for Hire” (1942). Ladd’s stylish, ultra-serious persona immediately clicked with audiences – particularly female – who responded to his new brand of onscreen masculinity with a layer of vulnerability underneath. Showing enormous chemistry with co-star Veronica Lake, the two would often be paired together in several Paramount productions, as they brought out the best in each other; their
            cool, blond looks meshed perfectly, but equally important was the fact that she was the only actress on the lot shorter than Ladd.”

          • filmklassik

            Great story, but…

            Scott was the ONLY actress on the lot who wasn’t 5’6″??

    • garrett_h

      “That, and the crazy in Mel Gibson’s eyes. Some things you can’t fake.”

      I literally LOL’d!

  • romer6

    I think there are a couple of reasons why we love Max (well, at least I do!). The first is obviously the death of his wife and kid which makes us understand the bleakness of the character. But I think the most important thing is the world that is constructed around him. As we get to know this place it becomes easier to understand that one would have to go great lengths to survive, someone overly nice wouldn´t last a day. It is a world for the strongest. It´s just like the original “Conan, The Barbarian”. We see Conan slay and kill and gutter but we still cheer for him. Not only because his whole village was slaughtered and he was turned into a slave, but because we come to realize that in order to survive in that world you probably would have to become even more dangerous than the world itself. This is a powerful device but can only be used in very specific circunstances. I would point also “Pitch Black” in the same vein.

    • carsonreeves1

      Good post Romer. A few people have mentioned that his wife and kid were killed. The thing is, that’s only barely mentioned. So I’m wondering if that’s just something you can point to when asked a specific question like the one I asked. Or if it really does make people like him. Because it’s one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” moments in the opening narration.

  • darren

    Max never changes. That in itself seems unique now.
    We like him because he’s selfish. We’re all selfish at least part of the time and as audience wish-fulfilment, he makes a great anti-hero. His “moment’s” are his humanity, but they won’t force a change. If they did it would weaken his character. Yes he is a product of his envoirnment and his past but there is no doubt that Max could easily be a great leader. For good or evil, he just doesn’t give a fuck.

    • Cambias

      But he does change. At the end he volunteers to drive the tanker even though he will gain absolutely no benefit from doing so.

      • Darren

        He thinks it’s full of gas!

        • carsonreeves1

          Okay I know this has been debated before but… does he think it’s full of gas? Cause I go back and forth on it.

          • MWire

            IMO, he knows that he’s just a decoy. That’s his arc. He goes from a guy who will run you off the road for the gasoline in your tank to a guy that will risk almost certain death to save others.

          • filmklassik

            Disagree. I think the movie makes it pretty clear that Max is driving that truck for selfish reasons. When he volunteers to do so, the leader of the group that has taken him in says something like, “Why should YOU want to help?” and Max says, “Believe me I haven’t got a choice.”‘

            In the sequel, however (MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME), Max makes a decision in Act 3 that is 100 percent unselfish.

        • Cambias

          Even if it is, we’re given no indication that he plans to steal it or keep it. He’s taking on a task that the community needs done.

  • Citizen M

    NARRATOR V/O: But, most of all, I remember the courage of a stranger, a road warrior called Max.

    Maybe that’s what we admire most — courage.

  • JW

    I think most people here have already touched on why we like this guy – we see him go through a traumatic event, he’s alone but has courage, he connects with certain things around him, even if that isn’t other adults and at the end of the day, he’s himself (no sugar coating). I believe there is a fascination with “anti-hero” characters. Characters who have flaws just like the rest of us. Characters who are not perfect and maybe don’t make the decisions we would make, but this is what creates that connection. And, honestly we see it everywhere these days, whether it be Breaking Bad, House, Boardwalk Empire, Homeland, Banshee, The Newsroom and essentially all of these TV shows with one word titles – Revenge, Scandal, Betrayal, etc… Not only does an audience want to see a character that has the balls to do what they wouldn’t, but they also want someone who isn’t perfect (just like them). Biggest take away? Create a main character with issues and flaws just like all of us, and sprinkle in some redeeming factors and you’re good.

  • tobban

    I like these oldies but goodies reviews. More please !

  • RafaelSilvaeSouza

    The Karate Kid… Rain Man… and Carson chooses The Road Warrior. What a rush of nostalgia! Those were the movies I watched when I was a kid.

    People talk a lot about the first Mad Max movie, which I’ve seen at least twice, but I remember so little from it — mainly, the eyeball skipping on the asphalt. The Road Warrior, on the other hand, I can’t forget. Great action movie.
    There’s no doubt that Max is a survivor. But the thing that really makes me sympathize with him is that he’s actually alone and scared. He’s a good guy in a bad world. He only has his dog, his gun and his car. And he’s very afraid to connect to people in a world like the one he lives — specially after what happened to his family. So he has this facade of a man who’s selfish, who only does things for his own benefit… but watch the movie and see how many times he does things for others. Yes, sometimes he’s getting something in return. But most times, he wants something in return only in a attempt to hide the good guy in him. It’s such a cool character.

    Really hoping that the new Mad Max with Tom Hardy is as good as The Road Warrior.

  • garrett_h

    If Max was written today, he’d be Ryan Gosling in DRIVE.

    I know that flick is kinda polarizing, but Gosling’s Driver embodies some of the same characteristics Max does. He doesn’t talk. He’s a bad dude. And sometimes he’s a little hard to like.

    They gave Driver a love interest. They gave Max a dead wife and kid. Both are pretty cliche at the end of the day. We used to have a commenter here at SS that kept a running tally of scripts reviewed that had a husband with a dead wife. I guess the list got so long that she couldn’t keep up and decided to quit posting.

    But the real reason we root for these guys is because they are men of action. They aren’t afraid. They’ll limp into a fight knowing the odds are against them without a hint of fear on their face. It harkens back to the stoic heroes of Westerns like Shane and The Man With No Name. Many a boy growing up wants to be the badass that kicks butt without taking names. That’s why this character resonates.

    • JakeMLB

      Dredd is probably the modern-day Max. And many loved that movie for that exact reason. He’s ruthless, unapologetic and lives by a code. But he has to be in order to survive.

      • filmklassik

        Difference being that Dredd is a tool of the state, while Max is an iconoclast.

    • carsonreeves1

      Great post Garrett. :)

  • Nicholas J

    “The great thing about a simple plot is that the audience is never confused. Everybody always knows what’s going on. These days in movies like Transformers 2 or Pirates of the Caribbean 4, that’s rarely the case.”

    This is a great point. Why is that? With the Pirates movies, each one is more confusing than the previous one. By the third one I seriously had no idea what was going on. Is it because they feel the need to outdo the last one, which to them means a more complex plot? I feel like Elliot and Rossio are better than that. If that’s true, is it studio interference? The script going through too many hands?

    If these movie franchises took note from the original Star Wars trilogy, I feel like we would have infinitely better blockbusters. The basic plot of Empire Strikes Back is seriously just bad guys chase good guys. I’d even argue it’s LESS complex than A New Hope, and is usually thought of as the better movie, though there are many other factors at play obviously.

  • tom8883

    Because he’s authentic; he’s real.

    “As great as this movie is, there’s still one thing I haven’t been able to figure out about it. Max is a really selfish hero. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself. He’s not very talkative. He’s a dick to everyone. I mean there’s a moment where he’s about to save somebody but before he does he says, “I’ll only do this if you give me gas.” But we still love this guy. Why?”

    • Cambias

      I’d say there’s another reason: Gibson (and Miller) make us believe that Max doesn’t like being that guy. He’s forcing himself to be ruthless, but repeatedly shows that he does have some humanity left — as with the scene with the Feral Kid, or the simple fact that he doesn’t kill the Gyro Captain after getting the better of him.

      This lets us vicariously enjoy his ruthlessness, because of course viewers actually like to see a hero who’s a little cruel, as long as the victims deserve it somehow.

  • bozo.buttons

    I think Max demands gas for few reasons. He wants the people to have a stake in their own salvation. He knows that if he just unconditionally helps them, he won’t really be helping them. He also knows they can provide the gas, allowing them to show their own value to the world, and of course the bad guys. But, he also really needs the gas to carry on being Max. He needs to stay independent and not move in with these folks, or else he’s not Max anymore.

    There are a lot of similarities between this movie and High Plains Drifter. Clint Eastwood is much more forward about pushing the villagers out of their comfort zone in that film, but we still love him all the same. Again, it was essential for the people to make sacrifices to learn self-reliance.

    Bozo Out

    • filmklassik

      Eastwood’s character in HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER was far more enigmatic than Max, and, ultimately, almost supernatural. He was basically omnipotent.

      Max, though, is more flawed. He can be hurt. He can even be fooled. Some have pointed out that he has more in common with Eastwood’s Man With No Name than anyone else.

  • fragglewriter

    Great tips Carson.

    #4, needs to be incorporated more in action/drama films to create more suspense or intrigue. #5 – #10 are so great.

    I like main characters who are anti-heroes because they are unpredictable. Max likes the kid and the dog which shows that he is compassionate but also isn’t going to run off and pick daisy or something just as gullible for a female when it doesn’t fit the story.

    I don’t feel that we have to like every protagonist. He/she just has to be interesting and intriguing.

  • http://www.erikvidal.com/ Erik Vidal

    Rule #1: the hero is an expert. And just “an” expert, but THE expert–the best in the world. Audiences (viewers and readers) love to engage with characters that display a high level of technical expertise (this is doubly true for the anti-heroes, it’s why we love Walter White etc). We love Max because he’s an expert at what he does–in this particular case, surviving in an usually harsh environment (it might as well be an alien planet for all the similarities it bears to our current world)–and he does so with an extremely limited access to food, shelter, resources… The Humungous and his crew survive through brute force and numbers; Max is more like Odysseus, he survives entirely on his own through his wits and his nerve. Good stuff, classic hero archetype.

    • Citizen M

      Also, he can think on his feet. If he hits an obstacle, boom! he comes up with another plan. He’s decisive. He doesn’t dither, he acts.

  • Mike.H

    Hey, Tyler Marceca viaThe Disciple Program, I think you inspired these guys from Googleplex, sillicon valley or the other way around? Good Luck…

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/12/tech/innovation/google-throat-tattoo/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

    • Alex Palmer

      Creepy.

  • lesbiancannibal

    Everyone knows this is currently being remade/reimagined/sequelled with Tom Hardy yes? http://screenrant.com/mad-max-fury-road-images-tom-hardy/ . The images look pretty cool.

    • carsonreeves1

      Yes, I’ve read the script! But strangely, Max isn’t the main character. The woman (Charlize Theron) is. It’s quite bizarre in that sense. Not sure how you make a Mad Max movie without Mad Max as the main character.

      • romer6

        You should review this one, Carson! Well, I know it would be filled with spoilers probably, but we might take some good lessons out of it.

  • pitchblack70

    Okay – not sure if someone’s said this yet – or if I’ll be the lone wolf in the comments section. But… I actually didn’t see Road Warrior until about a year ago (while researching one of my scripts.) And – from a modern viewpoint, it isn’t particularly good. Max does come off as leaden and not overly likable. My favorite character in the story, honestly, was the dog! And the chases and villains – both pretty much cliche and boring. I’m not saying that the tips listed above aren’t valid. They are. But as far as the movie (and, I’m therefore assuming the script) Mad Max goes… it isn’t enough. My guess? That at the time, the Road Warrior was a relatively fresh concept. And that’s why it took off like it did. And those that still like it now? Nostalgia. As opposed to The Road Warrior being that Fab of a film… (And mind you, I do like a good action flick, so that’s not it…)

    • filmklassik

      Probably as a modern viewer you were looking for more convolutions in the plot and more backstory for the hero. And, as you said, you wanted him to be more likeable.
      Personally, I couldn’t disagree more, but hey, to each his own.

  • Zapotage

    Could it be something as simple as “star power” for why we like Max? Not every actor has it, but I’d say Mel Gibson does or did. Also, maybe we can relate to his desperation in this, every man for himself, atmosphere, therefore allowing us to excuse his selfish actions as simply actions of survival.

    • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

      That certainly applies in some cases, but in this case, Mel Gibson wasn’t much of a star. Mad Max came out in 1979, it’s the film that put Gibson on the map – Road Warrior came out in 81… he really wasn’t a star until the late 80s, post-Lethal Weapon.

      • filmklassik

        True enough but I think Zapotage was talking about star POWER… that indefinable “something” that very few actors are blessed with, but which Gibson had in spades, even back then.

  • Malibo Jackk

    I’m guessing that you had a reason for writing this.
    I’m guessing that you know, had dealings with, or read about a perfectionist.
    (Of course I could be way off base.)
    What was your inspiration for the perfectionist?

  • Mike.H

    downloaded your script. How bout a log line before I dive in?

  • Citizen M

    The line I quoted was taken from the script madmax2.txt, which I thought was a transcript of the final movie. I see now it isn’t. Your version is the correct one.

    Hmmm. Maybe we admire insanity. People who are crazy enough to keep trying even when all seems lost.

  • Maxi1981

    Mad max is a much better title than road warrior! And he is the quintessential anti- hero that’s why he is so memorable!! I enjoyed the fact that he is a bit if a dick and arrogant and had, dare I say it, FLAWS!! In a weird way mad max reminds me of tony stark in that way. They are both flawed hero’s that are battling both inner and outer demons at the same time.

  • bruckey

    ‘Motor City’ the Blacklist script by Chad St John seems to meet the criteria.

  • filmklassik

    8) You want your hero going into the climax at his worst – The worse your hero is prepared for the climax, the better.

    9) You want your bad guys going into the climax at their best – It shouldn’t be a fair fight.

    — I agree with you, Carson, but try telling that to the writers/producers of the BOURNE series, JACK REACHER, HANNAH, HAYWIRE, the forthcoming THE EQUALIZER, and God knows how many other movies of the last ten years.

    It used to be that the climax in these sorts of stories was akin to “David vs. Goliath.”

    Nowadays, though, David IS Goliath — the baddest, quickest, toughest hombre in town, and nobody — I mean NOBODY — can even touch him.

    Which pretty much drains away all of the suspense (at least for me), but there seems to be an appetite for this sort of thing.

    So what’s going on here?

    • drifting in space

      Dude, for reals. Most of the time I can’t see how they would LOSE the right.

      They take one decent punch and completely takes them out (like we’re supposed to believe that) before getting the strength to continue pummeling the bad guy.

      Puh-lease.

      I’m glad you brought that up because it’s a theme in what I’m writing now. Woohoo!

  • filmklassik

    Well said.

  • Lucid Walk

    I think Max is likable because he once had a family. Keep in mind; Road Warrior is actually a sequel to the film Mad Max, which shows Max as a caring family man before his wife and infant child are murdered, thus sending him down his dark path. Even if we haven’t seen the original, the loss of his family is still mentioned during the Road Warrior’s opening. Everyone can sympathize with the hero who lost the ones they loved, which in turn transforms them into an antihero; and no matter how selfish or cruel they act, we can still like them because we still sympathize with them