Picks and Pans Review: The Road Warrior

updated 06/07/1982 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/07/1982 01:00AM

"For reasons long forgotten," the narrator intones: "two mighty warrior tribes went to war—and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Their world crumbled. Men began to feed on men. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive." Against the backdrop of that post-nuclear-war scenario, young Australian director George Miller has fashioned a stylish adventure film about a sort of samurai warrior of the next Dark Ages. Mel Gibson, the New York-born actor who has become a star in his adopted home Down Under (he was the dark-haired standout in Gallipoli), is the loner who saves a man's life in exchange for a tank of gas, then finds himself in an embattled outpost of civilization that has one last chance to thwart an attack by a gang of subhuman invaders. Miller has managed to summon up the hellish, surreal quality of films like John Carpenter's Escape From New York. The sets, costumes, makeup, special effects and stunts are all first-rate, as is Gibson's performance. This is not family entertainment, however. Despite its occasional outbreaks of humanity, it is generally a violent picture. (R)

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