In this entry of the Mad Max series, set a few years after the events of The Road Warrior, Max’s nomadic travels lead him to Bartertown, which, as the name implies, is the methane-fueled hub where anyone can go to exchange something they have for something they need. The town is overseen by Aunty (Tina Turner), though it is really run by a dwarf named Master (Angelo Rossito), who gets into a scuffle with Max, where the only resolution anyone will abide by is to battle to the death in a caged arena called ‘Thunderdome’. Following his ordeal, Max manages to make his way to a desert oasis full of children awaiting the return of adults, and who see Max as a messianic figure named Captain Walker, foretold to come back to them and take them to the fabled Tomorrow-morrow Land with his magic. Mel Gibson returns in his last portrayal of the titular anti-hero. George Miller directs the action sequences with his friend George Ogilvie making his feature film debut directing the scenes of dialogue and drama.
Set in the near future, Mel Gibson stars as the titular Max, one of the best police officers working for the MFP fighting against the increasingly hostile lands, full of marauding car and biker gangs who have no regard for life, or for laws, and especially not for law officers. One such gang of bikers, led by a psychopath named Toecutter, is on the rampage and is targeting MFP officers who’ve messed with their way of doing things, putting them all in potential harm’s way. A family man, Max doesn’t know if he’s really cut out to put his neck on the line in a losing battle against anarchy. He soon discovers there is not much escape from the criminal element that has permeated everywhere, and it’s kill or be killed in the lawless and bloodthirsty territories. George Miller directs in this wildly successful action vehicle that propelled Mel Gibson, and Australian cinema itself, to even greater success.
Escape from New York is set in a future 1997, during a time when, after the crime rate has skyrocketed out of control, the island of Manhattan has been turned into an ultra-maximum security prison where the worst of the worst violent criminals are put to live in a state of walled-in anarchy. A potential global crisis emerges when Air Force One is hijacked, forcing the President’s (Donald Pleasance) escape pod to crash land on the island, where he is immediately taken and held hostage by the criminals there, led by the vicious warlord, The Duke (Isaac Hayes). As they will kill the President if any cop sets foot on the premises, the government recruits eye patch-wearing Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a former military hero turned criminal who has been recently sentenced to the island, in exchange for not only his freedom, but, due to a bomb implanted inside him set to detonate in mere hours, his life. Plissken has less than 24 hours to get the President out alive so that he can get some critical information delivered in time for an important political conference that might save the planet from a dark destiny. Co-written, directed, and scored by John Carpenter.
In this breakthrough anime masterwork, Akira starts out in 1988, much of Tokyo is destroyed by a mysterious that spreads like a dome of energy over the city. The rest of the film is set in the year 2019, as we peek into the post-apocalyptic megalopolis that has been rebuilt as Neo-Tokyo, where the government is corrupt, civil unrest looms large, and biker gangs run the streets. One member of such a biker gang is Tetsuo Shima, who ends up seemingly running into an escapee from a government experiment who uses some sort of powers to protect himself from getting run over. The escapee is taken back into custody, as is Tetsuo, who also becomes part of the experiment to bring out his dormant psychic abilities, trying to give their subject the ability to read minds and perform telekinesis. However, due to Tetsuo’s difficult life, the powers he attains becomes more than the less-than-grounded lad can handle emotionally, so he springs himself from the lab and begins to wreak havoc on the streets of Neo-Tokyo, on a search for the powerful but absent entity known as Akira, who is seen as the person responsible for causing the explosion in 1988. Tetsuo’s emergence raises the specter of Akira anew, as the protestors in the city see him as a force to stem the tide of a military takeover, with all of the tension threatening to destroy the city all over again if his friends can’t stop the rampage. As the city seeks to rebuild, especially in the wake of the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games, the problems that once plagued the city have continued to manifest, with history doomed to repeat itself for never addressing the woes the first time around.
The simple premise: A killer android (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sent back to 1984 to assassinate the mother (Linda Hamilton) of a resistance leader of the future. A soldier of that resistance (Michael Biehn) is also sent back to protect her from harm, but the killer android is virtually unstoppable in its mission. This classic science fiction/action/horror/thriller represents the best in all of those genres that the 1980s has to offer. James Cameron put his name on the map with this action masterpiece.