A film that picks up an unspecified amount of time from the first film, Max has become a wanderer who looks out for himself, and agrees to help a small community escape a gang of bandits.
The films main plot is to get a tanker full of gasoline out of a rudimentary fort and into a new home, but the inhabitants of the fort are surrounded by crazy gang members who want the gasoline. The inhabitants are given a choice, walk away with their lives if they leave the gasoline, or die. This might seem like an easy choice for those living in today’s world, but gasoline is a life line in this world. They want it so they can run machines, to run their vehicles, to live. Max himself at the start of the film needs gasoline badly, and when it starts spilling out of a vehicle, he uses a helmet, a jug and a bowl, what is spilling out over the sides, he uses a rag to soak it up and squeeze what little he can into a container; showing just how precious and valued it is.
Mad Max 2 continues the journey of Max’s character, who has now lost everything, and wanders on his own, for himself. Max has changed, no longer looking out for the law, but rather himself and only himself. Maybe this is what he feared turning into from the first movie, but even if it is, Max seems to accept it, and doesn’t appear to fear or care for whatever he’s turned into.
Max himself as a changed man is interesting to see. He doesn’t want to help these people from the goodness of his heart. Once his deal is done, he ignores their needs and leaves. It’s only when he’s left with no choice, he helps them. It seems that he truly has nothing to lose, he’s a lone rider, he outcasts himself; maybe because he doesn’t want the pain of losing someone once again, so he lives by himself to spare himself that pain.
There is a scene at the start where Max finds a small children’s music device. The look on his face as he cranks it and listens to the melody; he smiles, his eyes get a little lighter, little nuances in his facial expressions change quickly, as if remembering his family, and as if too painful to remember he stops playing and reverts back to his hardened self. Max might have changes, but a little of his old self is deep within him.