MAD MAX MOVIE REVIEW: It all ends with “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” which stars Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon, Signs), Tina Turner (GoldenEye, What’s Love Got to Do with It), Frank Thring (Ben-Hur, The Vikings), Angelo Rossitto (Freaks, The Corpse Vanishes), Robert Grubb (The Flying Doctors [TV series], Gallipoli), Justine Clarke (Home and Away [TV series], Look Both Ways), and Bruce Spence (Finding Nemo, Peter Pan ). It is directed by George Miller (Happy Feet, Babe: Pig in the City) and George Ogilvie (The Crossing, Short Changed), whereas Miller also co-wrote it with Terry Hayes (My Entire Life, Payback). In a dystopian future where civilization has lost organization, smarts, and technology, Max Rockatansky (Gibson) stumbles upon a shoddy city called Bartertown, where he will try to retrieve what was stolen from him in any possible way. Even if it means fighting in the town’s Thunderdome.
Here we are with the last film in the original “Mad Max” series, “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.” In watching this film, I knew what to expect. It is considered the worst “Mad Max” movie out of all the others, and even the cover of my Blu-ray case didn’t make it look too enticing. I got a flavor of this opinion when I began to watch it. The feature opened with the credits, as usual, but instead of some eerie or ominous music playing in the background, we get some sort of fluffy, 80s song, sung by a woman who probably got lost when trying to find the Muppets studio to sing at. It threw off the vibe of what the “Mad Max” films stand for, and I was worried as to how the rest of it would fare. I think, in all honesty, this movie was a mixed bag. It had many plot holes and stupid scenes, but there were also some redeeming moments and awesome action sequences. This release is set further into the future than “The Road Warrior,” where there are no cities or roads in site, and many people look like they belong to tribes. It caught me off guard to see Max riding a wagon being pulled by camels because I’m so used to him driving down the road in rage. I like how they progress into this apocalyptic world, but the way they handled it didn’t feel like a “Mad Max” movie. It was kind of like how I felt with “Mad Max,” except at least he hunted down foes in his car in that. Once Max is trekking through the desert in the beginning of this film, he comes across a small city called Bartertown, where almost everyone is dressed in either tribal clothes or a metal mesh. They get their power off of pig crap instead of oil and gas because I guess the world has officially run out of it. With this Bartertown, I felt that there could be a cool story to dissect. Maybe Max would try to take down the Thunderdome, which was this metal, dome of a cage where “two men enter, one man leaves.” But sadly, this is not the case. There is only one sequence where he is actually in the Thunderdome, with the rest being a weird, loose tale. The Thunderdome fight was cool, and it was one of the redeeming moments I mentioned earlier. The way it is set up and how everyone follows this rule of two men entering and one man leaving is some great, epic stuff to watch. I just wish that it was centered more around this, being that the tile does include “Beyond Thunderdome.” I guess if you looked at it a certain way, it would make sense, but you can’t call it Thunderdome and only have one fight shown. So, once this happens, the story goes in a whole new direction, filled with even more tribal people and even less good grammar. The whole flow of this plot was, at times, warped, because we are introduced to many things at once without the writers focusing on a single one for the whole movie. It takes until Max meets this secluded tribe for there to be a message and objective. I will say that I was annoyed by this group, and I was confused as to why Max wanted to stay with them, but they did grow on me as the writers developed a story out of them. Their hope in finding a city brought up some points for the release as I feel that it was the plot the writers intended. After watching it, I assume that Thunderdome was only a thought that they wanted to randomly insert in. With this hope, the movie picks up pace (the movie spent a lot of unnecessary time in Bartertown, and with a “villain” called Master Blaster) and we begin to reach a somewhat satisfying conclusion. I was happy to see an action scene with vehicles towards the end, as I was awaiting one. You can’t have a “Mad Max” film without it. In terms of the performances, they were alright. Mel Gibson always impresses me in these, and the rest of the cast were okay. Some performed well, others were passable. A miscellaneous con I have is how the Gyro Captain is back in this (he was my favorite character in “The Road Warror”), but Max and him didn’t know each other, and it was like he was playing a different version of the same character. I wish that they included the history of the previous film, but I understand how, in that time, if someone didn’t see a movie in theaters, that was pretty much it for viewing that film. Other than that, there aren’t many issues I can find. Most of them belong in the story, which I discussed enough of. Overall, this movie had some conflicting plot elements that would have run smoother if they went with one of them. All the time spent in Bartertown was almost worthless besides the conflicts Max made inside there, and the good stuff comes when he meets the far off tribe. It basically felt like a “Goonies” film without the treasure towards the end when he met the group of kids (that is what the tribe was mostly made out of). I found some entertainment in this and it isn’t awful, but it could’ve been a heck of a lot better. FINAL SCORE: 69%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: