Thursday, August 20, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

I didn't remember this one too fondly before revisiting it this weekend.  In fairness, I only watched it once, and that was a very long time ago.  I was really hoping for The Road Warrior Part II when I slapped that VHS tape in the old VCR many moons ago.  And while there is a bit of that film's reckless abandon (and a gnarly chase sequence in the third act) in the mix and the big showdown inside Thunderdome is a spectacular piece of action filmmaking, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is also wildly different.  This is Mad Max for the family to some extent, placing our apocalyptic antihero to the forefront of a tale that you could almost put alongside something like The Goonies the next time you're feeling nostalgic and want to watch a couple of movies with the kids.  So there was no way I was going to enjoy this when I originally viewed it, but this weekend I was able to appreciate it a lot more.  Even if this look at the softer side of Max bit is a bit jarring in comparison to that which came before, it's executed to perfection and the story is nothing if not entertaining.  Tina Turner brings a lot of charm and energy to her role as the big bad and Mel is Max in so many ways.  It's perfect casting, to be sure, but I don't want to take anything away from Gibson, who was clearly invested in the part and did a splendid job of bringing this unique hero to life once again.  There's a different vibe to the proceedings and it may be that this particular Mad Max adventure is more whimsical than bleak.  We're definitely dealing with a different Max, a much warmer version of the character--though it's important to note that a warmer version of Max is still pretty damn rugged.  That's okay, it's a different landscape, deftly realized by virtuoso director George Miller and George Ogilvie.  It's a different sort of Mad Max film, but it works, and it is a lot of fun.  It may not be in the same league as The Road Warrior, which is an absolute classic, but the third pairing of Mel Gibson and George Miller makes for a quality motion picture.  Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome brought a great actor and a great director together again for yet another wild ride, one that's surely worth taking.

Final Grade: B

Related Blogs:
Mad Max: Fury Road vs. The Road Warrior

Short Attention Span Review - Mad Max: Fury Road
The showdown in Thunderdome is a battle for the ages that showcases
George Miller's amazing imagination and his equally impressive technical prowess.

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