Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome - 1985

It's an age old question:  why can't I find Road Warrior anywhere?  Okay, so not exactly age old.  But damn, that movie is not on any streaming site and the DVD is save only on Netflix.  Do I cave and rent it from the library?  Okay, thinking of that I just reserved my copy.  But that didn't keep me from skipping chronologically and going right to Beyond Thunderdome, the agreed upon shame of the Mad Max family.

This movie gets an endless bad rap for it's silliness and that is pretty deserved.  I mean, first of all it's the weird characters: there's a midget boss of an underworld, there's Tina Turner as some sort of dominatrix looking lady who has strange hair, and a whole host of other weirdo's.  Then there's the Thunderdome.  Thunderdome is some giant cage in which people fight to the death.  Of course, that's not enough though.  No, the people in there have to be dangled from bungee cords and do stupid flips and bounces everywhere.  It's like some demented Cirque Du Soleil show, and nowhere near as entertaining.

When the fight in the Thunderdome starts, with the idiotic crowd cheering and looking like the extras from Waterworld, Max and the giant metal headed guy he's fighting immediately launch out of their corners, fly all over the place, and it looks as uncoordinated and ridiculous as kids playing on a jungle gym.  Max eventually wins the bout but takes pity on his opponent, who it turns out is mentally handicapped.  Since the rules of Thunderdome are "two men enter, one man leaves" Max has broken that rule and thus gets exiled.

That's when this movie turns all Peter Pan-esque.  Max finds some outcast group of children, they have their own civilization where they do Peter Pan like things and engage in being idiots like those kids from the movie Hook.  If you're beginning to sense a theme here it should be:  wackiness, silliness, childishness, and Peter Pan.  If you saw the first film you should recognize that though you probably could show it to a kid, it had none of these traits.

So what am I complaining about, really?  Well, they took a decent dark story and they turned it into an action adventure.  And that is the same line the new one, Fury Road follows.  But this one is far too familiar.  It gets old, it gets predictable, and it feels like it rips off every fun 80's movie there is. It's basically if you took Hook, The Goonies, and Waterworld, and you made some weird bastard child out of them all.

All that considered, the story line moves at a reasonable pace and it doesn't hurt as bad as it easily could while you're watching it.  Considering it came out in '85, only 6 years after Mad Max, Mel Gibson looks a lot older here too, the long hair and makeup help a lot.

I guess I'll give it 1.5 stars.  I don't really know what to give it.  It's like Godzilla from 1998, if it had been named something else and hadn't insinuated it was part of a far, better lineup of movies, it wouldn't be considered as bad.  Just change the name and it would gain respect.  But no, it had to be part of a franchise, and had to try and ruin it.

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