Friday, December 31, 2010

Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Directors: George Miller & George Ogilvie

Starring: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Adam Cockburn, Tina Turner, Frank Thring, Angelo Rossitto, Paul Larsson

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A lone warrior searching for his destiny...a tribe of lost children waiting for a a world battling to survive, they face a woman determined to rule.

Plot: Bartertown is a city on the edge of a desert that has managed to retain some technology if no civilization. Max has his supplies stolen and must seek shelter there in a post apocalypse world where all machines have begun to break down and barbarians hold what is left. He becomes involved in a power struggle in this third Mad Max film where he must first survive the town, survive the desert and then rescue the innocent children he has discovered.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Sure, in another 20 years.

OK, as a piece of entertainment goes, as an action movie goes, it's fun. I dug it. Tina Turner surprised the hell out of me in that she didn't suck. It's the longest of the three Mad Max pictures but it doesn't feel like it. The action scenes were fun and the prerequisite car chase at the end wasn't as inspired as the previous films but it was still exciting. It's too bad that Brian May wasn't back for the score. Instead we get Maurice Jarre who did a pretty decent job of it.

The kids were handled OK (except for when they start attacking in Bartertown) It was done better than most movies would have dealt with them but that still doesn't help the fact that this is a really weak story. There's no story arc for starters. Max goes to Bartertown, fights a guy to the death but doesn't kill him so he's banished to the desert. Some kids find him and think he's their savior. Max and some of the kids go chasing after a couple of them that escaped to the desert in the night and they all end up at Bartertown where they liberate a prisoner who knows how to drive the train out of Bartertown. There's a big chase ending with Max sacrificing himself so the kids can fly safely back to their little paradise. Where's the arc? It's pointless that max did what he did because the kids ended up back where they started.

Hell, what's the point of even having the tribe of kids anyway? They were a cross between the Peter Pan kids and Ewoks and that ain't good. It didn't really occur to me that there wasn't a good plot until after it was over but the funny thing is, I enjoyed it far more than I should have and that's largely due to Miller and the cast and I was surprised with what they did with a weak story and a larger budget. To paraphrase Tina Turner, we didn't need another sequel but since it's here, we'll take it.

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