Friday, July 17, 2009
Mad Max 3: Beyond the Thunderdome (1985)
By Eric Jessen 7/17/09
I love the explosions and the chase scenes and the “Australian desert post apocalypse wild west,” and the villains with Mohawks and Mel Gibson as Mad Max. And in Beyond the Thunderdome the creativity and the ingenuity of the first two Mad Max movies is pushed even further. Pushed to the point of ridiculous, which is usually a good thing. But, I'm sorry to say, Beyond the Thunderdome didn't tickle my fancy for the absurd like The Road Warrior. I just didn't like all the innovations of this movie. I'll describe a few and if they sound interesting I recommend the movie.
There's the Thunderdome. I've never seen anything like it before. It's a semi-sphere shaped cage, where you fight while attached to a giant rubber band or bungee cord, which you use to catapult yourself to the top to retrieve weapons. It's interesting but I thought it was just silly to see Gibson fling around the cage like a pin ball.
There's also the new post-apocalypse source of fuel. It's innovative, creative and disgusting. Bartertown, the hell hole that Mad Max is visiting, produces methane gas by concentrating “pig sh--.” Just to warn you, Max and many others will often be covered in pig poo. The duty scenes were sometimes funny but mainly gross. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood.
The last creative element, which I liked, is the character Master-Blaster. It's really two characters in one: Master, who is the smartest person in Bartertown but a dwarf, and Blaster who is the biggest and strongest person in Bartertown but mentally challenged. Master is attached to Blaster's shoulders and does the speaking while Blaster does the blasting. Master-Blaster is one of many characters in the Mad Max series with hilariously straight forward names like Humungus from The Road Warrior.
There are also a few other things in Beyond the Thunderdome that aren't necessarily “bad” but had me peeved. First of all, I thought Gibson looked stupid with long locks and unkempt facial hair. The shaggy hair makes sense because he's stranded, but it looks decidedly less cool. Second, I found it frustrating seeing Max help a gang of ignorant lame kids. That's not really even his character. He's supposed to be a loner. He supposed to only help others if there's something in it for him. And Third, though overall the villains are good, especially Tina Turner, Beyond the Thunderdome has an irritating cliché villain “that just won't die.”
Beyond the Thunderdome is a strange and interesting action movie. Though I prefer The Road Warriors, Thunderdome is probably the most memorable of the series. It is certainly worth seeing though after the first two, the “Australian desert post apocalypse wild west,” not Max, has overstayed it's welcome.
With Mad Max 1, The Road Warriar, and Beyond the Thunderdome it was a great ride.