Movie Review: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Tina Turner and Bruce Spence

Directed by: George Miller and George Ogilvie

After being exiled from one of the more advanced towns in post apocalyptic Australia, Max returns with a group of abandoned children to rebel against the town’s ruler, Aunty Entity.

A few years ago when my wife and I first moved in with each other and before we had internet installed we started watching a lot of DVDs in the evening and the Mad Max trilogy was one we had begun but never got round to finishing. We watched the first two movies but for some reason or other never watched the third and final film so last night we decided to revisit the boxset. I found the first Mad Max to be good and while the second movie wasn’t as good it was still decent to watch so I was hoping that Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome would be able to at least match the quality of Mad Max 2 and not continue the decline in quality.

Unfortunately, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome followed in its prequels footsteps by getting slightly worse than the movie that preceded it. While the third and final movie of the Mad Max franchise wasn’t awful or bad it still was merely just ok to watch and to be honest is a movie that I wouldn’t revisit in the future. It passes off as watchable but I had come to expect better from these movie’s as they are among my Dad’s favourite movies of all time and at this moment I can’t see what he saw in them. Mel Gibson as Max has been good throughout the series and Beyond Thunderdome was no different, he acts very well and really does do a great job with the character. Tina Turner was introduced into this movie as Bartertown’s leader/aspiring leader Aunty Entity and I didn’t quite know what to expect from the singer in terms of acting but she was surprisingly good in her role as she strives to control the advanced town and seize control from the menacing duo of Master and Blaster. The costume design has been imaginative and incredibly creative throughout the movies and this movie was no different. While a little weird and outrageous each and every costume seemed fitting to the post apocalyptic nature of the surroundings where people had quite literally managed to scrape anything together and create an outfit from their materials, more intimidating the better seemed to be on the agenda.

Outside of these details Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome was quite a humdrum affair that offered little inspiration and failed to fully hold my attention during its duration. Throughout the entire group of movies a large portion of the supporting actors have been dreadful and this is the case here. I really disliked the character of Ironbar played by Angry Anderson for both the unkillable nature the character and the actors atrocious performance. The fight sequence between Max and the Juggernaut type character Blaster was really poor. They fought in the Thunderdome which offered just one set of rules; 2 men enter, 1 man leaves. The concept sounded brutal and thrilling but then the fighters were suspended on bungee style ropes and would just bounce around the cage I thought it was both stupid and a bit of anti-climax as George Miller could’ve had a battle of epic proportions on his hands but instead it was a missed opportunity. The second half of the movie focused more on Max and his encounter with the lost children which is sort of where I started to zone out a little. I felt that this segment didn’t tie in with the gritty nature of the opening 30 minutes or so and offered little in the shape of good characters that you wanted to root for. The final chase scene was something that did grab my attention back but by that time I had already lost interest in both the movie and the characters that I didn’t really care how the movie concluded.

Overall, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome was the worst in an ever declining trilogy and while it wasn’t a complete waste of time there were some serious flaws that needed addressing. The focus of the movie needed to remain with Max and his battle with Aunty Entity but strayed too far away with the lost children for far too long.


4 thoughts on “Movie Review: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

  1. As a teenager, I thought this movie was pretty cool, but it was the first in the trilogy I saw. As I backtracked and discovered the first two films, I realized how dumb it kind of was. I really liked the first film, and absolutely loved The Road Warrior. I agree, in the end Thunderdome doesn’t measure up. I think it tries to be something it’s not, something maybe the film producers wanted, but it should have stuck to its original spirit, about a damaged man in a ruined world, rather than all the silly bells and whistles. I loved Fury Road, too, but that’s more about Furiosa than Max. The Mad Max mythos holds a big part of my movie lover’s heart. Good review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks! Absolutely agree with your comments too, think they strayed too far away from what made Mad Max what it was. I loved Fury Road too, a great up to date take on the story

    Liked by 1 person

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