Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Only now does it occur to me... MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME

Only now does it occur to me... that Mel Gibson's entire directorial output may have been inspired by his experiences on set of MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME.  It has facial disfigurements like THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE, the majestic and patriotic Gibson-wig from BRAVEHEART:

torture and desert suffering like PASSION OF THE CHRIST:

Mayan fashion and gauntlets of brutality like APOCALYPTO:

and I see Gibson even has a new film in pre-production called HACKSAW RIDGE, and I gotta say– MAD MAX has always had plenty of hacksaws!  Clearly, therefore, the auteurist "Genesis," if you will, of the Gibsonian worldview was born... in the THUNDERDOME!

Speaking of which, the Thunderdome is terrific.
It's like TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE meets BLOODSPORT at a postapocalyptic S&M dungeon...
Is that a human catapult/sex swing?

...though I have to tell you, for a movie called BEYOND THUNDERDOME, there's only one scene set in the Thunderdome.  Bit of a disappointment, there: I wanted a full, feature-length Aussie/Ozzie kumite.

This is a fascinating film, however; and while it's possibly the weakest of the MAD MAX trilogy, it's never uninteresting– it's like Terry Gilliam and Alejandro Jodorowsky collaborated on an 80s grindhouse flick that thinks it's LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (they even hired the legendary Maurice Jarre to do the score, and he inexplicably quotes LAWRENCE, WEST SIDE STORY, and the "Klingon Theme" from STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES)
and then somebody invited Tina Turner to the party, telling her to wear Princess Leia-cocktail strainer buns and a chainlink shirt (as opposed to the chainlink sweater from COMMANDO)

and she forces Mel Gibson audition to be her backup dancer (or maybe it was her assassin?  all I remember is that she said "You're the first to survive the audition!").  

Anyway, that's just about all I have to say, except to add that there's an actor in it whose first name is "Angry" (Angry Anderson, singer and activist), and that counts for something.  Here's hoping for an eventual sequel called, MAD MAX: 100% THUNDERDOME.


Francisco Gonzalez said...

Just re-watched it a couple of days ago, it is so underrated. It's actually one of my favorites of the series...I like each one for different reasons...but there's something about this one, don't know what it is. I will be reviewing all three Mad Max's in the coming days!

Sean Gill said...


It's definitely an odd duck; each MAD MAX film certainly cultivates its own atmosphere. Looking forward to your reviews!

Anonymous said...

Sean, have you seen a movie called "Election"? I stumbled upon it on netflix and it's a great little gem of a dark comedy that I thought would be right up your alley


Anonymous said...

^ I should mention it's the 1999 version with Broderick and Witherspoon

J.D. Lafrance said...

I wonder if this was the start of Gibson's Jesus/messiah fixation. Hmmm...