2 August 2003 | Old Joe
Watch and you will agree with the soundtrack song of Mad Max 3 - 'We don't need another hero.'
Mad Max 3 has shown me that this Australian film franchise is continuing to be big and successful. Part way through watching this movie, I felt that Mel Gibson was born to play the role of Mad Max, as he suits the character that was created. I was thinking that this film might have had a very 'Hollywood' feel to it. But to my surprise, I was glad to see and hear a very Australian flavour continuing, which has accompanied all the Mad Max movies to date.
Two men enter. One man leaves. That is the law in Bartertown's Thunderdome arena. But lawmaker Aunty Entity will soon add another: Do not get Max mad! Max is back as the hero who takes on the barbarians of the post-nuclear future - and this time becomes the savior of a tribe of lost children. However, the power-mad Aunty Entity, a dominatrix, is determined to use Max to tighten her stranglehold on Bartertown.
What was lacking in the second of the Mad Max movies was its script, which seemed to be underdeveloped, so I was hoping that the 'Beyond Thunderdome' would be better. Thankfully it was, as there was a lot more dialogue, some intriguing characters, and an even better story, which contained a lot of entertaining elements. I especially like the location of Bartertown, as it still had an 'Australian feel' to it, the idea of the Thunderdome was well explained and shown through the story. Then to have Max, be the protector of all these children made the story just that much better. MM3 was written once again by George Miller and Terry Hayes.
But George Miller also did so much more. He directed the third movie, giving it all the necessary touches that have made Mad Max, the movies they are today. Helping Miller in the director's chair is another George, director George Ogilvie. Having two directors I think only enhances the movie all the more. I like the way we see the famous 'Thunderdome' fighting scene, as Miller and Ogilvie focused very much on that event and the many elements within it. I also like the grand view of the open desert that we see numerous times through out the film, as both directors certainly wanted us to see that the conditions surrounding Bartertown were pretty harsh to both humans and animals. Credit for this section of the movie has to also go to the cinematographer, Dean Semler, who shot some great camera angles of the deserts.
MM3 also had some fine performers. Mad Max (Mel Gibson) shows that he is still a force to be reckoned with. His introduction to Aunty Entity (Tina Turner) was highly entertaining, as Max takes an impossible situation to show that he is a person not to be taken lightly. Max, for part of this movie, has long hair, which I believe gives Max an even more silent, heroic, darker edge to his character. However I was not a big fan of Tina Turner's performance in the film, as she did not seem at all in her place as an actress, but the look of her character was effective. Tina sings the song 'We don't need another hero' for the movie's soundtrack.
I also liked the actors with minor roles in the film. Max is told to separate Master-blaster, who is two identities. There is the very small and intelligent Master (Angelo Rossitto), and the very muscular Blaster (Paul Larsson), who Max has the huge encounter with in the Thunderdome. There was also a very Australian feel to this cast. Pigkiller (Robert Grubb) was a peculiar character that I immediately liked. He genuinely wants to help Max's cause in any way he can. Of the nastier looking guys, you have Ironbar (Angry Anderson), who might not have much to say, but has many lives in the film. In fact, many incidents with him are humorous and breathtaking as well. Back in MM3 is Jedediah (Bruce Spence), who now has a son, Jedediah Jnr. (Adam Cockburn). Max and Jedediah have a very clear understanding, which continues here. Another major component to the film is the use of pigs. I will not say why they are used here, just that I liked their presence every time they were onscreen.
There are some amazing scenes attached to MM3. I have to agree that the film contains one the best movie fight scenes ever, as Max and gladiatorial Blaster face off with maces, chainsaws and anything not nailed down inside Thunderdome. It is truly an exhilarating scene to see playing out, (although I cringed when I saw Max drop-start the chainsaw). However the customary car chase scene, which MM is famous for, was not as great here, as in the previous two movies. But it did have the fun sequence showing Ironbar barely escaping with his life many times. I enjoyed the lead up scenes to the car chase, as they had a lot of action and involvement of many people from the cast.
While, I like the characters we see in this movie, I do not believe they are as well developed as the people created for the first movie, as they were a lot easier to get to know, love and understand. I guess the big question after this movie is, 'which Mad Max is better, one or three?' I am still a bigger fan of the original, as it is a great film, showing that a small budget filmmaking can be very successful. That does not mean I am not a fan of this film, because I am. 'Beyond Thunderdome' had such a fine conclusion, that perhaps they should have left the 'status quo'. But hearing that a 4th film in the series is being made as we speak, says to me, that Mel Gibson, George Miller and his talented crew have more in store for Mad Max fans. I cannot wait!
CMRS gives 'Mad Max - Beyond Thunderdome': 3.5 (Good - Very Good Film)