Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Release Date: 7/10/1985

Starring: Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon), Tina Turner (Last Action Hero)

Plot Summary: In the second sequel to Mad Max , we find our anti-hero wondering the desert of post apocalypse Australia.  Max is robbed by a pilot and his son, and proceeds to pursue them to a trade outpost called Bartertown.  All he wants is his stuff back, but to do so has to strike a deal with Auntie Entity (Turner) the wannabe Governess. Bartertown is powered by methane, and the source of methane is pig feces, and the mind behind the plan to harness that methane is housed in a tiny little dwarf who is carried around by a giant simpleton. This dynamic duo is called Master Blaster, Master(Dwarf)  holds Bartertown hostage with his control of the methane, and Blaster (Simpleton) keeps his pal safe.  So all Max has to do is challenge Blaster to a fight, which will be settled in the Thunderdome.  The Rule is simple: two men enter; one man leaves. (spoilers) Max wins, Blaster looks like Corky from Life Goes On, and won’t kill him. Auntie’s men kill Blaster and enslave master, and since Max broke the deal he must ‘face the wheel’.  It’s a twisted wheel of misfortune with nasty outcomes, fortunately for Max he gets the “Gulag” option and they tie him to a horse, put a weird mask on his head and send him off into the desert. It gets strange from here as the movie derails into a strange precursor to Hook, or some other Peter Pan fantasy. He ends up in a strange community populated only by scruffy children.  He is mistaken for their savior/messiah and supposed  to help them get back to “tomorrow-morrow land.”  Max tries to tell them that they are mistaken and that there was an apocalypse and there is NO paradise waiting for them. The kids disagree and with some help strike out into the desert. Max catches up with them and in the night they see the lights of Bartertown and they decide to sneak into the city. They then rescue Master and the movie turns back into the badass thing it set off to be, as Auntie Entity and her crew give chase. The end of the movie gets back to the mayhem that makes the first half so good.

Alex’s Thoughts:  This starts out pretty good and ends well with lots of unique sets, costumes and vehicles, as well as plenty of action.  The middle though… not sure what was going on there, if they just needed a sub-plot for Max to get back into Bartertown they must have just picked one out of a hat.  The second act makes it hard to stay focused and keep watching, but there is a great chase scene at the end.  This movie is the reason there is a fast forward button on the DVD remote, use it and this should be pretty watchable. 

Tim’s Thoughts:  I remembered liking this movie more as a kid. After a more recent viewing I can’t believe there was only one Thunderdome fight, Bartertown was so cool and it seemed the first chance they got the director gets the movie out of there and into the valley of the weird kids. This movie is fun but pales in comparison to the first 2.  Tina Turner isn’t even bad in this movie,  it’s really that they just get away from what was working and tried to add a strange unneeded plotline involving Max as a possible Messiah.

Final Thoughts: Wait till the Thunderdome fight is over, then fast forward till cool shit starts happening again. Trust me, it makes the movie a cool 35-40 minutes and you get to see some cool post-apocalyptic ideas brought to the screen in a really unique way.

Alex Rates This Movie: 5/10

Tim Rates This Movie: 6/10

“Two men enter, one man leaves.”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here