I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to do this, since Beyond Thunderdome is another one of my top 25 of all time (if there was such a thing), but – away we go!
MAD MAX (1979) THREE MR. DEADS
“Mr. Deads”? Huh? Wha? It’s from a line in Beyond Thunderdome: “I ain’t Captain Walker. I’m the guy who carries Mr. Dead in his pocket.” But we’re not here to talk about Thunderdome (yet), we’re here for Mad Max. Does a middling rating of three sound too low for this? I don’t know for sure. The way I came across this was – at some point when I was a kid and we first got cable I watched The Road Warrior 100 times (not that many, but you know what I mean) then I got older and my best friend Jasod Schnizenheimer (names changed to protect the innocent) and I went and saw Thunderdome 40 times one summer (for real – we could quote the entire movie from start to finish) and then I found out there was a “first one”. I don’t remember when I rented this – on tape – and watched it but, frankly, this one is nowhere near as good as the sequels IMO and I think that’s probably because this was a dirt cheap production with a bunch of no name actors. Yep that’s Mel “I’m Young” Gibson before he became Mel “I’m Riggs and I’m Plumb Loco” Gibson, before he became Mel “Braveheart” Gibson, before Mel “GIVE ME BACK MY SON!!!!!” Gibson, before he was Mel “I’m Fucking Batshit Deranged” Gibson. I still like his work though, crazy bastard.
Where was I going with this? Oh yeah – no budget and not too exciting. I mean, I am not trying to come across as negative to anyone’s favorite movie but it really wasn’t very exciting. Theres some action at the beginning and then a bunch of talking, a little man on man admiration, a character named Fifi watering his plants (wearing no shirt, but wearing a scarf) a little bit of this and a little bit of this and then everything picks up in the final 20 minutes, when Max gets mad. Why does Max get mad? Because a crazy mother fucker named Toecutter runs down his wife and kid in cold blood! Eat shit, Toecutter!! “I’m comin’ to get you……….” Oh wait, that’s Rambo. Anyway – not the best movie I’ve ever seen and the least radically fun out of the trilogy.
THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981) FOUR MR. DEADS
Aw shit! This was just as good as I remembered it! in fact – it might be even better watching it now and not as a kid because I can appreciate the amount of fucking work that must have went into this – holy crap, those stunts! Think about what these actors had to go through back then… and the camera work and the stunts and the driving are all pretty fucking amazing, if you ask me… I understand that an Action / Sci-Fi set in the Australian desert that focuses mostly on destructive drive scenes with the subject being the war for gas may not be for everyone, but this was pretty damn good then and now. Has it been 30 years?? Man I’m old.
Our man Max is back and this time around there’s a shitload of action from start to finish. As we learned, Max wasn’t very mad until the end of the first movie but then he got pissed when his wife and kid were run down in cold blood. This time he’s out in the desert with his trusty pooch scavenging for fuel when he runs afoul of a new gang of thugs not lead by Toecutter – but by an enormously muscled man wearing a hockey mask on his head (and not much else) named The Humongous! The Humongous and his buddies want that gas being made in the refinery! They rape and kill and threaten and everything else for a chance at the diesel but somehow (this is my only problem with this movie) they can’t get into that compound. There seems to be hundreds of them and the gate is just a school bus but they can’t bust in?
Anyway, Max and his buddy The Gyro Pilot end up helping these poor, besieged souls out of that compound and off to paradise and there’s a huge body count along the way. There’s also a feral kid who grunts and throws boomerangs, a couple of hot blonds, tons of leather, studded cod pieces, mohawks, cut-off fingers, unbelievable stunts, wicked camera angles and a shitload of awesome driving. Another thing I liked about this – there’s not a lot of talking or symbolism or social commentary – it’s just balls out action for most of the run time. High octane action! “gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire, ooooh!” God bless James Hetfield. That’s it for this one – next up we head to Thunderdome where “two men enter and only one man leaves!!!”
MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME (1985) FIVE MR. DEADS
Let’s be honest here.
a) this is not a five star / top hat movie – this would probably be a strong three
b) I did this whole thing just so I could watch this again and have a purpose for it
c) there’s some stuff that goes on here that’s actually laughable for a movie like this
d) the incidental music is hilarious
e) Tina Turner…
f) I loved the shit out of this when I was a kid and I loved it the other day I watched it, but that’s MY perspective
g) I highly doubt that, if anyone who hasn’t seen this decided to watch this, they would get the same enjoyment out of it
h) I spent about three years of my life with a giant crush on one of the actresses in here – Helen Buday – who I have never seen in anything else, and there doesn’t appear to be any flattering stills of her from the movie but here’s a shot of her recently:
I know that this is a divisive movie. The first two were pretty violent and R Rated and then this came out – a PG 13 “family friendly” Mad Max movie, so shitloads of Everyone hated it. It also had Tina Turner and her weirdly spaced out boobs, a terrible jazz score, lots of one liners, funny-face-making and questionable choices for the cast. But – it was also a better movie, IMO, then it’s predecessors. I thought the story was very much more thought out as, instead of just having a bunch of car chases through the desert we had a vision of what happened after the nuclear wars. A shithole of a place called Bartertown had risen up and offered people the ability to trade their wares for, say, water or, say, more importantly, sex. Auntie Entity (Turner) had built this empire out of blood and shit. Say what? Blood and shit. See – the character called Master remembered how to harvest Methane out of, well, to quote The Collector: “Methane cometh from pig thit.”
This time around, Max is out scouring the desert for food and gas when the Gyro Pilot and his kid come swooping in and steal his van! And his monkey! WTF A-hole!!?? So Max and his stiff leg follow the trail in the sand and winds up in Bartertown where he just wants to get his shit back but he has nothing to trade except for his skills so Auntie and Ironbar and The Collector and Max fire up a deal! A deal!! I hope he doesn’t Bust the Deal or he’ll have to Face the Wheel!!
The deal is that Max will kill someone to get his goods and some water and some gas. Who will he kill? Well, the Master is a very, very, very, small, poor acting dwarf who rides around in a papoose of the giant man-child Blaster. They form the being who is know as Master Blaster and he’s never been beat in Thunderdome. He’s an unstoppable killing machine!! So Max challenges them to a fight and they fly around on bungee cords for a good minute and then our hero pulls out his secret weapon – his dog whistle!! The high pitched screech is too much for the simple minded Blaster!! AARRGGHH!! Max wins the fight but his heart wins him over and he can’t kill Blaster… awwwww. But he Busted the Deal, so he Faces the Wheel!!!
Sentenced to Gulag, he is set on a horse and heads out into the vast desert, certain to die. But salvation comes in the form of the lovely Savannah Nix!! Out on patrol, she finds his passed out body!! He’s Captain Walker!! The missing leader of the clan at the oasis in the middle of the desert!! It’s Eden!! They worship him as a god and they do The Tell for him but he ruins everything and tells them “there ain’t no Morrow – Morrow land” and “he ain’t Captain Walker” and “they’ll just stay right here and live their lives and fuck going back out into the desert.” (that’s not verbatim)
But Savannah’s not having any of that bullshit so she heads off in to the desert anyway with a couple of her peeps and Max reluctantly heads out to rescue them and they end up destroying Bartertown, stealing off with Master and Pig Killer and we get an EPIC car chase / destruction sequence. In the end, Max saves the day – and the kids – by basically sacrificing himself and Savannah and friends head off into Sydney to rebuild. There’s even a nice little scene towards the end showing Savananh doing The Tell again to a bunch of little kids, so someone’s been up to the Devil’s Business, I must say.
Well that should wrap this up – this was good fun!! I know Gibson’s gone apeshit but I hope he gets it together sometime. I feel like I’ve grown up with dude and I’ve always liked his work.