Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

July 13, 1985 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1985-07-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Page 8

Saturday, July 13, 1985

The Michigan Daily

'Max' confounds with disjunct thrills

By Byron L. Bull
AFTER Mad Max and the Road
Warrior, Mad Max Beyond
Thunderdome goes down like a plate
of very stale leftovers - garishly
overseasoned to try to disguise the
fact but none the more palatable. It's
lavish and glossy, but a surprisingly
lazy rehash of its predecessors, likely
to disappoint the Max cultist, and
make the unacquainted wonder what
all the fuss was about in the first
Mel Gibson is back as Max, and still
makes a good looking icon, covered in
leather and guns, standing poised
against crimson setting sun, though
this time he's older, his shoulder
length dark hair tinged with gray
streaks - after Captain Kirk's crisis
in Star Trek II, stories about aging
heroes are the trend. The setting is
Bartertown, a desert villa that looks
like the Planet of the Apes set
redressed for Bladerunner and
populated by nasty punkers and
Bartertown is run by Amazonian
war queen Auntie Entity (Tina Tur-
ner) who's locked in a fierce struggle
for the town with Master Blaster, a
dwarf genius and imbecilic giant who
are strapped together in a symbiotic
relationship as one character. Auntie
lives above Bartertown in a pen-
thouse scaffold, while Master Blaster
skulks below in a subterranean
refinery where herds of pigs are
corraled and their feces turned into
methane gas, which is used to run the
Max ends up smack between the
two, hired by Auntie to do in the
Blaster half of Master Blaster, only to
eventually change his mind when the
duty exceeds his expectations. Disjun-
ctly thrown in on top of this are a group
of aboriginal desert children who
mistake Max for their messiah, and a Initially, Mel Gibson almost achie'
randomly inserted number of fight the movie progresses Gibson's port
scenes, which are so haphazardly film's action sequences. The real Ma
stuck into the film you're often unsure comic book - this time around Max'
just who is kicking who's ass and why. back and get hit in the face with a sho
Where Mad Max and Road Warrior wouldn't notice?
were low budget adventures with
threadbare stories recycled from old
B-westerns redeemed by director curiously more confused and haggard,
George Miller's razor-fisted flair for than earlier Max's. And what
violent chase scenes and precious little swashbuckling Gibson
pyrotechnics, Thunderdome is indulges in lacks any enthusiasm; one
elaborately mounted, overrun with suspects he did this role more for
too many conflicting, grossly over- money or as a favor than out of
baked subplots, and woefully thin on genuine interest.
the cheap thrills and orgiastic
mayhem that made the first two films As for Tina Turner, she looks great
infamous in the first place. in her sixty pounds of chain mail and
Like Clint Eastwood's recent Pale armor but hasn't got any real verve to
Rider, Thunderdome is a shaggy kit- her mean strutting. She stumbles
sch of old spaghetti westerns and embarrassingly over her dialogue, and
comic book cliches, expensively the essence of her stage presence is
realized, and raised to grandiose pure pop-star camp theatricism that
operatic pretentions. There's lots of wears thin early on.
talk about heroes and legends, but no
heroic deeds to back it up. The emphasis here is not on the
Mel Gibson still looks great just characters but on the background,
standing there,- he can't help it - and Thunderdome reaches the
but his character in this incarnatiwj is elaborate, advful conclusion of the





yes the Mad Max character, but as Tina Turner as Auntie Entity looks menacing in her 300 pounds of chain
trayal becomes as disjunct as the mail, but fails to capitalize on it. As such, her effect is purely visual,
td Max was never so sophmorically making her interchangeable with Grace Jones as a villainess. Turner's
can throw a 300-pound man over his character is prominent at the beginning and towards the end, but forgot-
vel and not bleed. Did they think we ten during the middle - not a good strategy for the source of the film's
major conflict.


series' running fascination with the
shaggy visual joke about baroque
punk architecture, with hordes of'
leather and spike-adorned skinheads
and extravagantly retrofitted struc-
tures, all of which we've seen
imitated countless times now in Max
imitators and MTV videos, and all of
which is really old hat now.
George Miller serves only as direc-
tor of action sequences, with one
George Ogilvie actually helming the
whole project. Ogilvie is competent in
a pragmatic way, shooting the film as
if it were one extended rock video,
primarily concerned with polish and
slickness - without any real style -
and misjudging the crass tackiness
that was one of the series' genuine

charms. at each other with chainsaws and
hrmrsd knives in a brutally madcap charade
The batter part of Thunderdome i strongly reminiscent of the con-
spent on bizarre malicious parodying clusion of the Bugs Bunny short The
of pop culture artifacts, with weird Rabbit of Seville. A climactic chase
post-apocalyptic versions of Big Time scene at the end, essentially a Xerox
Wrestling and television game shows of the end of Road Warrior, has plenty
where the losers meet grim fates. of superlative stunt work and
Only Ogilvie doesn't have a keen and elaborately rigged crashes that are
warped enough sense of humor to monotonously superfluous and ill-
make it click, and the film wallows in conceived.
silly toothless burlesque much of the
time. The net result is a movie that's like

As for Miller's contribution, he
comes up with one really sharp fight
between Max and Blaster that takes
place within the Thunderdome of the
title, wherein the combatants are
suspended from the ceiling of a lat-
ticework dome on elastic ropesand go

a two-hour trailer, promising a lot but
never satisfying your appetite.
Perhaps the best summary would be
to cite the crowd of Max enthusiasts
at the film's opening, who cheered
and howled during the opening
credits, but stalked out during the
credits muttering, "What the hell?!"

Back to Top

© 2024 Regents of the University of Michigan