Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ January 27, 2016
Not sure what happened here, but this is not the Mad Max I remember from the first two films. It makes sense though because after doing some research this wasn't originally a Mad Max film, but rather a Lord of Flies film. They changed their mind and had George Miller direct the stunts (which there's barely any compared to the first two films) and had George Ogilvie direct the actors. The first half of the film was fine, but the second half is boring, uneventful, and messy. You can tell there's two different ideas clashing because none of the second half of the film matches anything else in the franchise. I've seen people call this Mad Max for children and that is rather accurate. This just doesn't feel like it belongs with the first two at all. A sad way to end the original Mad Max series before it got rebooted.
Super Reviewer
½ June 16, 2015
It fully embraces the extravagant "pox-ecliptic" over-the-topness that had already been injected into Mad Max 2 to make that film so visually unique, thus being more entertaining than the previous movies even if more cerebral and less action-oriented - or perhaps because of that.
Super Reviewer
½ May 8, 2015
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome trades away its menacing thrills and violence for a much more toned-down, funkier and adventurous take. The film still has its captivating action sequences (especially the Thunderdome concept) to hold it up, but the intensity lessens in comparison to the other films in the franchise. 3.5/5
Super Reviewer
½ October 4, 2012
For the last outing Miller has taken a different route for his lone wolf character. Gone are the highway chases, road wars and Max's personal Ford Falcon, this adventure is a completely new kind of beast...with kids...hurrah!

It does seem that Miller took a leaf out of the Lucas book of ideas for this film. A much more toned down Mad Max film with very little blood and road vehicle based death and carnage, but an abundance of children in a kind of tribal Lord of the Flies meets 'The Lost Boys' in a 'Peter Pan-esque' type of way. Not too dissimilar to the way 'Return of the Jedi' went all cute and cuddly towards the end with a large tribe of teddy bears.

Although the change of pace was risky and in my view...not the best decision ever, you gotta give kudos to the writers for being brave enough to go in another direction. The film doesn't really offer much action and adventure at any point to be brutally honest, my opinion. The first half set in 'Bartertown' is a complete bust really as all we get is a seedy dirty dusty desert town inhabited by lots of marauder types and weirdo's yet nothing really happens!

The bad guys aren't really bad at all, just a bit naughty I guess, the plot isn't really of any interest and goes nowhere and the only action is a rather limp fight between Max and a huge helmet wearing foot soldier/bodyguard called 'Blaster'. We also find out the leader of this wasteland dump is errrm...Tina Turner, terrific.

Of course we all knew this before the film came out but it was definitely a sign of the franchise hitting the rocks. After this average kick off things progress towards the desert where Max finds this tribe of kids and where the franchise U-turns harshly, think of an early version of 'Hook' and you might get an idea of what I'm talking about. Its not as cringeworthy and terrible as that Spielberg film but lets be honest its pretty crappy frankly. From here on Max babysits these kids until the plot leads them back to Bartertown for...hmmm not much really, plot is absent without leave.

The sets costumes and makeup for the kids and their homes are nicely done, doesn't look tacky or too childish, luckily it all still fits OK within the Mad Max universe. Of course we do still get some lovely location visuals with some beautifully stunning vast orange and tan coloured Aussie outback shots. These landscapes really are the core of this franchise and give it such depth and scope, it just looks awesome basically.

After observing nothing much in the form of excitement we do eventually get a reasonably solid yet watered down vehicle chase sequence at the end. Its not as intense as you would expect and barely serves up enough thrills to raise a smile, the violence level is at a complete zero here folks, bloodless. I'm not saying that automatically means the movie will be poor but come on...its Mad Max, lets see some claret spillage.

As I said it was brave to go into new territory with Max but maybe this particular idea wasn't the best way. There isn't really anything very memorable anywhere in the film, the title sounds daft and although the Tina Turner theme song is a good tune its all very Bond-like and too glossy. You half expect Turner to start bellowing out her power ballad midway through the film to a montage of Gibson's tanned buttocks...well maybe.
Super Reviewer
½ March 3, 2013
This final instalment of the "Max Max Trilogy" has become more cheesy than ever, but also more entertaining in ways that does not seem like it would be in a "Mad Max" picture, but still enjoyable. The tone of these films has always remained low-budget, leaving the atmosphere to be very dull at times, making it a chore to get through these films, especially this one, where the huge climax's are where the money lies. I had a blast watching the huge climax of this film, and it was a fine ride through until that point. The script is fine, the dialogue as well, and the directing is what really counts for a film like this, and for what it is, it is hit right on. I enjoyed this film just as much as the original, but "The Road Warrior" is the true "Max Max" picture!
Super Reviewer
½ March 8, 2012
This might be the most polished and slick of the three Mad Max films, but it's also a bit of a mess and admittedly rather silly and campy, but not in a totally good way.

It's been years since the events of The Road Warrior, and the world has finally and fully become a wasteland thanks to nuclear fallout. Max finds himself stranded in the middle of this barren field of nothingness, but things begin to look up when he stumbles into the shady Bartertown run by Aunty Entity- a ruthless overlord played with campy villainy by Tina Turner.

Thanks to the fact that he isn't completely morally bankrupt yet, Max gets banished from Bartertown but soin finds himself in a paradise that has escapred the nuclear nightmare. Whiel here, he becoems a savior of sorts to a pack of feral kids, and ultimately takes them under his wing to settle the score with Aunty Entity.

All in all, this is a fun and action packed filmed that is pretty enjoyable, has some great sets, and some decent action. It is more slick than the first two, but not quite as gritty, and also seems a bit too campy and cheesy. It's well done though, and it does get a mild pass from me, even thoguh the action and chases aren't as brilliant as they were in the previous films.
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2010
Mad Max and The Road Warrior redefined the action genre. Not only did the films have some of the best action scenes ever filmed, but they also made Australian actor, Mel Gibson a star. Obviously it's only natural that they would make a third entry in this bizarre series of action films. Mad Max has always had eccentric characters, and loads of action. In the case of Beyond Thunderdome its one one the films that features the oddest characters of the series, Master/Blaster being the one. George Miller takes a different approach to this film, as Max no longer has a car, and he now more than ever looks like a drifter, lost, soulless and barely human. The film is quite original in it's idea, and has all the elements that make a Mad Max film great, but something is obviously missing which is of course, car chases, and impressive crashes. Beyond Thunderdome is a mixed bag and it doesn't do the first two justice, the film is good of course, but it lacks the adrenaline surge that was very much present in The Road Warrior.
Considering that the first two films in this trilogy are prime examples of some of the best action films ever made, Beyond Thunderdome is a bit of a letdown. Though the cast gives great performances here and Tina Turner is better than Mel Gibson actually this time around, this film lacks something that makes a Mad Max film so special. This third entry in the trilogy is average to say the least and the lack great ideas for this film is apparent. However this is a good film, but definitely not as terrfic and awesome as the first two. Beyond Thunderdome is a film that does have impressive visuals and good action, but it lacks the wicked car chases of the firs two.
Super Reviewer
November 28, 2009
"Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves!" -The rules of the Thunderdome. While this movie just in no way measures up to the first two in the series, it has the coolest futuristic game ever created. It's an even more brutal and violent form of a gladiatorial match. Really, there's nothing terrible about the movie, it just doesn't deliver the same feeling or adrenaline rush that it theoretically should have. This also gave birth to what would later become Waterworld, so inevitably you'll associate the two together in your mind. Perhaps the reason it is most enjoyable is one man: Mel Gibson. His utter coolness and ability to make any movie look better makes this a memorable adventure into post-apocalyptic Australia. Tina Turner is actually strangely effective as a villain, but there's just no comparing her to the previous bad guys in the series.
Super Reviewer
½ August 27, 2010
Any edge that the first two Mad Max films had was dulled to nothing in this third chapter of George Miller's apocalyptic saga of scavenging for fuel and Aussie accents. In this installment Max (Mel Gibson) ends up in Barter Town searching for his stolen camels. He ends up working for Aunty Entity (Tina Turner), the Hillary Clintonesque leader of the village. She wants Max to eliminate her competition called Master Blaster, which happens to be an old midget riding on the back of a retarded giant. They have a little tumble in Thunderdome, the Judge Judy of Barter Town and when Max gets a tad bit of humanity back and refuses to kill this defenseless big guy, he's forced into the desert tied to a mule to die. He stumbles onto a group of kids ala Lord of the Flies who want to go to Tommorrowland (I hope they get Park Hopper) and it's up to Max to save them for their trip to wherever the hell it is they want to go.

The simplicity was what let the first two films be so damn good, especially the second act. They were basic. A lone guy out on his own trying to maintain himself, yet he allows a certain moral code to prevail. With Thunderdome we get that political undertone which always kills a movie that isn't set in Washington (Phantom Menace anyone?) The idea that these kids are sitting around waiting for their great savior isn't much of a plot point and certainly has no place in a Mad Max movie. What's the formula for a Max movie? Car chase-crash-plot point-crash-crash-conundrum-repeat. They complicated the formula to mixed results. And why in the hell is Tina Turner in this?
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
April 15, 2010
When it comes to making a threequel, three outcomes are possible. Firstly, as in Prisoner of Azkaban or Return of the Jedi, they are the best of the bunch, expanding the themes and characters in ways which are both faithful and original. Secondly, as with Last Crusade and Die Hard with a Vengeance, they match the quality of the first film and bring balance to the franchise, refining what has gone before. Or thirdly, and commonly, they are a big disappointment, sacrificing quality for mainstream appeal. Spiderman 3, Superman III and Army of Darkness all went down the road to goofiness, and none returned with their dignity intact.

Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome definitely belongs in the third category, though it is not an abject failure like the other examples. There are interesting ideas in it, and on a technical level it is the most accomplished of the trilogy films. But each of its successes belies an equal and opposite failure, making it a frustrating experience for fans and only a reluctant success in its own right.

The first interesting idea which the film attempts to address is the nature of how post-apocalyptic society would function. There are hundreds of films about humans descending into chaos in a crisis, from The Dark Knight to The Thing and everything in between. But there are very few non-dystopian works which address in detail how society might be rebuilt or restructured.

Bartertown is an intriguing vision because it appears so radically different on the surface but actually runs in a scarily similar way to our own society. When Max first enters, everything seems orderly and civilised, at least compared to the highways and deserts of his past. There is peaceful trading, a reliable energy supply, and conflicts are resolved through one-on-one gladiatorial combat in the Thunderdome. In fact, the real power lies with those who control the energy, the brutal criminal underclass run by the methane magnate-cum-mobster known as Master. And for all its claimed civility, there is still something macabre and degenerate about the Thunderdome; the weapons may be more advanced, but the crowd are still tribal, baying for blood and taking animalistic pleasure in the carnage.

There is great potential within these ideas, and in the hands of George Miller you would expect the same combination of substance and subtlety which drove the first two films. Unfortunately, Miller is not behind the camera for any of the scenes between Max's arrival in Bartertown and the clash in the Thunderdome. Miller lost interest in the project after his producer and close friend Byron Kennedy died in a helicopter crash. He eventually agreed to direct the action sequences, while TV director George Ogilvie took the rest.

The result is a film which is pulling in different directions, with a visual style which is steadily less original. Although certain sections of Mad Max 2 felt similar to Raiders of the Lost Ark, you still felt it was directed by an individual who wasn't just interested in copying Hollywood for commercial reasons. Mad Max 3, on the other hand, is strikingly similar to Temple of Doom; you almost expect someone to shout 'Kali mar!' and pull out Mel Gibson's heart. There is more dialogue in this instalment, and considering the sheer volume of characters there needs to be. But for every great section, like Edwin Hodgeman's speech before the fight, there are three or four which seem laboured, over-long or -- most damningly -- ponderous.

The film often trips over Steven Spielberg territory because of its emphasis on children and its increasingly goofy sensibility. Although the film predates the insufferable Hook by six whole years, you can see hints of that film in the middle third, where Max is rescued by the tribe of children who believe him to be their saviour. (There is, oddly enough, an in-joke here which refers to Ken Russell's Tommy: the tribe's saviour is called Captain Walker, who shares his name with Tommy's father, and both films starred Tina Turner).

Again, there is something inherently interesting about a post-apocalyptic society involving children. The script does address issues of how history is remembered, and puts forward the idea that the 'promised land' of many religions is nothing more than a skewed memory of the past combined with ignorance about the outside world. That in itself is a shocking and radical idea, but it and others like it get lost in the manner of storytelling. The middle of the film does feel like a rip-off of Peter Pan and neither Miller nor Ogilvie completely mesh it together with the events in Bartertown. In any case, the fact that a new generation would live on is no great surprise, since that was explained in the closing narration of Mad Max 2.

When it comes to the action sequences, with Miller behind the camera, we get all the excitement and frenetic energy which made the first two films such a joy to watch. The Thunderdome fight is really great, being a highly original take on the classic duel. Roger Ebert went so far as to praise it as "one of the great creative action scenes in the movies.". It is well-paced, well-shot and the performances are very good, particularly from Gibson. Elsewhere in the film he can seem lost, but when his life is threatened he still exudes the same frightening charisma that he had before.

The problem, however, is that the action sequences are no longer seamless continuations of the plot. For all the inventiveness of the Thunderdome sequence or the thrills of the train chase, they feel like set-pieces, like components of an edgier, spikier film trying to escape from a mainstream vehicle. That said, even the train chase is not as exciting as the climax of previous films because of the goofy direction in which the series had moved. In Mad Max 1 and 2, you genuinely thought that people would get hurt; when there were head-on collisions between vehicles, people really died. Here, the head-on collision results in Ironbar's hair being caught on a pole, forcing him to jump over obstacles like hurdles; and when Max pulls a spear out of the driver's leg, it's treated like a comedy sequence and so packs much less of a punch.

The best way to describe Mad Max 3 is an enjoyable disappointment. Despite its very obvious flaws, and its all-too-close resemblance to Spielberg, it is a perfectly decent action movie which attempts to address a lot of complicated issues. It is the most ambitious of the Max films, in attempting to broaden out the universe beyond a solitary loner and focus on the future of the human race. But it is never genuinely successful in this task, and in acquiring a greater scope it sacrifices much of the nihilistic intensity and tension from before. For all its moments of genius, and its remarkable action, the film is neither coherent enough nor dark enough to hold together in a completely satisfying way. As a passing amusement it's fine, but it won't be so fondly remembered.
Super Reviewer
½ June 14, 2006
Most people consider this the weakest part of the Max Max series, while it is actually the best, for many reasons. First of all it takes the whole look of post-apocalyptic Australia to a whole new level. Not only do the cars look cooler than in "Road warrior", we finally see the first settlement and it's a wretched hive of scum and villainy, to quote another classic. Tina Turner is the charismatic mayor of Bartertown and hires Max as a killer. And what we already suspected in part two becomes a fact here: Max has a heart and knows how to use it. The rather surreal second half may have been too much for the people who loved the 90 minutes car chase from the second part, but culminates in an outstanding action sequence that does honor to the previous films. The humor is also much more prominent in this part than the previous ones. Additionally Turner sung the best song of her career with "We don't need another hero" for the end credits. A wonderfully weird ride.
Super Reviewer
March 25, 2007
Hard to sit through.
Super Reviewer
½ January 10, 2008
Loner and reluctant hero Mad Max wanders out of the desert and into a crossroads of post-apocalyptic vice known as Bartertown, and later discovers a colony of innocent children in a peaceful oasis who believe him to be a messiah. The least and the goofiest of the excellent MAD MAX series, but Max's post-apocalyptic world is always a fun place to visit.
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2009
To Star rate a 1985 film in the year 2009 is a little hard, as some of the scene's that are now outdated were pretty cool in 1985. Mel Gibson was on a roll with the Mad Max films in 1985 time frame and his performance in this movie was as go as the others. Tina Turner did a outstanding job, some will not give her the credit that I have, but understand Tina is a singer not an actor, her role was stellar. Also Helen Buday can swing from a vine and land in my backyard anyday. I'll give it a 3 1/2 star rating, though there is a cult of Mad Max people out there that would not be happy with anything less then a 5, and speaking of 5 it can be had for $5.00 at Wally World.
Super Reviewer
½ January 13, 2009
The final chapter of Max Rockatansky's adventures through the apocalypse starts off very well, in a pure mad max way, rough, brutal and frenetic.
Too bad it drags right after the great thunderdome fight to the death, in the middle, which is most part of the movie, thanks to those stupid 'lord of the flies' kids who believe Max is some kind of Peter Pan messiah.
Then, it sort of redeems itself in the third act, with another exciting highway battle that mimics the second installment's finale.
Super Reviewer
January 14, 2007
The third Mad Max film and quite fun with plenty of action.
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2008
"Two men enter, one man leaves." That is such a great line to the thunderdome concept. It is just too bad that the rest of the movie is only so-so at best.Just from hearing the title, you expect to see Mad Max fighting in the thunderdome in some sort of tournament or something. In fact, this film isn't like that at all.The first part of the film is what one expects to see. Mad Max finds his way into an oasis town before making a deal to fight in the thunderdome. This just happens to be the best part of the film. That's right. The best part takes place within the first half of the movie. What about the final fight at the end, where Mad Max takes on the baddest motherf***** in town? There isn't any final fight. There is only one fight in the thunderdome and that is it. No more thunderdome for the rest of the film.As for the fight, it is highly entertaining. The two combatants are attached to elastic straps, which allow them to fly all over the dome and grab a variety of weapons to kill each other with. Great stuff.The middle of the film is weird. Mad Max stumbles across a colony of young people and it is like watching the lost boys from Hook. Eventually stuff happens and you end up with a decent vehicle chase at the end. That's all there is to it.Mel Gibson is able to pull off Max again, while Tina Turner is only an average heel. Helen Buday also provides something nice to look at.Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome has a decent story, but it strays away from itself and this is its downfall. Take a chance and see what you think.
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2006
Aunty Entity: Remember where you are - this is Thunderdome, and death is listening, and will take the first man that screams.

To follow up a movie as epic as Road Warrior, you need something pretty amazing, and while there are some flaws in this final chapter of the Mad Max trilogy, it is still full of imagination and some cool scenes.

Gibson is back as Max, with an opening sequence involving the same characters from the end claiming to have never seen the Road Warrior again, seeing him again and stealing his vehicle.

Max then walks to a place known as Bartertown, to find a new means of transportation. There he meets the town chief, Auntie Entity, played by Tina Turner.

She offers Max the chance to leave with plenty of supplies if he eliminates the other leader of Bartertown. This is Master-Blaster, a person made up of two people, one is the brains, the other is the brawn. He lives in the depths of Bartertown, controlling the electricity.

To get the job done, Max must fight Blaster in Thunderdome.

Dr. Dealgood: [giving instructions to Mad Max and Blaster prior to their battle] Thunderdome's simple. Get to the weapons, use them any way you can. I know you won't break the rules, because there aren't any.

This is the highlight of the movie, and sadly not seen long enough to justify its use in the title.

After the events transpire there, Max eventually winds up in the desert, where he encounters a group of lost boys and things carry on fro there.

Director George Miller returns, but only to direct the action scenes, which is apparent, because his style is so distinct, that compare to the rest of the film, has plenty more energy.

This whole film seems like it could have functioned without Max, a series that could have easily ended after the first sequel, but it is still very entertaining.

All of the crazy characters, neat post-apocalyptic set design, awesome action sequences including Thunderdome and a much delayed car chase, as opposed to the other films of this series - these things all add up to a lot of fun.

A fine conclusion to this series down under.

Jedediah the Pilot: We're not gonna make it.
Max: We haven't got any choice.
Jedediah the Pilot: between them and us, there isn't enough runway.
Max: There will be.
Super Reviewer
October 23, 2007
The beginning was cool, but once the peter pan kids came it was kinda dumb. Lots of unbelievable stuff happens. What happened to the good old max that we know and love with totally homosexual villains?
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