Back in 1985, after the huge success of "The Road Warrior" Mel Gibson returned for the final time in MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME.
In my opionion, the strangest sequel, the film is seemingly split into thirds. The first sequence finds Max entering Bartertown to reclaim his stolen camels and vehicle. The city is a triumph of production design, an enclave for trade and the rebirth of some form of capitalism in the post apocalypse wasteland.
Towering above the city as its ruler is Aunty Entity, stylishly played by Tina Turner. Aunty soon conspires with Max for him to enter the Thunderdome Arena (two men enter, one man leaves!) to defeat a challenger to her authority and earn riches along with his car & camels. GREAT sequence with plenty of George Miller's genius all over it.
The second sequence finds Max in the desert, discovered by a lost tribe of children. The middle portion nearly loses my interest entirely, playing like some bad mash-up of Lord of the Flies and a kids movie. Boring and poorly executed.
The film and Max regain their footing when he re-enters Bartertown with some of the bravest children to reclaim what's lost and perhaps fulfill some of their gibberish philosophy.
Even the final twenty minutes of car chases and incredible stunt work feel like an exciting but repetitive rehash of The Road Warrior, redeemed by some great moments.
Gibson is terrific throughout, Turner is very good and the look of the film is fantastic, but it truly pales in comparison to "Road Warrior" before it and "Fury Road" after it.
Master/Blaster is a cool concept hampered by some seriously bad acting by Master. Bruce Spense provides fun support along with his aviator son as Jedediah the Pilot. MAX fans will of course recognize him as The Gyro Captain in the previous film.
Great opening and closing songs by Tina.
I think Max's third adventure is definitely suffering a Junior slump (tough Sophomore act to follow) and I'll give it a B-. Without that middle act, it could have been something.
Followed in 2015 by MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.