Mad Max [1979]

Director: George Miller
Stars: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 94 minutes

Although Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, the third part of George Miller's post-apocalyptic Mad Max trilogy, is certainly the least of the bunch (Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is the undisputed masterpiece, and maybe the best action movie ever made), it has still got a good share of imaginative industrial-wasteland-pastiche imagery. And casting Tina Turner as Aunty Entity, the queen of Bartertown, was a masterstroke. Mel Gibson's character Max is pitted in a battle to the death against the bizarre Master Blaster in the Thunderdome, flying around on rubbery straps inside a sort of gigantic overturned colander with bloodthirsty spectators clinging to the outside. Miller's producing partner, Byron Kennedy, was killed in a helicopter crash while scouting locations for this film. Miller was devastated, only agreeing to direct the action sequences--and, somehow, you feel his heart wasn't entirely in it. --Jim Emerson

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