Mad Max Trilogy
"The Mad Max Trilogy" is one of those oddball franchises that, rather than quietly shift from its eccentric beginnings into something more commercial, palatable and easy-to-digest, instead dove headfirst into its own innate sense of weirdness; reveling in bad Australian haircuts and over-the-top car crashes and homoerotic villains. In the original film, the follow-up "Road Warrior," and the new-to-Blu-ray "Beyond Thunderdome," star Mel Gibson went from an apocalyptic Dirty Harry to an outback myth that skewed closer to Eastwood's "Man With No Name." He wanders, for three films, awash in violence. And he becomes myth.
"Beyond Thunderdome," the Blu-debut, is the disposable entry; Tina Turner's 'Aunt Entity' antagonist, visually striking and totally laughable, sets a tone that series director George Miller can never navigate away from him. The film is lost in her gaze; not just a prisoner of her over-the-top theatricalities, but an enabler. So it's not surprising that the film has been left without special features; the stepchild of the franchise (commentaries are offered on the other two films.)
Most point the unrestrained ludicrousness of "Road Warrior" and claim it the masterpiece, with its Chris-Nolan-sized-practical-effects and insta-cult bad guy Lord Humongous. But give me the restrained pleasure of the original any day. With teeth gritted and a sandpapered visual aesthetic, it captures the hopelessness of the character; a facet the rest of the series was having too much fun to notice. And the first chase - a low-the-to-ground, visceral battle with a man known as 'the Night Rider' - may be the peak, not just of the first film, but also of the whole ensuing five hours of mayhem.
"Mad Max Trilogy"