For genre films in the mid-’80s, it was all about the kids (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Goonies, Explorers…), and the third Mad Max adventure finds Max (of all people) as the savior of the exiled children, the Messiah who will lead them to “Tomorrow-morrow Land.” Unfortunately, this “promised land” is the seedy Bartertown, a place of barely controlled chaos run by the ruthless Aunty Entity (Tina Turner). Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is really two movies in one, and neither of them are nearly as good as the first two Max adventures — however, director George Miller is nothing if not an idea man, and his vision of the post-apocalypse remains stark, dangerous and intriguing. Miss Turner is obviously loving her role, though Mel Gibson actually seems a bit confused by it all — he hung up his Max hat after this one and began an even more successful franchise a couple of years later with the first Lethal Weapon.
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