It’s been years since I’ve seen the original trilogy in any kind of thorough way – since Thunderdome used to be on TV all the time, I’ve seen parts of it more than the other two – and I have to say I wasn’t keen on this movie. I hate remakes / reboots in principle (unless they are done effectively, which is relatively rare) and frankly, my favourite of the trilogy is the first one, whereas it seems like everyone else’s favourite is the sequel. This movie takes its cue from the sequel, as is obvious from the ads.
But I also appreciate having a visceral response to films and, once I read the reviews, I couldn’t ignore it any more. (Also, my brother loved it.)
First of all, the film is being championed as some kind of return to traditional effects, and while that’s true, I for one read way too much about it ahead of time and was disappointed by the ton of CGI. So just know that though there are an absolute ton of stunts and real effects, there is also a lot of CGI, especially in the early goings. (You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it.) But that’s nitpicky, especially since the CGI is used to a purpose here, to augment the stunts, rather than to replace them.
So, the movie. It’s ridiculous. It bares some resemblance to a reverse (story-wise) version of Mad Max 2. The story remains ridiculous and unimportant.
The costumes and cars are more over-the-top than ever and the dialogue and character names remain iffy/campy – though I feel like there was a lot more time spent on backstory of some of the villains than in other films in the series.
But the film basically never stops. My brain was in nitpicky mode through the opening and the first part of the first chase, but by what you might call part two of the first chase, my brain was overwhelmed with nonstop campy action and the fact that this movie is essentially two very well-done car chase sequences stitched together with a vague allegory of the oppressed overcoming their oppressors. (FEMINIST PROPAGANDA ALERT!!!)
The film is enjoyable and, refreshingly, doesn’t it take itself seriously, but in a way that resonates with us more so than other films that are campy. What I mean to say is: the characters take this movie utterly seriously, but the film around them does not. (There’s one particular sequence that sticks in my mind where one character is utterly convinced of his success at his endeavour, and the music – which is pretty obvious – tells us he is about to accomplish something and then he utterly fails.) Too many films these days have their own characters aware of the film they are in as if that’s the only standard for not talking yourself seriously. And it was nice to see a goofy action film where the characters weren’t in on it.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself, once my brain was battered into submission. And I would highly recommend seeing it if you are a fan of the original series, if you are a fan of non-stop action, or if you like a good car chase.