Its predecessors -- Mad Max (1979) and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) -- are two Apocalyptic films that benefit from clear mission statements. Both of them had a message about the End Times they wanted to deliver -- one about the lengths to which a man can be pushed and the other about how that same man might still find redemption on the broken road -- and both delivered precisely what they set out to do. Without fanfare and/or excess, they played with the people left at the fall of the world, and yet they still both found a way -- small and big -- to suggest life (of some sort) would go on, and it even might have a purpose that could only be found in our species' plummet into madness and chaos. Hope prevailed in The Road Warrior, and it did so because some men -- men like Max -- were still willing to accomplish the unthinkable.
For all of its posturing, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome felt like the Hollywoodization of Armageddon. It didn't quite give Max a purpose -- well, other than to a drifter wandering from one stinkhole to another -- and instead turned him into a journeyman who could be hired out to just about anyone for a price. I say this knowing full well that the goodness in him still forces him onto the right path as the script was written, but it wasn't a trip that felt entirely as relevant as the other films. In fact, I thought at times it was little more than a retread of what had come before, cheapening an otherwise curious attempt to expand on that franchise by bringing nothing new to the table.
And, yes, it was nice to see Tina Turner on the screen. Her big baddie -- Auntie Entity -- wasn't quite the force needed to propel Max and his minions into future box office fortune and glory: in fact, the intellectual property pretty much fell at the way side after this adventure -- perhaps understandably so -- only to be resurrected again in grand style with all new faces in 2015 as Mad Max:Fury Road. But I can't fault Tina for giving it her best. She brought her characteristic strut to the Apocalypse only as needed, and I believe a stronger script -- one with a clearer narrative purpose -- might've lifted Max to stellar heights for, at least, another picture or two back in the day.
But about Miss Turner?
Her career remains something worthy of study. IMDB.com reports that throughout her time in the entertainment business, she amassed an incredible 22 wins along with another 31 nominations. I'll always remember her as one of those artists there in the early days of MTV -- back in the era when they were truly about music -- and I'll celebrate her time and music for the rest of my days as well.
Alas, none of us lasts forever, and word has reached my desk of her passing today. I do recall reading something a few months past about her struggles -- this was apparently a long, protracted illness, though I'm unsure on the particulars -- and I believe the article had even lightly suggested she might be nearing the end of her days.
As always, thoughts and prayers are extended to the family, friends, and fans of Tina Turner. May she forever rest in peace.