Aqua Cola Rock and Rolla (more thoughts on Mad Max)

I can’t stop thinking about the Mad Max movies! I’m sorry!

hugh keays byrne

  • Although played by the same actor, Hugh Keays-Byrne, The Toecutter (Mad Max) and Immortan Joe (Mad Max: Fury Road) are not the same character. Same with The Gyro Captain (The Road Warrior) and Jedediah (Beyond Thunderdome), both played by Bruce Spence. However, it’s an entertaining notion, considering that each play similar roles in their respective films.
  • Speaking of Keays-Byrne, he does a completely phenomenal acting job in Fury Road. This is a performance purely in the eyes and the voice, and he nails it. Director George Miller has cited silent film as an influence; it’s never more evident than in Fury Road.
  • In a similar vein, could Scrooloose from Beyond Thunderdome be a precursor to the half-life Warboys from Fury Road? Again, not likely, but it is fun to see how Miller calls back to the earlier films in several ways.


  • Other callbacks to the previous films in Fury Road: Max’s shotgun, jacket and leg brace; the tiny cranked music box; Max strapped to the front of Nux’s car (which incidentally also has a skull wearing a familiar pilot helmet and goggles – is that the Gyro Captain!?); Immortan Joe’s wives live in an enclosure similar in appearance to the Thunderdome.
  • Oh god, the vehicles! From Max’s Interceptor, to the Polecats riding counterbalanced-by-engine-blocks javelins, to Lord Humungus’s six-wheeled truck, few movies have had such memorable modes of transport. Even the cow car from Beyond Thunderdome is unforgettable.
  • And now, a moment of appreciation for The Feral Kid from The Road Warrior:

feral kid

  • Wex and his male companion are most likely the only queer characters we see in the Max Mad universe, although Lord Humungus calls out to his “gayboy berserkers” and “smegma-crazies,” so we could deduce some kind of homoeroticism going on in the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla’s gang.
  • I will make a case for Master and Blaster, though.
  • Say what you will about Beyond Thunderdome, but I love the pidgin English that the cargo cult uses during their “tells.” Call it a de-evolution of language, but it adds color to a film that needs all the help it can get.

mad-max-beyond-thunderdome-mel-gibson-children“Wait…did I name my son ‘Sprog’?!”

  • Graffiti: “THE VERMIN HAVE INHERITED THE EARTH” (The Road Warrior) vs. “WHO KILLED THE WORLD?” (Fury Road)
  • Apparently there is a fan theory that the Mad Max films are not happening “live” so much as they are being told to us by someone as part of an oral history. This isn’t unreasonable, given that we know The Feral Kid is narrating The Road Warrior, and that Savannah Nix has incorporated Max into the nightly tell at the end of Beyond Thunderdome. Even Max himself opens Fury Road by telling us that his world is “fire and blood.”
  • Pre-Vuvalini bad-ass grandmother:

mad max granny

  • But really, who names their child Sprog?!
  • For as much disdain as Beyond Thunderdome gets, where else will you see Tina Turner in such a great role as Aunty Entity? Even though she’s the film’s villain, Entity is hardly evil, and I love how by the end of the film she regards Max as an equal, as worthy enough to be released back into the wild. Not to mention: that hair!

feral kidHe loves music!



2 thoughts on “Aqua Cola Rock and Rolla (more thoughts on Mad Max)

  1. I’ve got fond memories of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and even though it’s oft-maligned a lot of it is actually amazing: Bartertown, Master Blaster, Aunty and “Two men enter, one man leaves!” are all crucial entries in the Mad Max canon. The sets, vehicle and costume design aren’t too shabby either.
    I only wish Mel Gibson could have reprised the role one more time and brought the story full circle.

    “You disobey me puppy!”

    1. Agreed! Beyond Thunderdome has a lot going for it. People don’t like that it added kids to the mix, but eh…I don’t entirely mind, even though the second act kind of slows down the film’s momentum.

      As neat as it would have been to bring Gibson back, I really enjoy the concept of Max being like James Bond, in that the character can really be timeless.


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