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All Of The Mad Max Movies, Ranked

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All Of The Mad Max Movies, Ranked

The Mad Max movies are so influential that you sometimes tend to compare them to other films. For example, when I wrote my article on why Waterworld is awesome, my first reason was because it’s pretty much just Mad Max with boats. And, when I think of some of my favorite anime from the ’80s and ’90s, one of the first ones that comes to mind is Fist of the North Star, which is, you guessed it, modeled after the world of Mad Max.    

In a lot of ways, the Mad Max movies represent the quintessential post-apocalyptic hellscape. It’s bleak, it’s populated by nutzoids, and it’s scary. But, at the same time, it’s also explosive and metal as hell. Dune buggies with screaming lunatics hanging off the sides, no-nonsense leather daddies, a dude with a flame guitar. I mean, jeez! Mad Max may be the end of the world, but that doesn’t mean it has to be dour like The Road.  

In fact, if we’re talking about the best action movies, then the Mad Max series definitely has at least a couple that I would consider the greatest of all time. But, out of the four movies, which ones stand tall, and which ones are…mediocre? Well, you’re about to find out.      

(Image credit: Warner Bros. )

4. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) 

Starring Mel Gibson and Tina Turner, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is not a bad movie in the slightest. In fact, I have a soft spot for it like I do with the Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd movie. But, that’s just it. I like Beyond Thunderdome in a, “it’s not as good as the others, but it’s still fun” kind of way. When I ranked the Rambo movies, I kind of felt the same about Rambo: First Blood Part II, and Rambo III because they’re dumb fun, and I enjoy them, sure. But, the original First Blood and the 2008 Rambo are just much better on a fundamental, storytelling level. And, that’s how I also feel about the other Mad Max films compared to Beyond Thunderdome.   

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In this third installment from George Miller, Max finds himself battling in a gladiatorial arena (A Thunderdome, if you will) for Tina Turner’s corrupt ruler character, Aunty Entity. But, when he realizes that he’s been tricked into fighting, he refuses to battle any longer, getting himself exiled by her. He eventually encounters some kids who view him as a savior of sorts, and, well, more awesome action ensues, such as a really cool train sequence.  

As I already mentioned, it’s not a bad film by any means, but it just feels…lesser for some reason. And sillier. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when ranking all of the Mad Max films, Beyond Thunderdome always just ends up at the bottom for me. 

Mel Gibson in Mad Max

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

3. Mad Max (1979)

Starring Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, and Joanne Samuel, this first film in the Mad Max series is definitely the darkest and least fun in the franchise. Still, all of the madness that the series is known for is still somewhat present, solidifying Max as an antihero for the ages. 

In this origin story, Max is a police officer who deals with a vicious biker gang that rules the roads. Max tries to uphold the law the best he can, but all bets are off when something terrible happens to his family. That’s when Max goes mad and becomes just as brutal as his enemies. 

This first movie in the series is great, and its Australian setting is thoroughly gritty and harrowing. Plus, Toecutter (who is the same actor who would eventually play Immortan Joe) is a fantastic sadist of a villain. Still, as much as I like the first movie, there are two much better films in the Mad Max series that truly improved upon this concept by, like, a million.  

Lord Humungus in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

2. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) 

In this superior in every way sequel directed by George Miller (they’re all directed by him), and starring Mel Gibson, and Kjell Nilsson as Lord Humungus, Max is a broken man who fights to survive and steals this world’s most valuable commodity – gasoline – whenever he can. But, he eventually fights to defend a community against a ravenous gang of lunatics, led by the super imposing, Humungus. It really doesn’t get much better than this.

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I’m serious. You already know what number one is going to be now, but I seriously considered putting this at the top spot since it never gets old. So many other films and stories have pulled from The Road Warrior, that you would think it would feel old, but no. This sequel is so action-packed and balls to the wall that it still feels like the freshest version of itself beyond all the imitators. 

Mel Gibson has never been better in the role as a reluctant hero, and it doesn’t feel ridiculous like it does in Beyond Thunderdome. Plus, it moves at such a brisk pace that you’re given little time to breathe, and I mean that in the very best sort of way. On a different day, I might have put this as the best Mad Max movie, but today, I’m putting it at number two. So, you know what that means…

Charlize Theron as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

1. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) 

Was Mad Max: Fury Road worth its decades long sequel wait after Beyond Thunderdome? Oh, hell yeah. Starring Tom Hardy as the titular Max, as well as Charlize Theron as the warrior woman, Imperator Furiosa, and Hugh Keays-Byrne as the series’ best villain, Immortan Joe, Fury Road is really Furiosa’s story, as she tries to bring Immortan Joe’s five wives to safety, banding with Max in the process. What follows is quite possibly the greatest chase movie ever put to film.  

Nominated for freaking Best Picture, Mad Max: Fury Road is more of a remake than a sequel, and I think that works for the best, as this feels similar to the older films, but also wholly original. Tom Hardy makes for a fantastic Max, but what makes Fury Road shine the most is the world itself, as it’s never been livelier. Whereas the other three films had more of a gritty look to them, Fury Road is blasting with color and energy (the black and white version, Black and Chrome, even feels like a completely different movie without all that color). 

But, the movie is just plain exhilarating. It’s hard for me to choose one over the other, but I just narrowly give Fury Road a leg up over The Road Warrior. Ask me tomorrow, and I might change my mind. Oh, and I absolutely can’t wait for the Mad Max spinoff, Furiosa. That can’t get here soon enough!  

What’s your favorite Mad Max movie? For more news on the Mad Max universe, make sure to swing by here often.  

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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