PlotTwenty years have passed since Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) avenged his family, and fifteen since he defeated the Lord Humungus. While riding a camel-drawn wagon across the Australian desert, Max is attacked by Jedediah (Bruce Spence), a pilot flying a Transavia PL-12 Airtruk, and his son, who steal his belongings and vehicle. Continuing on foot, Max follows a trail of his personal items left behind by his pet monkey, still onboard the stolen vehicle.
The trail leads Max to the seedy community of Bartertown, the only active community in the Wasteland. Max is at first refused entry by The Collector, the gatekeeper of Bartertown, as he has nothing left to trade, but after witnessing Max's quick reflexes, and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds, he reconsiders. The Collector, and head of the guards Ironbar, bring Max before the founder and ruler of Bartertown, the ruthless Aunty Entity (Tina Turner). She offers him a complete resupply of his vehicle and equipment for if he c...
Twenty years have passed since Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) avenged his family, and fifteen since he defeated the Lord Humungus. While riding a camel-drawn wagon across the Australian desert, Max is attacked by Jedediah (Bruce Spence), a pilot flying a Transavia PL-12 Airtruk, and his son, who steal his belongings and vehicle. Continuing on foot, Max follows a trail of his personal items left behind by his pet monkey, still onboard the stolen vehicle.
The trail leads Max to the seedy community of Bartertown, the only active community in the Wasteland. Max is at first refused entry by The Collector, the gatekeeper of Bartertown, as he has nothing left to trade, but after witnessing Max's quick reflexes, and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds, he reconsiders. The Collector, and head of the guards Ironbar, bring Max before the founder and ruler of Bartertown, the ruthless Aunty Entity (Tina Turner). She offers him a complete resupply of his vehicle and equipment for if he completes a certain task for her, but seems skeptical of him, calling Max "just a raggedy man". After Max completes a deadly "audition", in which Ironbar, The Collector and Aunty's guards ambush him, Aunty deems him worthy, and explains her offer:
In Bartertown, electricity, vehicles, and functioning technology depend on a crude methane refinery fueled by pig feces. The refinery is located in the Underworld area beneath Bartertown and is operated by the diminutive Master, who is carried around by his enormously strong, steel-masked bodyguard, Blaster. "Master Blaster" holds an uneasy truce with Aunty for control of Bartertown. Master, however, is beginning to exploit his position with energy "embargoes," challenging Aunty's leadership. She is furious with him but cannot challenge him publicly, as Master is the only one with the technical know-how to operate the refinery.
Aunty instructs Max to provoke a confrontation with Blaster in Thunderdome, a gladiatorial arena where conflicts are resolved by a duel to the death. Max enters Underworld as a worker in order to get a look at Master Blaster up close; here he also befriends Pig Killer, a convict sentenced to life working in Underworld, for slaughtering a pig to feed his family. Max finds his stolen vehicle in Master Blaster's possession, and in order to get a conversation with them, he helps them disarm his booby-trapped engine. While doing so, Max discovers that Blaster is exceptionally strong, but extremely sensitive to high-pitched noises (the alarm on his booby trap bomb, as well as a high-pitched whistle Max carries).
The rules of Thunderdome, as chanted by onlookers crowding the arena, are simple: "Two men enter, one man leaves." After a difficult match with various weapons, Max defeats Blaster by using his whistle to throw him off-balance, and then hitting him in the head with a sledgehammer. However, upon discovering that beneath the helmet, Blaster has a developmental disability and the functional mentality of a child, he refuses to kill him, claiming to Aunty that "This wasn't part of the deal". Master is furious at this revelation, and vows to shut down Underworld, and by extension, Bartertown. An enraged Aunty has Ironbar execute Blaster, and as the crowd turns on her in favor of freeing Max, she invokes the law against him, since he broke his agreement with her: "Bust a deal, face the Wheel." The Wheel is divided into sections, marked with outcomes that range from acquittal to death; when spun for Max, it stops on "Gulag," meaning exile to the desert wasteland. He is placed on a donkey, his head is covered to disorient him, and he is sent out of Bartertown on a random course.
Pig Killer, sympathizing with Max, manages to get hold of Max's pet monkey, and sends it out into the desert after him, with a canteen of water. As Max's horse perishes in the harsh desert climate, he frees himself and tries to press on. Max's monkey does manage to find him, and the water he brings keeps him going a little further. Back in Bartertown, the methane refinery is breaking down, and Ironbar brutalizes Master to force him to fix the machine, which he eventually agrees to do, out of fear of being fed to the pigs.
Some time later, Max - now near death from exposure - is found by a desert dweller named Savannah Nix, and she hauls him back to her home, occupied by a group of children and teenagers. The children, hardened to the desert environment, are descendants of the survivors of a nearby crashed Qantas Boeing 747; they have formed a tribe in a sheltered oasis. As they examine the unconscious Max, one of the kids attempts to use a "sonic", believing it to be some kind of communication device, to contact Max and wake him up. In reality, it is a vinyl record attached to a stick, which they spin, and attempt to use a patch-together headset to talk to him. After being nursed back to health, Max wakes up, confused and disoriented by his new surroundings, and the children's leader, named Slake M'Thirst, refers to Max as "Captain Walker". Believing Max's confusion to be him testing them to see if they have "been slack" or not, they organize everyone to prove they have not been.
To keep their memories of the past civilization alive, the group passes the information on in the form of spoken "tells," which include the return of the messianic "Captain Walker" who will repair the aircraft and return them to civilization. The "tell" explains that the original group of survivors had been aboard the plane, and that a nuclear bomb detonation (or "Pockyclypse" as the children call it) in the city brought the plane down in the desert. Flight Captain G.L. Walker led the survivors to the canyon, and they set up a primitive society. At some point though, the group became restless, and abandoned their children to seek out civilization, with Walker lying to them that he would return. They never did though. Believing Max to be Walker, the children beg him to take them to "Tomorrow-morrow Land", but are shocked that Max insists he is not only not Captain Walker, but that they remain in the relative safety of the oasis, knowing that the only "civilization" within reach is Bartertown.
Some of the children, led by Savannah, decide to leave anyway, determined to find "Tomorrow-morrow Land". Max stops them by force, but a strange member of the tribe, known as Scrooloos, sets them free during the night, and goes off with them. Slake asks Max to go after them, and he agrees, taking a few of the children with him as trackers and hunters. Max's group catches up to find Savannah's group in danger, and one of the children is lost to a sand pit before he can reach them. As night falls, they spot the lights of Bartertown, and with no supplies left, and no other options, they head for it.
They sneak in, and Max explains that they need to rescue Master, because "he's got the knowing of a lot of things". Max and the children free him, with Pig Killer's help, but the guards are alerted and give chase as the heroes escape in Master's train-truck, which had been the center of the town's generator. Ripping the train free results in a series of explosions in the methane refinery, and Bartertown is heavily damaged, prompting Aunty to organize the fleeing inhabitants to chase down and retrieve Master.
As the train speeds away, the children find out that the "sonic" is just an old French learning record by placing it on Master's record player. As Aunty's men catch up to the train, Max manages to keep Master out of her hands, Scrooloos hijacks one of the pursuing vehicles (which turns out to be Max's from the start of the film), and Max detaches the rear train car with Aunty and her men onboard. This slows them down considerably, since they have to stop the train car and re-organize, but soon after their escape, the train is forced to stop by Jedidiah's son. Having set up a blockade on the tracks to rob people, he tries to stick them up, but flees as he sees the approaching attackers. Following the boy back home, Max coerces Jedediah to help them escape in his plane, but as they bring the plane around to the runway, they discover that there is too much weight, and not enough runway between them and the attackers' vehicles. Luckily, Scrooloos arrives just in time, driving Max's vehicle Ford F-150. Max dumps all the extra weight off the plane, and then uses his vehicle as a battering ram in front of the plane. He plays chicken with Ironbar, and neither man swerves to avoid the collision, with Max's vehicle ripping right through Ironbar's, and Max leaping to safety at the last moment. The plan works, and the plane has the extra few yards it needs to take off. Aunty finds Max, battered but alive, and her men draw weapons on him. She simply laughs, and spares his life, having come to respect him. Before departing with her men, presumably to start over, her last words to Max are: "Well, aint we a pair... Raggedy man".
Jedidiah flies the children (presumably under Max's orders) to the coast, where they discover the decimated ruins of "tomorrowmorrow land", which is actually Sydney .
Years later, the children have established a small society of not only themselves, but other lost wanderers, and are now living in the ruins, now lit up by hundreds of fires and lights. Savannah, now the leader of the children, recites a nightly "tell" of their journey, and the man who saved them.
Max, still alive in the desert, wanders on to places unknown.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mad_Max_Beyond_Thunderdome", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0