THEY reckon the Chinese film industry will overtake Hollywood in the next few years as the world’s entertainment-industry super-power. However, if this rip-off of Mad Max: Fury Road is anything to go by, they’ve still got a way to go in terms of creativity.
Mad Shelia: Virgin Road (not quite the Aussie ‘Sheila’, unfortunately) seems to follow the violent bikini-clad plot of Fury Road quite closely, only here Max is actually a Chinese woman called Shelia. While leaving us very confused, we were able to decipher from the movie that Shelia appears to be hot property, as a bunch of desert-dwellers chase her through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, apparently because of her virginal status. Why they’re doing this we’re not sure, but she seems keen for one strapping young lad in particular to send her a text message. It appears mobile phones survived the apocalypse, which is handy.
While Chinese Hollywood has put a ‘unique’ gender-swap girls-with-guns spin on the plot, everything else is basically a straight rip-off of Fury Road. It was filmed in Mongolia where the desert landscape is similar to what you'll see in a ridgy didge Mad Max film, while the outfits and vehicles have even been dressed up in a very similar fashion, although sadly the Chinese missed out on the Ford Falcon hardtops.
Of course, this is not the first time someone has looked to the Mad Max franchise for ‘inspiration’. The Kiwis tried it in 1982 with Battletruck, the Italians had a go in ’82 with 1990: The Bronx Warriors, the Philippines brought us Warriors Of The Apocalypse in 1985, and there’s lots more. None have gone so far as to use the same poster font and design like Mad Shelia has, though.
Mad Max: Fury Road never made it through the Chinese government’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, so it was never officially shown in cinemas. Although it could be streamed online, so Chinese people are aware of its existence. Call it flattery or complete rip-off, but the Beijing-based New Film Media are clearly giving the Chinese people what they want. They also have Chinese versions of 50 Shades of Grey - 50 Shades of Black - and a version of Disney Pixar's Cars movie.