Without interrogating the relative health or robustness of Australia’s screen industry (we could be here for days and it’s apt to get bloody), can we at least agree that we should, by this stage of the game, have more than one popular action franchise? There’s Mad Max, of course, and we’re both lucky and glad to have George Miller’s post-apocalyptic myth pool to dabble in, but other than that the ground is fallow. Yes, we’re getting a sequel to 2018’s Occupation at some point, but to my mind a franchise is three or more films. That means Max Rockatansky stands alone.
A decade back we gave it a red hot go, though. All the ingredients were in place: a hugely popular YA novel with a slew of sequels ripe for further adaptation, a respected Australian screenwriter making his directing debut, a cast of talented and attractive up and comers to fill out the ensemble, and – rare for any Australian film – a decent budget. Everything was in position for Tomorrow When the War Began to be an absolute smash hit.
So, what went wrong?