chinese mad max rip-off

Foreign filmmakers blatantly ripping off Hollywood movies is a tradition with a rich and storied history. Name an American film that had a sizable cultural impact over the past fifty years and you are guaranteed to find an unofficial Turkish or Italian remake lurking somewhere on the fringes of the industry. While modern copyright laws have forced these low-budget rip-offs to get a little more creative in how they steal from larger movies, they still exist, offering a fascinating look at how other cultures absorb and interpret American cinema.

Now, China is adding to this glorious tradition with Mad Shelia, a Mad Max: Fury Road rip-off so shameless that it steals the original’s poster as well as its aesthetic and title.

It’s no secret that we love Mad Max: Fury Road around these parts (it was our favorite movie of 2015). Director George Miller’s fourth film in his post-apocalyptic series is one of the best action movies ever made, a stirring feminist statement and a bonkers joyride into a colorful, arid hell. And it’s obvious that the makers of Mad Sheila loved it as well, even if the trailer suggests that they may have missed the point of the whole thing. But that may be part of the charm! There’s an admirable, gonzo energy on display in this trailer that makes up for the fact that it looks like it was shot for the price of Fury Road‘s catering.

Interestingly, the trailer’s low-budget, cobbled-together look reminds me more of Miller’s original shot-on-weekends Mad Max rather than the larger, studio-backed Fury Road. They may be aping the glossy third sequel, but the spirit on display echoes Miller’s early work…although Mad Shelia’s squeaky clean wasteland warriors are a peculiar sight after the grotesque, unkept heroes and villains of the Mad Max movies. Honestly, everyone involved in the making of Mad Max: Fury Road should view this as a compliment. They made a movie that mattered enough that another country decided to make their own version! You’ve really made it when foreign directors are knocking off your work.

It’s not clear when (or even if) western audiences will have a chance to see Mad Shelia, but here’s the poster, which so blatantly steals the basic design of Mad Max: Fury Road’s most famous one-sheet that I literally laughed out loud when I first saw it.

mad sheila trailer

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