The first in a slated trilogy, Mad Shelia seems to have something in common with Mad Max.
We knew China had thriving cottage industry for cheap-and-nasty movie knock-offs, but crikey, this one really takes the cake.
Check out the trailer for Mad Shelia (疯狂希莉娅) (Youku version here), the new Chinese movie that will start streaming online Friday and looks just a little suspiciously like the classic Australian post-apocalyptic franchise Mad Max.
Beijing-based New Film Media 新合艺影视 is behind the film, which was shot in Inner Mongolia. There are at least two of them on their way; Mad Shelia – Virgin Road (疯狂希莉娅——处女之路) and Mad Shelia – Vengeance Road (疯狂希莉娅——复仇之路), according to local media reports. Those titles couldn’t possibly have been inspired by The Road Warrior or Mad Max: Fury Road.
Shelia is almost like “Sheila,” which, for those of you unfamiliar with the Australian vernacular, is another word for “woman”; so it’s at least possible the filmmakers are giving a nod to its Antipodean origins. According to media reports, the story is about a post-apocalyptic world where said women are seen as possessions and assets in a resource-scarce economy. Sound familiar?
Cheap-and-nasty B-grade movies like this are known colloquially as wang da, which is short for wangluo da dianying (网路大电影) or “big internet films.” With no pesky actor unions to worry about, some of these films are made in less than 10 days with crews working around the clock to get them done.
The Mad Shelia movies started filming in October 2015 and took director Lu Lei, who is also CEO of New Film Media, eight months to make, according to Tencent Entertainment.
Mad Max: Fury Road (疯狂的麦克斯：狂暴之路) never made it to Chinese cinemas, no doubt due to its intense nature, but it was almost immediately available for legal streaming on various online platforms, so Chinese viewers are aware of it.
The Chinese version looks like it shares a lot of the original madcap spirit of the “Ozploitation” original, as well as its shoestring budget. While Mad Max: Fury Road was made for a whopping US$150 million, the original 1979 Mad Max was made for just AU$450,000 (around US$332,000).
Mad Shelia will be streaming on Tencent Video here starting Friday, November 25.