Chinese cinema today is starting to become known for lavishly-budgeted blockbusters to rival Hollywood and co-productions with major Western filmmakers and studios. However, for many decades the nation’s national cinema (along with the busy studios of then-neighboring Hong Kong) were also known for low-budget productions that liberally borrow the look and feel of popular international hits.
The new trailer for Mad Shelia reveals that this trend is alive and well in the 21st Century. Said trailer for the 2016 action film leaves little doubt that it is designed as a Mainland Chinese answer to George Miller’s post-apocalyptic Mad Max franchise; particularly the most recent installment Fury Road. Notably, Fury Road itself was not granted an official legal release by the state-run Chinese film industry.
Not much is known about the plot of Mad Shelia, though the trailer indicates that it partially apes Fury Road’s setup along with its post-apocalyptic vehicle combat aesthetic. The film was reportedly filmed very quickly in Outer Mongolia with a cast of mostly lower tier Chinese actors and TV performers, and features a heroine similar to Charlize Theron’s Furiosa from Fury Road.
No plans are in place to release the film outside of China at this time. Rather than appearing in Chinese theaters, Mad Shelia will debut on the state-run Netflix-esque streaming service Tencent. Rapidly-produced B-movies of this nature are increasingly common in China ever since the advent of Tencent, often produced on noticeably-fast schedules with little union or (official) government oversight and referred to as “wang da” – short for “wangluo da dianying” or “big internet films.” The producers are confident that they have a hit on their hands, as they’ve already agreed to produce a pair of sequels titled Mad Shelia: Virgin Road and Mad Shelia: Vengeance Road, already believed to have gone into production.
The film was directed by the prolific Lu Lei, who is also the CEO of production company New Media Films. He has claimed an eight-month shooting schedule was required to create the film, though it’s believed that some of that schedule also went into early work on the two sequels. Meanwhile, no official start date or plans are yet in place for a hoped-for official followup to Fury Road, with director George Miller having yet to decide on his next feature film project. It was rumored earlier this year that Miller is now working on a Fury Road prequel movie, but that report has not been confirmed.
Source: China Film Insider