November 28, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

Which mothballed movie franchise is ripe for revival?

Since the Bond, Batman, and Superman films were all rebooted, what other franchise could use a fresh take? —David

How about those hell-for-leather death trips, the Mad Max films? Come on: You know you crave it. Mad Max (1979) and The Road Warrior (1982) are arguably the greatest modern action films, but Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) only blanded out the series by ”humanizing” it. (Maybe the director, George ”Happy Feet” Miller, was already dreaming of talking animals.) A relaunch, however, has been discussed, and here’s why the time is right for it: With their hurtling road-rage bravura, the Mad Max films were cruel, nihilistic, and very punk — jackknife visions of a high-velocity future in which speed had replaced God as the ruling force. Given how much darker the world is today, it’s easy to imagine a new Max saga set in, say, Iraq or Afghanistan, with an even more hard-shelled, nothing-to-lose Max — Colin Farrell? DMX? Vincent Gallo? — zooming through the post-war-on-terror wasteland.

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