Title: Tank Girl | Studio: Trilogy Entertainment Group | Screenplay: Tedi Sarafian (comic by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett) | Director: Rachel Talalay | Actors: Lori Petty, Ice-T, Naomi Watts, Malcolm McDowell, Reg E. Cathey, Iggy Pop, Doug Jones | Release Date: March 31, 1995 (USA)
Studio Summary: “A girl is among the few survivors of a dystopian Earth. Riding a war tank, she fights against the tyranny of a mega-corporation that dominates the remaining potable water supply of the planet.”
This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the legendary comic, by Alan C. Martin and Jamie Hewlett, and like many, my introduction to the world of Tank Girl was with this film. The argument can, and should be made that the movie doesn’t exactly capture the sensibilities of the books, but it does have its own place in history. View it independently, rather than expect a lauded interpretation of the source material, and have fun with what can be found.
To appreciate the film, one must accept that it is better considered on its own merits. It is a monstrous mess of a story that results in a cult classic of wackiness. Even then, some call it a failure, but to me, Tank Girl counts as one of my all-time favorite bad movies.
It is a terrible movie that I love too much. Look, for one thing, Ice-T appears as a giant kangaroo/super soldier, that in and of itself is worth the price of admission. Added to that inspired, if baffling, casting is one of Malcom McDowell’s greatest outputs of scenery chewing and Doug Jones’ (The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, etc.) early appearance as a tall guy in a weird costume. There is so much more. This movie is a who’s who of character actors. It has all the best of those familiar “that guy who was good in that thing that I like” people in often ridiculous roles.
The Bottom Line:
The movie Tank Girl is dumb beyond belief, but it holds together in a kind of (perhaps accidental) self parodying take on post-punk and post-apocalyptic corpocracy gone insane. Also, the sound track is pretty awesome, and an interestingly curated representation of twentieth century fin de siècle music.