Tank Girl

This movie speaks to the 90s kid in all of us and was MADE for cult status, which is to say, it isn’t very good. But it was quite quotable and a little risque, which is really all it took back in 1995. tank-girl-323And of course Lori Petty fulfilled all our alt-chick fantasies.

Tank Girl is based on a badass British comic strip but of course lost most of its uniquely British humour in the Hollywood rewrites. Studios, in fact, objected to a lot of the original material, such as showing Tank Girl in bed with her half-kangaroo boyfriend, this DESPITE the fact that it was a waste of a perfectly good $5000 10-inch prosthetic penis.

The year is 2033. We’re post apocalypse, naturally, and there’s been no rain for 11 straight years. Tank Girl and friends live in a wasteland fighting the oppression of “Water & Power’ led by Malcolm McDowell.

Audiences turned out to be mostly apathetic, and critics unkind, but it soon garnered an 4094473-2266063370-15327underground cult following who love the feminist, anti-heroine themes, and who can blame them? Flaws aside, Tank Girl IS a lot of fun to watch. She’s brash and bombastic and despite the fact that it’s the end of the world, she’s got an unending 90s-fabulous wardrobe. And as incredible as Petty is in the part, it’s also fun to occasionally see her animated counterpart leap into action.

I mean, in what other movie could you seek revenge for the prostitution of young kids to pedophiles by humiliating the pimp (or, well, madame) by making her sing Cole Porter at gunpoint? And in what other world would drought and murder combine to make the most fabulous weapon of recycling ever (because the human body is of course 60% water, and waste not, want not)?

Unlike most comic book movies where women are sexually objectified (or just plain absent), Tank Girl was herself sex-positive and comfortable in her dominance. She is competent, anti-establishment, strong, and fierce. Her sidekick, Jet Girl, is brilliant but less confident – and worth checking out because it’s probably the earliest we American audiences saw Naomi Watts, in a movie she now claims to be ashamed of.

Possibly the best thing about the movie is its obligatory 90s-alt soundtrack, assembled by Tank-GirlCourtney Love, and including tracks by Bjork, Bush, Portishead, Hole, Joan Jett, Veruca Salt, and of course Ice T (because he costars).

With a proud place on Luke Buckmaster’s list of 10 “weirdest superhero films”, it’s really something that has to be seen to be understood. Love it or hate it, it’s a film with longevity, and begs the question: is Tank Girl due for a remake?

 

 

Tank Girl can be seen on the big screen this Wednesday, July 13th in Toronto at The Carlton.

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24 thoughts on “Tank Girl

  1. J.

    I was a fan of this at the time. Haven’t seen it in many years but I thought it was hugely enjoyable even after a couple of viewings. Last time I watched it was about 15 years ago, but I noticed it was on Netflix and was tempted to revisit it recently (opted for The Last Stand instead).

    The soundtrack was pretty great. I owned that, too. Mostly for The Magnificent Bastards track (Mockingbird Girl).

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yes, I forgot that was on there. It’s amazing how much I’d forgotten. I hadn’t seen it in a while, either. It’s old enough to be able to legally drink now, even in the States!

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    1. Jay Post author

      I can’t really imagine who. She really was great in the role, and exactly the kind of sweet and salty Tank Girl needs. Tank Girl does just feel really 90s to me and I don’t know who has that sensibility anymore.

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      1. fragglerocking

        I think it’s one of those rare movies that are of a moment in time, and cannot be redone. I am sure there are some more of those that have been and shouldn’t, Stepford Wives spring to mind.

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  2. reocochran

    I am glad you depicted the comic strip plus mentioned the music featured. I liked it but may never revisit it again. Once was enough to remember”Tank Girl” by! 🙂

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    1. Jay Post author

      The comic strip was definitely cool, but I agree with you about the movie. It’s dated, almost purposely so, but still.

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  3. badblokebob

    I watched it for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. It’s clearly a mess of a film, thanks in part to all the behind the scenes woes, but I loved its anarchism. There’s definitely a bit of ’90s nostalgia in that enjoyment, too. I was going to say that a remake would be perfectly timed, because a feminist comic book movie feels like just the thing to be made right now, but Tank Girl’s whole shtick is pretty ’90s…

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  4. allendemir

    This definitely sounds like one of the more divisive movies out there. I’ve heard a lot of people trash it, but I also know a lot of people who still love it to this day. Looks like the sort of movie you could enjoy if you don’t take it too seriously, which means I should probably check it out.

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  5. Liz A.

    I saw this back in the day. In a theater. I think. A friend of my brother loved the comic or something, so the three of us went. He couldn’t stop raving afterward. We were kinda meh. I don’t remember hating it, but I missed the whole cult thing. Probably because it wasn’t marketed to me.

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  6. Ally B. Jones

    I remember watching this movie! I was far to young to be watching it and thus very impressionable…that could explain a lot. Great Movie !

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    1. Jay Post author

      Haha, yes, I know what you mean – I stole The Godfather off my grandfather’s book case when I was 9. Yikes! Still love it to this day though. Still occasionally have nightmares about horse heads.

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