Revisiting Tank Girl (1995)

Plot: After a comet disrupts the rain cycle of Earth, the planet has become a desolate, barren desert by the year 2033. With resources scarce, Kesslee (Malcolm McDowell) — head of the powerful and evil Water & Power Corporation, the de facto government — has taken control of the water supply. Unwilling to cower under Kesslee’s tyrannical rule, a pair of outlaws known as Tank Girl (Lori Petty) and Jet Girl (Naomi Watts) rise up, joining the mysterious rebel Rippers to destroy the corrupt system.

Believe it or not I had never watched Tank Girl until it popped up on Tubi lately (still the best streaming service for me); the 90’s had all kinds of experimental blockbusters, a lot of which failed at the box office but I love movies that take a risk and are a little different. Tank Girl is one of those movies and it’s adapted from a comic book series with a lighthearted energy to it mostly boosted by Lori Petty’s lead and Malcolm McDowell’s villain Kesslee. I couldn’t picture anyone but Lori Petty in the role as she just looks like Tank Girl brought to life.

I think this movie is an acquired taste as it’s absolute nonsense especially when Ice-T and his kangaroo/human hybrid’s AKA The Rippers enter the story but if you can get over that Tank Girl has enough action including shoot-outs and explosions to keep things moving… for the most part. Occasionally the pacing does drag but it’s certainly never boring and I love how Tank Girl is never really scared of anything and if she is she hides it behind her sense of humour.

Tank Girl is interspersed with comic book style visuals which still hold up today and it never loses its sense of crazy fun. The music also helps with the various rock songs only adding to the madness.

You do wonder who the target demographic is for this movie; it’s not really for kids and adults would struggle to watch a tale this silly which is probably why it wasn’t a huge box office smash.

The supporting cast includes Naomi Watts, Don Harvey, Jeff Kober and Iggy Pop; I’m not sure why on Earth Ice-T agreed to be in this but according to IMDB he was paid $800,000 for it… I would dress up as a kangaroo for that amount of money too.

Overall, Tank Girl won’t be for everyone and I’ll admit I tuned out when the kangaroo hybrids appeared but there is a decent bodycount with regular explosions and Lori Petty is well cast in the lead role and Malcolm McDowell never lets the side down as the villain. Will I ever watch it again? Probably not but it is certainly an interesting curiosity.