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TANK GIRL - 2 Slimes
Rated R
Copyright 1995 MGM and United Artists
Reviewed by Neville on 25 January 2004

The Characters:  

  • Rebecca - Lori Petty! Freaky young woman who has the magic ability to change clothes and hairstyle between frames and drive men crazy with her one-liners. Becomes Tank Girl.
  • Jet Girl - Naomi Watts! Now I understand why she was so great in David Lynch's "Mulholland Dr," she had previous experience with absurdity. Here she plays an inhibited woman who joins TG's fight against evil men.
  • Kesslee - Malcolm McDowell! In a future where water is scarce, he plays the head of the dictatorial Water and Power company. He is sort of obsessed with TG and he will not give up easily, mutilated or not.
  • T-Saint - Ice-T! Here is an actor that is not embarrassed easily. Watch him in a cameo as the Rippers' leader.
  • The Rippers - Bunch of unknown actors under disguises designed by Stan Winston. The main focus of resistance against Kesslee and his army.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

What were those Hollywood execs thinking? Quite clearly, the success of the first two Batman movies created the false illusion that almost any comic book could be transformed into a successful movie, but still they should have noticed that Jamie Hewlett's "Tank Girl" was not exactly ordinary superhero stuff. Maybe they didn't find out what they had bought until it was too late. Not that Hewlett's work is not good, but it is completely unfilmable within the Hollywood production standards. Hewlett's comic is a blend of feminist satire and parodic hippism. Not exactly the standard action-packed superhero thing they were probably after. What is worse, it is filled with bad language, gratuitous sex (kangaroo banging included), and gruesome violence. The political correct era saw these ingredients become more and more scarce in mainstream movies, so the obvious solution was to move the project to B-Movie territory. Still, production problems were constant, and the final cut was sort of watered down so it would get an R rating instead of something more restricting. Fans of the original disliked the movie, the main reasons being a leading actress they judged inadequate and the fact that much of its main attractiveness had been lost in the translation. And if they thought less fundamentalist audiences would be more clement on the film, well, the few ordinary people who happened to watch it are still trying to forget it (rather unsuccessfully: read the IMDB user comments on the film and you will know what I mean). Anyway, we are not exactly ordinary people when it comes to watching movies, so it may be the time to try a different angle on the film...

We are on Earth, year 2033. After the planet was hit by a comet years ago it has became an endless wasteland where water is the most precious material. Society as we know has disappeared and the world is now ruled by the stern Water and Power company. Why do I call it stern? Well, business practices have degenerated a lot since the apocalypse. Kesslee may consider killing disloyal or mediocre workers cheaper than firing them. Actually, Kesslee is shown doing exactly that to a military guy who failed his last mission. The mission, by the way, was to conquer some territory supposedly very rich in water. The scene is also used to present one of the most improbable movie gizmos I have ever seen: the water extractor. It consists of a pliable plastic bottle that fills with precious water when plugged into an otherwise useless person. But alas, technology is not what it used to be (or what we were told it would became), and the mentioned artifact only draws something like a liter of water per person. Now, people have about 60% of water, so you cannot call this a success. I guess this is also the reason why Kesslee is constantly in need of more territory. May I suggest better machinery instead? Not that I am dying to become Kesslee's analyst, so I'd better move on.

Staff managing is not the only thing that has gone several steps back in time. If you thought cutting your water supply was the worst thing the water company could do to you, then you are terribly wrong. This is the future, so if you are bootlegging water you can consider yourself dead. And this is exactly what Rebecca and her gang are doing in their commune, so an extermination team is immediately sent there. You can call me a bad capitalist, but I think killing potential customers is not good marketing policy. Anyway, their job is easier than they expected, because the guard on duty that very night is Rebecca. If you thought future corporations had efficiency problems, that's nothing compared to future communes. Rebecca mistakes an incoming soldier for her boyfriend and instead of defending her turf she starts undressing. I have to say she becomes sort of a killing machine when she understands what's really going on, but it is a bit too late, and her gang is quickly defeated. Since we have seen that efficiency is not common in this movie, the girl is presented to Kesslee, who becomes sort of fascinated by the young punk's attitude and one-liners. However, when she decides not to accept his offers, he turns quite sadistic.

Rebecca is sentenced to a sort of mining facility, where she meets another woman, Jet girl, who has also been sentenced. Far from giving up, Rebecca tries to make friends with her and organize a joint escape attempt. A good way may be stealing that ultra-sophisticated tank she has just found. Wait! The same company who failed to produce a working squeezer produces high-tech weaponry? Mmmm... ...never mind, it must be an import. The opportunity for the girls finally arrives when TG is used to trail some Rippers and those ambush the escorting soldiers, plus leaving Kesslee in quite a bad shape. Vengeance upon Kesslee is coming at last! But before TG and her new friend must rescue a little girl who was also captured and sent to a brothel. TG manages to infiltrate the building and rescue her, but then spends too much time singing a Cole Porter song. It is not surprising at all that the girl is recaptured and this time used as a decoy for TG. Enraged, TG decides to join the Rippers and have her vengeance against all men in general and Kesslee in particular...

This one must be one of the campiest movies I have ever seen. It is a constant source of entertainment. The plot is paper thin and what really matters here is the description of Tank Girl, the punk-looking woman. Her attitude, one liners, and bizarre aspect are ultimately the main attraction. Then, I have to admit there are some other interesting things about it, especially the eccentric humor that appears now and then as TG's adventures unfold. We have, for instance, the moment when TG tries to follow a computerized guide to dress herself as a vamp, in what seems a "Pretty Woman" parody, but ends up dressed worse than ever. (Which is saying something.) Also the scene where TG and Jet Girl infiltrate an enemy base pretending they are, of all things, fashion photographers!

Another extra comes from director Rachel Talalay, who interrupts the action with accelerated montages of comic book images. This, apart from saving big bucks in production design and CGI effects, gives the film an anarchic and unpredictable feel. And, last but not least, we get a funny but under used gender war subtext, where most men are presented as evil nazis, perverts, rapists and end up beaten up by the heroines. Hell, even when they need allies they do not look for male opposites, but for mutant kangaroos. Now, I could imagine myself being replaced by another man in any chick fantasy, but... ...for a mutant kangaroo! That'll be the day!

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • I'd really like to meet Lori Petty.
  • Punks are, and will always be, fashion victims.
  • People are relatively water free.
  • Bullets draw sparks when hitting sand.
  • Intelligent tanks cannot count the number of shells they have fired.
  • Comic strips may assault your TV without previous warning.
  • Neither cable TV nor celebrities survived the apocalypse.
  • Lipstick did.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • Opening Credits - RANDOM GRATUITOUS ANIME NUDITY!
  • 12 mins - That man only contained half a bottle of water?
  • 15 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS FEMALE STRIPTEASE!
  • 16 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A HOUSE AND INHABITANTS!
  • 25 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS LESBIAN KISS!
  • 33 mins - So they put her on the freezer. And this is supposed to affect her teeth somehow?
  • 39 mins - How come the Rippers didn't attack the girls?
  • 50 mins - Darararara... pretty woman... er, not exactly.
  • 55 mins - Yes indeed, sing your lungs out while the enemy calls for reinforcements.
  • 59 mins - And those are the Rippers?! Now I'm disappointed.
  • 73 mins - Enter shameless "Mad Max" rip off scene.
  • 94 mins - Looks like Lori is having a bad flashback from "A League of Their Own".

Quotes: 

  • Kesslee: "My! My! She'll be fun to break."
  • Tank Girl: "Look, if you want to torture me, spank me, lick me, do it. But if this poetry shit continues just shoot me now please."
  • Soldier: "F**k me..."
    Tank Girl: "How many times do I have to tell you? I-don't-want-to." (Gunshot)
  • Tank Girl: "Did I hurt you yet?"
  • T-Saint: "I say we kill 'em!"
    Donner: "I say we hump 'em!"
    Another Ripper #1: "I say we (inaud.) tea."
    Another Ripper #2: "Tasty! All in favor of (inaud.) tea say 'aye.'"
    All: "Ayeeeeeeeeee!"
  • Donner: "Wanna dance?"
    Jet Girl: "I don't know how."
    Donner: "It's okay, I brought the condoms!"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note tankgirl1.wav Tank Girl explains the backstory.
Green Music Note tankgirl2.wav Tank Girl: Everybody drop your guns or I scrap off all her makeup. This might take me a really long time."
Green Music Note tankgirl3.wav T-Saint: "He asked you a question. Answer it!"
Tank Girl: Hey, I have two words for you: brush your teeth!"
Green Music Note tankgirl4.wav Kesslee: "Come on. Say it, say it, just say it. Just say I won."
Tank Girl: "I won!"
Kesslee: "No, nooo! Say I won!"
Tank Girl: "I woooon!"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

ImageImageImage
ImageImageImage
Image


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliptankgirl1.mpg - 2.1m
Tank Girl uses her cannon to launch beer at Kesslee. Let me reiterate that for anyone who missed it: Lori Petty is pelting Malcolm McDowell with cans of beer fired from a tank's main gun.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
Tank Girl
Reply #1. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Son of a mig
The (faded dialogue) quote is actually "Crumpets and tea."  As in: "Tasty!  Crumpets and tea; all in favor say aye."
Tank Girl
Reply #2. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Daytrippr
 This film has some definate positive points,
including the great props, costumes, design,
and political play. But it still stinks.
Come on, this is the movie equivalent to
Poochie the Dog. Tank Girl is SO proactive
and in-your-face, spouting out hip
one-liners without adding any weight to
the dialogue. Take Mad Max, punkify him
by 20%, and make it PC (hey, lets
change him into a girl!) and youve got
the basic idea down. The comic may
have been something really interesting;
but as with all comics, when making the movie they
obviously had to make a movie.
In this case, they failed to translate it
coherently. That is not to say it isnt
entertaining. Bud I'd much rather watch
something that makes sense,like Buckaroo Banzai
or Zardoz.
Tank Girl
Reply #3. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Bgrade
A B-Movie the deserves to become a classic.
While it has it's flaws, it stands up to repeat viewings and it's dialog works it's way into your normal vocab.

Lori Petty as tank girls is on-liner magic.

Tank Girl
Reply #4. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Ernst Bitterman
I think the reviewer was pot on in the comment that normal people are almost incapable of enjoying this movie.  I thank nebulous, ill-defined deitied every day that I am abnormal.  In terms of presenting a comic book on-screen, this is almost a precursor of "The Hulk"-- I wonder if Ang Lee took a lot of notes watching this...?
Tank Girl
Reply #5. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Genetic Mishap
This movie is the best movie ever. Period.

(Well, almost.)
Tank Girl
Reply #6. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Adam
Hey, I liked this movie. Yeah, it's certainly unique for a superhero film, but I enjoyed it. Malcolm Mc Dowell made a good villain, Lori Petty was funny, I loved the scenes when they were interacting with each other. This movie's no "Spider- Man," but it's definitely better than "Batman and Robin" and "The Hulk" put together, though, admittedly, that's not saying much.
Tank Girl
Reply #7. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by ShifterCat
Dude. The "real" Tank Girl would never waste beer like that.
Tank Girl
Reply #8. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Cricket21A
I like this movie and I really don't think the review should have been so harsh.  It was a fun movie to watch.  Sure it has it flaws but who cares, as long people can enjoy it.  I'm not one to rip most movies apart.  If someone gives a movie a bad review usually it's more than likely something I will watch.  I won't say I'm normal.  I never read the comic for Tank Girl, but even if I did I doubt if it would be disappointing.
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