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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
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 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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Internet Movie Database


Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 [2] 3 4 5
Tank Girl
Reply #9. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Neville
I don't think my review was that harsh. I mean, I gave it three slimes, so it should be clear that I think it is quite decent. I also had lots of fun when I saw it for the first time. But yet you have to admit that it has many flaws, and that most of the people who watched it are still trying to recover. Read the IMDB comments if you have the time, they are really amusing.
Tank Girl
Reply #10. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Ian
Fun!Fun!Fun!
Sure it has flaws (basic, fundamental, deeply rooted flaws), but really, what Malcolm McDowell movie doesn't?  (A Clockwork what?)

Cute dialogue, a more-or-less comprehensible plot (stack it up against, say, 'Once Upon a Time in Mexico', and see if Tank Girl doesn't start making loads and loads of sense!), and a song-and-dance routine.  And Joan Jett on the soundtrack!

Really, where is the bad side?
Tank Girl
Reply #11. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by TheShadowyGuy
"Normal" people CAN'T watch this. Thankfully, I'm hardly normal. I watched this WAY before I even knew what the f**k a b-movie was, and now that I am clear, I say this is a masterpiece of the genre, easily in the same class as "Army of Darkness".
Tank Girl
Reply #12. Posted on February 05, 2004, 12:45:24 PM by Morgan Hoyle-Combs
Yet again, another MAD MAX knock-off
Tank Girl
Reply #13. Posted on February 06, 2004, 01:19:06 PM by joe marley
I agree fully with this reveiw,and think that the owner of this web site made a good choice in putting tank girl on this web site. I guess the thrashers lost some of there intelligence in the process, because they certainly had no taste in poetry. Well, there are more horrible movies that await me, So good ridants!!!
Tank Girl
Reply #14. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Christ Oliver
(english not perfect)
The best parts of this movie is the cartoons. Too bad they're too short because they're really funny,unusual and dynamic. I hope someday to find a dvd with all the deleted scenes. I saw them on the collection cards and they are interesting.
Tank Girl
Reply #15. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Christ Oliver
I have just found all the deleted scenes at this site:
http://www.racheltalalay.com/tankgirl.html
Tank Girl
Reply #16. Posted on June 03, 2004, 12:45:32 AM by Morgan
worthy of 5 ooz drip thingies, i love this movie eternally.
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