Review: ‘Tank Girl’

Coming to save the world in 2033 is that wild, wacky and energetic Tank Girl. But the movie version of the graphic comic book is a classic case of kitchen-sink filmmaking, in which the principals have thrown everything into the stew, hoping enough will stick to the audience.

Coming to save the world in 2033 is that wild, wacky and energetic Tank Girl. But the movie version of the graphic comic book is a classic case of kitchen-sink filmmaking, in which the principals have thrown everything into the stew, hoping enough will stick to the audience.

There are dazzling pyrotechnics, state-of-the-art makeup, a lavish song-and-dance production, nifty animation reflecting pic’s comic book origins and a thumping rock soundtrack. What’s missing from the mix is an engaging story to bind together its intriguing bits. And Lori Petty as Tank Girl, aka Rachel Buck, has the spunk but, sadly, not the heart of the post-apocalyptic heroine.

The planet is a massive desert ruled by the tyrannical military-industrial Water & Power Co. and its chief exec, Kesslee (Malcolm McDowell). Renegades, including the title character’s band, poach the precious fluid. Rachel is taken captive and put to work in the W&P mines. But Kesslee wants her to flush out the Rippers, a ferocious strain – part man, part kangaroo – created in some warped biolab experiment. Escaping with the aid of fellow drone Jet Girl (Naomi Watts), Rachel hijacks a tank and sets off in search of the Rippers.

Director Rachel Talalay has culled the loudest and most obvious elements associated with her comic book hero. It’s a biff-bam approach. Petty’s take on her character favors brash, physical elements. Lost is the humor and ingenious nature that might have spawned a series.

Tank Girl

Production

Trilogy/United Artists. Director Rachel Talalay; Producer Richard B. Lewis, Pen Densham, John Watson; Screenplay Tedi Sarafian; Camera Gale Tattersall; Editor James R. Symons; Music Graeme Revell; Art Director Catherine Hardwicke

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1995. Running time: 104 MIN.

With

Lori Petty Malcolm McDowell Ice-T Naomi Watts Don Harvey Jeff Kober
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