Tank Girl (000) from Tuna

Tuna's comments in white: 

Tank Girl (1995) was released this week, finally, on DVD. The reason UA/MGM released it was a huge petition drive by fans of the film. I suspect they were reluctant because the film was a critical and box office flop. I bought a cheap used VHS copy years ago, and watched it without benefit of having read any reviews. I immediately fell in love with this film. I can't account for the critical and box office failures, other than the fact that the success of a high camp cult film is partially dependant on timing. The DVD is bare bones, but the film is as enjoyable for me as ever. It uses animated interludes, special effects, series of still cuts, and about everything else you would expect from a comic book inspired film. It starts out high energy, and never pauses for breath. I will let Tank Girl provide the plot set-up in her own words.

"Listen up, 'cause I'm only telling you this once. I'm not bedtime story lady, so pay attention. It's 2033. The world is screwed now. You see, a while ago, this humungous comet came crashing into the earth. Bam! Total devastation. End of the world as we know it. No celebrities ... no cable TV ... no water. It hasn't rained in 11 years. Now 20 people gotta squeeze inside the same bathtub ... so it ain't all bad." 

The film is about her battle to escape Water and Power, who are ruling the world by monopolizing the water, and to free her young friend. Water and Power tries to use her to trap and kill "The Rippers," who are mutated Kangaroos. As you can tell from the above quote, Tank Girl, played by Lori Petty, definitely has attitude to spare. If you are not opposed to this sort of cult camp, I give it very high marks. 


There is no actual exposure, but Petty shows cleavage throughout, and a lot of crotch in one image
 Scoop's comments in yellow:

I guess I'm not a hip enough dude to "get it", but the movie has a cult of ardent supporters. Although no group rates it very high, many female viewers see it as an empowerment picture, and women (5.5) rate the film far higher than men (4.5) at IMDb. Americans also rate it quite a bit lower than others (4.4 vs 4.9), and people under 30 rate it better than people over 30 (5.1 to 4.5). So if you are a male American over 30, like me, the odds are stacked heavily against you, but Tuna is in that category and likes it a lot.

I did like some things about it. 

  • Tank Girl has a seriously bad attitude, and has some good one-liners when she is on screen with Malcolm McDowell. She basically gives him the same sensitive reinforcement that Brad Pitt gave to Spacey in SE7EN, never failing to remind him that the quality of his opinions and plans is somewhat skewed by the fact that he's a moronic lunatic. Needless to say, Malcolm is not amused.
  • There are some other lines that are very funny. One genetically-engineered kangaroo warrior tells Tank Girl that he used to be manager of a Chief Auto Parts before the holocaust.
  • The film has a sense of anarchy which can be appealing, as for example when the entire cast, evildoers and good alike, breaks into a rendition of Cole Porter's "Let's Fall in Love" for no apparent reason. The film embraces that non-sequitur approach throughout. Live action segues into animation sequences. 


DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1

  • no meaningful features

On the other hand:
  • The plotting is uninteresting and mostly ignored. You just have to accept the free-fall fun of the film and not care whether they want to get you involved in the plot.
  • Lori Petty has several scenes that consist of nothing but mugging for the camera. She also has the single most irritating voice in the history of womanhood, assuming that the Olive Oyl voice was provided by a man.
  • I didn't much care for the college radio station soundtrack. For me, a little Devo goes a long way.
  • The F/X were pretty damned cheesy. For example, they should have made the jumping action scenes with the kangaroo guys as cartoons instead of as live action, because there is no limit to how far a cartoon character can jump. But if they were going to keep them as is, it might have made some sense to hide the wires.
  • I like a more coherent approach. I guess pure anarchy isn't really my thing.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two stars. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 2.5/4, filmcritic.com 1.5/4, SF Examiner 2/4, Maltin 2/4.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.7 
  • With their dollars ... it was a financial disaster. made for $25 million, it took in $4 million domestically, a little less than that overseas.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, I guess the film must be a C+, based on Tuna's complete enjoyment of it, the poor reviews, and the low IMDb rating. 

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