with Lori Petty, Ice-T, Naomi Watts
Directed by Rachel Talalay
Written by Tedi Sarafian (United Artists)
by Laura Kallio
Tank Girl, the latest film converted from a cult comic book, remains just that, a comic. The characters are as one dimensional as their paper prototypes and the plot, completely out of this world.
Lori Petty (who you might remember from “A League of Their Own”) stars as Rebecca Buck, a.k.a. Tank Girl, a tattooed, wise-cracking, cigarette-smokin’, gun-totin’, high-impact aerobics instructor who ain’t afraid of nothin’ or nobody. Imagine Susan Powter on speed.
The insanity starts in the year 2033, eleven years after a comet smacks into Earth, converting the entire planet into one great Sahara. Water, thusly, is one valuable commodity and unfortunately, it’s all in the hands of the sadistic Kesslee (Malcolm McDowell), CEO of Water and Power, the company that controls the water supply.
Tank Girl winds up his prisoner, but thanks to her indomitable iron will, even the ruthless Kesslee can’t break her. She eventually escapes and joins forces with a band of half-man, half-kangaroo mutants known as the Rippers, and the most human of all the film’s characters, Jet Girl (or just Jet for short) played by Australian Naomi Watts. The renegades declare war on Water and Power, and a special effects, high action, high voltage battle ensues after which, you guessed it folks, good triumphs over evil.
Tank Girl is an anomaly, a post-feminist adventure movie. Sadly, it also drags a lot between the very amusing or frightening sequences, of which there are several. This film will be enjoyed most by hardcore fans of the Tank Girl comic, despite the requisite grumbling about the film’s lack of faithfulness to the original. (i.e. the film’s soundtrack, while full of quality contemporary sounds, does not pay homage to the late ’70s and early ’80s punk so crucial in the comic form) Tank Girl will also prove satisfying for thirteen year olds hard up for special effects, flesh and neatly packaged violence. Warning, if you’re going to see Tank Girl, see it in the theater. This one won’t transfer well to video.