Tank Girl (1995)

Tanks for Nothing

Director: Rachel Talalay
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Starring: Lori Petty, Naomi Watts, Ice-T, Jeff Kober, Malcolm McDowell

In the year 2033, Earth has become a desert wasteland plagued with drought. Water has become the planets most valuable commodity, and remains under the control of the tyrannical Water & Power Company. The tank commandeering Rachel Buck (Lori Petty) is one of the few brave rebels, daring to oppose the oppressive corporation.

Rachel Talalay deserves praise for her great utilization of feminist undertones, managing to break away from the typical female stereotypes to deliver spunky heroines who follow their own rules. Less successful is her attempt at a whimsical tone, which comes off as trying too hard, and makes the picture feel utterly irritating.

Lori Petty's Rebecca, the titular Tank Girl, is a defiant character who's always willing to fight for her beliefs. Unfortunately, this comes across in the most annoying and childish ways possible, which make her character a chore to follow. One part has her lead a rescue mission which turns into a hostage situation. This would be the moment where you attempt an escape, but her actions instead transform the scene into a pointless dance number, which results in a failed mission. Essentially, due to her decision, the mission was a waste of time.

"No, honestly. Does my finger smell?"

Malcolm McDowell delivers a scenery chewing performance, as his underwritten villain merely aspires to "control everything". Naomi Watts leaves little impression as Jet Girl, while Ice-T is stuck in the dull stereotype of the ally who's hard to please.

What's rather odd are the references Rebecca makes, which already feel dated, but feel even more so in this universe. In a post apocalyptic wasteland, would people honestly reference Baywatch and Jaws, which would be 40 and 60 years old? It feels like a forced inclusion, which doesn't settle well once looked upon.

Tank Girl tries to be an amusing time spent with a quirky character, but instead reaches a bothersome time with an infantile character we're stuck following. No amount of seduction scenes with scissors will change that.