Starring: Lori Petty, Naomi Watts, Ice-T
Director: Rachel Talalay
Running Time: 104 mins
Tank Girl is an American film about a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by a water drought. Despite domination by an evil corporation named Water & Power, rebels Tank Girl and Jet Girl set about bringing down the overlords of the age.
This is as nineties as it gets. Tank Girl is full of all the dated tropes of the decade, from the club soundtrack to the blinding kaleidoscope-like colour palette, from comic book cut-scenes to the steampunk fashion, you’ll be transported back to another age with this movie. That’s not a good thing, however, because Tank Girl fails to make an entertaining or even funny film out of its mad concept, and ends up more annoying and dull than it should have ever been.
But there is one positive which I’d like to start with, and that’s the special effects. Surprisingly, despite being made on a relatively low budget, and with only mid-90s technology available, the special effects in Tank Girl don’t look that dated. They’re not perfect, but as far as films from its time go, this isn’t bad at all.
However, the rest of this film is pretty awful, and my main complaint comes in the form of its screenplay. On the one hand, it thinks it’s a new Mad Max, set in an apocalyptic wasteland (allegedly also in Australia), but on the other hand, it’s trying to go for a simple, pop vibe full of silly laughs and little intelligence otherwise.
Neither of those actually work out here in the end. The apocalyptic setting feels pretty irrelevant, and it’s just an excuse to try and give some more background to the evil corporation, but in reality, this could have been set absolutely anywhere. Meanwhile, the comedy just isn’t good enough. Tank Girl is one of those films that you watch knowing it’s meant to be funny, and whilst not hating it, it’s near impossible to muster up any real laughs at all, which is pretty frustrating over the course of 104 minutes.
Tank Girl herself was another big problem for me. If you watch the film, you’ll realise that Tank Girl is exactly what Deadpool would have been like if it had gone wrong. Thanks to lacklustre writing, Tank Girl’s bad attitude and ‘witty’ remarks are extremely annoying and never as funny as they should be, and that made her a really unlikeable character to watch for the whole film. The rest of the cast were bland and generic, and had no impact, but Tank Girl, the only one with a little development and depth, is really annoying to watch, and I never wanted to support her on her mission to save the world.
In the end, this is a pretty poor film. Largely dated due to its stereotypical ninetiesness, and made even worse by consistently unfunny and annoying comedy, an unlikeable hero, and a bland story, I found little enjoyment in what could have been a silly and light action movie, and that’s why I’m giving Tank Girl a 4.2.