Tank Girl (1995) Rachel Talalay

Production Budget: $25 million
Worldwide Gross: $4 million

Tank Girl was an indie comic that did not have much exposure outside of England.  During the 80’s it received popularity for its cross of female empowerment along with the punk rock image.  Tank Girl also became an icon for promoting homosexuality.  The rights for a film were quickly sold away because the sales for the comic really weren’t that great and the writers figured “What’s the worst that could happen with an adaptation?”  The director Rachel Talalay (who directed Freddy’s Dead) actually wanted to direct a true adaptation of the Tank Girl comic.  American producers though took issue with a few aspects of the Tank Girl character; like the vulgarity, or the foul mouth, or the homosexuality.  Several expository scenes were cut and Talalay had to include a poorly done voice over explaining everything.  Near the end of the project, the producers felt the movie was nothing like the book and had the authors come in and pad the movie with comic panels.  To this day the film is a sore point with the authors.  The movie got overall bad reviews and failed at the box office although it received a small cult following later.  This was also the year studios picked up another Brit comic and it tanked at the box office.  It a little movie called Judge Dredd.

Is it any good?  This is strange because I’ve actually read some of the Tank Girl run.  And from what I’ve read, the movie is absolutely nothing like the book.  As I said before, how can you really have a Tank Girl without the language, the vulgarity, or the sexuality.  That’s like Die Hard movie without the Yippee-Ki-Yay Motherfucker or an edited for tv version of Big Lebowski (which I have also seen).  However the reason the movie has a minor cult following is not because of the similarities to the book but because it is so goofy and campy.  I do have to hand the director a little credit in that she does throw everything and the kitchen sink in to spice up this movie and make it somewhat enjoyable.  You can definitely see the campy joy to be had with evil Malcolm McDowell, Ice T in a kangaroo suit, and of course, a drugged out Iggy Pop (a personal favorite of mine).  The plot has nothing to do with anything and is so bland and pointless and boring.  Although the comic itself really had no plot so I can see why they had to make up anything to pad time it really was incredibly bland and added no enjoyment to anything.  Also I really hated the scenes with the kangaroo mutants.  They go beyond goofy into downright annoying and make me want to fast forward.  The movie isn’t terrible.  I can certainly see how some can rent this for camp value, but for me it wasn’t quite enough to really recommend it.  Oh, and one more random thought: for a movie set in a post apocalyptic version of Australia, why is Naomi Watts the only person with an Aussie accent?


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