Tank Girl (1995)

Why did this movie run this week instead of our failure week? It made $6 million on a $25 million budget, was critically attacked to put it mildly and creators Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett disliked the final product.

That said — nearly every woman I know adores this movie and points to it as a classic. Just go to any convention and you’ll still see Tank Girl cosplay 25 years later. The comic never went away. And a reboot may be on the way.

Even for a movie that’s a total mess, with scenes missing and a studio that had no idea what they had, it’s more successful than anyone remembers.

Director Rachel Talalay’s stepdaughter gave her a Tank Girl comic to read while she was shooting her directorial debut, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. Finding a studio ready to handle the sexual themes and violence of the film was difficult, but honestly, how anyone thought this would be a blockbuster still amazes me. Then again, people think of books as this vast universe of ideas and comic books as only being superheroes even now.

As if we don’t have enough troubles, in 2022, a comet is going to hit and cause a decade-long drought. The water that is left will belong to Kesslee (Malcolm McDowell) and the Water & Power Corporation.

Somewhere, somehow, Rebecca Buck will become the “Tank Girl.” Lori Petty owns this entire film, literally becoming the character for so many that didn’t even realize that she was a character from theĀ Deadline comic magazine.

W&P troops attack the commune that Tank Girl lives in, kill her boyfriend and kidnap her young friend Sam. Instead of killing her, Tank Girl is enslaved and tortured. After meeting Jet Girl (Naomi Watts) and Sub Girl (Ann Cusack, who took over for Bjork), the antiheroine makes like a spaghetti western character who has been wronged and rights things by killing everyone in her way, then falling in love with a Ripper, which is a mutated human kangaroo. Ice-T is one of those kangaroos, too.

This is the kind of movie where punk rock girls destroy a strip club and force Ann Magnuson to sing Cole Porter songs at gunpoint.

More than an hour was chopped out of this film, with whole new scenes — like the ending — needing to be animated. But you know what? It still works. It’s goofy, it’s silly, it’s ridiculous and that’s what it aims to be. It’s the most fun end of the world movie I’ve seen not made in this country, at least.

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