26 Unforgivable Things In 'Tank Girl,' Because It's Hard to Pardon This Cult Classic
With her shaved head, foul mouth and yes, impressive weaponry, there was no other comic book heroine like Tank Girl. The Jamie Hewlett-creation was a punk rock proto-riot grrrl who hardcore inspired every badass babe I knew in high school. So when Tank Girl hit the screen almost exactly 20 years ago, hopes were high that it would be true to the panels she originated from.
...instead, it ended up a tangled mess that makes Labyrinth's plot look straight-forward and cohesive — and the subject of this week's bad movie rewatch.
For once, the plot is so disoriented it's not worth explaining. But, for the sake of journalism, I'll try: Generally, Tank Girl lives in the apocalyptic near future with minimal water. Malcolm McDowell plays a barely-seen villain. There are mutant kangaroos called Rippers. Nothing makes sense, and not in a cool way. To be fair, fractions of the ridiculousness are just true to the comic — kangaroo relations and all. And that's fine; the appeal of Tank Girl was in her anarchy. It just sucks that in translation of paper-to-film, it turned into something I want to kill with fire. (Great soundtrack, though.)
Anyway, don't cry for Hewlett. He went on to co-create The Gorillaz, so he's doing fine. And Tank Girl herself, Lori Petty... got a guest spot on Orange is the New Black , which is cool. But regardless of current success, attention must be paid. So let's take a nostalgic look at all the egregious things in the 1995 masterpiece, Tank Girl.
1. "It's 2033. The world is screwed now."
A comet hit Earth back in 2022, turning it into a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland. BUT, the good news is that you can stop worrying about paying off your student loans.
2. Post-apocalyptic hideouts basically look like the show houses in the New Brunswick basement scene.
No shade, just a personal observation after two years at Rutgers University.
3. The difference is that there are stray children instead of a large wandering cat.
Otherwise, literally the same.
4. It's nice that Tank Girl finds time to crochet some extensions.
She has a Pinterest board called "Crafts for the End of Civilization."
5. “Hey, what time is it, I don’t want to miss Baywatch.”
Tank Girl constantly makes jokes that are severely outdated in 2015, let alone 2033.
Her prison guard is unamused.
6. Academy award nominee Naomi Watts, everyone.
7. In the future, everyone showers with talcum powder.
Of course they do.
8. The main villain watches surveillance videos of prisoners plotting to escape for entertainment.
To be fair it was this, or Keeping Up With the Kardashians Season 28.
9. "What do you say? We go to New York, see Cats.”
OMG, Tank Girl, it's 2033. Stop.
10. As a form of torture, they apparently give Tank Girl grillz.
11. Tank Girl has night terrors in Chrome photoshop filters.
Which is weird, because my Rambo-style flashbacks are all in Valencia.
12. This cut scene which explains nothing.
It's timed really well with when your good drugs should kick in, though.
13. This is like a stray Cusack sibling.
Anne Cusack, I think? Unless you're a John or a Joan, I don't really know.
14. Bath houses are pretentious in the future.
And amusingly sterile.
15. “Either I improve that lovely hairdo, or you sing to us.”
Not much of a threat either way.
16. So they sing Cole Porter's 1920's classic "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love."
17. This is Ice-T.
Like, honestly, this is literally Ice-T playing Ice-T if Ice-T was a mutant kangaroo.
18. Obviously they question Jet Girl and the Cynthia doll from Rugrats with laughing gas.
I think what’s important here is that whenever someone takes Tank Girl prisoner they give her a fresh new look.
19. The army wanted to build the ultimate soldier, so they mixed human DNA with a kangaroo.
... WHAT? Why would anyone seek out KANGAROOS to create the world's ultimate soldier? Why not jaguars or sharks or rhinoceroses (rhinoceri?) or something?! What benefits do you get with kangaroos — extra pocket space?
20. But then they're also all... reincarnated human beings?
This is reincarnated Jack Kerouac. Yeah, none of this makes sense, top to bottom.
21. “Who’d you use to be?” “A Cop.”
22. This is how they say grace.
I'm pretty open-minded, but I think it's fair to say that I don't really get the mutant-reincarnated-kangaroo religion.
23. All of this.
Which is canon, but nonetheless new levels of ridiculous.
24. This also.
He's not a hologram, his HEAD is just a hologram. Good luck working THAT out.
25. And the movie ends when she... water bottles him to death.
26. And also ends up with her new kangaroo boyfriend.
I need an Advil.
Images: United Artists/Netflix (36)