Friday, 14 February 2014

Tank Girl (1995)

Like Chronicles of Riddick, I saw this film when it hit the cinema, was ambivalent about it, and haven't seen it since.

Unlike Chronicles of Riddick, re-watching it did not make me want to scream abuse at the TV.

This is not to say that Tank Girl is a flawless film. Or even a good one. Lori Petty isn't up to carrying the film (or really, convincingly being the title character), casting Malcolm McDowell is pretty much admitting your movie is going to be trashy, and Ice-T is hopelessly misused as a mutant kangaroo. So it's a failure, but it's a pretty unique and idiosyncratic failure, and I can respect that.

I guess the biggest question I have about the film is 'who the hell thought spending $25 million on this was a good investment?'. I mean, it's not like the character had the cultural penetration of a Superman or Batman. You almost certainly hadn't heard of her unless you were heavily into comics, and as potential audiences go that is (a) too small to support a film and (b) comprised of the people who are generally most critical of comic book movies. Couple all this with the fact that the script is basically utterly insane, and that the film-makers threw in animated sequences, musical numbers, juvenile humour, and just about anything else that seemed like a good idea at the time, and you have a movie destined to lose twenty million or more and take down the magazine in which the comic was published in the process.

Though in the long run the film's failure hasn't hurt the character, who is still in print, or her creators, one of whom went on to form the Gorillaz.

So yeah, this is a crass, anarchic, frequently very silly movie. If you liked the comics, you'll probably hate it. If you don't know the comics, you'll probably think it's stupid. But you'll remember it.

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