You know how it is. You read a book, or see a film, that has been relentlessly panned and think, ‘Hang on. That’s actually rather good.’ And so it was on Wednesday night when Film 4 screened Tank Girl. I remember it coming out back in the 90s and thinking it looked worth a watch, but somehow it slipped under the radar.
Let’s be clear from the outset, this is not a great film, but it is hugely entertaining. It’s a sort of sub-Mad Max post -apocalypse effort but played for laughs. It even seems to be set in Oz, what with the rebellious Rippers being human/kangaroo hybrids who eschew the use of firearms despite being supersoldiers.
There’s a cast of thousands too, with a villainous Malcolm McDowell heading for world domination, Ice-T as one of the people tackling Mr Baddie, Iggy Pop has a cameo role, and Jet Girl is Naomi Watts before she shot to fame in Mulholland Drive and King Kong. But the best is yet to come in the shape of Lori Petty as the eponymous (anti)heroine.
I didn’t know this, but she was originally cast to play opposite Sly Stallone in Demolition Man, was replaced by Sandra Bullock, and the rest as they say is history. I like Sandra Bullock a great deal, but with Ms Petty in the role of Lenina Huxley the film would have been a very different kettle of fish.
Tori Petty is a natural at playing gobby, feisty (bad word, but best I can think of) characters with badarse attitude. She hams it up to the max here, and the result is an enjoyable of lightweight effort that lasts a mere 105 minutes. James Cameron should take note that the audience doesn’t have to develop numb bum.
Here’s the best bit, from my point of view at least. I know somebody who would be really good in the role of Tank Girl. She was a partial role model for my heroine Charlie, and she has a majorly bad attitude. She’s a great person to have on your side, but you really do not want to mess with her.
I can really hear her saying, ‘I’m not going anywhere without my tank,’ sneerily dismissing the McDowell character, blowing things up, and being badarse with a machine gun.
She even has wacky hair too. An obvious choice for the remake.