It’s that time again, everyone: time for us at SYFY FANGRRLS to revisit (or perhaps visit for the first time) a film we are long overdue in watching, one that may be a little bit bonkers upon viewing but still entertaining nonetheless. Between '90s teen horror, scary holiday-themed offerings, and Christmas slasher classics, I’ve been thoroughly entertained by finding and rediscovering movies for Deja View, and this time is no exception.
Tank Girl, which was released back in 1995, has everything going for it, at least as far as I’m concerned. It’s based on a fun comic series, it’s set in a post-apocalyptic world, it stars Lori Petty and Naomi Watts and Ice-T, and it was directed by Rachel Talalay (who’s helmed a TON of Doctor Who episodes), not to mention production design by Catherine Hardwicke?! SO many women involved in the making of this movie already, and I haven’t even put it in my eyeballs yet. Of course, that’s all about to change right about now:
1. Let me get this out of the way first: the soundtrack is amazing.
2. “I’m not bedtime-story lady, so pay attention.” Yeah, but I would let Lori Petty tell me a bedtime story. For the record.
3. No rain in 11 years? And now some high-and-mighty man is restricting everyone’s access to the water supply? I smell a proto-Fury Road going on here.
4. Tank Girl rolls up on a water buffalo and I’m totally down to make her my new warrior woman.
5. I. AM. IN. LOVE.
6. When water is scarce, taking care of your vegetable garden becomes a thing that even post-apocalyptic punks have to do. They have a CHORE WHEEL. Frankly, it’s adorable.
7. Tank Girl and her boyfriend (who I’m guessing is already not long for this world because dude is, like, a B-plus at the very most) are definitely into roleplay — at least the kind of roleplay where she points a gun at him and makes him take his pants off. Ah, young love.
8. No one’s ever seen a Ripper, aka this movie’s monster, so that would lead one to believe that one will be popping up on-screen in the near future.
9. This girl with artfully placed streaks in her hair is going to be my favorite young adult in this just based on how she talks back to boys.
10. Of course, Malcolm McDowell is the villain in this. Standing here guzzling down water in glasses like it’s champagne -- and with a very unfortunate haircut, I might add.
11. His henchman’s name is Captain Derouche, which winds up sounding like “douche” if you say it real fast, so Captain Douche it is.
12. Malcolm McDowell forces Captain Douche to walk across glass on his bare feet. John McClane you are not, sir, and Malcolm McDowell knows this because he kills him. Bye-bye, Captain Douche.
13. Admittedly, the mechanism used might be the grossest thing so far in this movie, because it somehow drains a person’s blood and then extracts water from that blood. And then Malcolm McDowell DRINKS IT. I may have gagged.
14. We’re already back to the best part of the movie: Tank Girl (aka Rebecca) and her A+ fashion sense. And yes, that is a candy necklace, muhfuhs.
15. Tank Girl and Sam are the only ones hanging outside the gang hidey-hole, so my guess is that they’re the only ones who will either be spared some grisly fate or taken as a result of their being separated.
16. Our heroine uses the distraction of her boobs to both steal a commando’s gun and pull the pins on his grenade so he explodes. Brilliant.
17. Of course, shortly after this brilliance, Rebecca witnesses her boyfriend being shot to death, so. You win some, you lose some.
18. Okay, the boyfriend’s death I can forgive, but then these W&P buttheads shoot the water buffalo too?! Uncool.
19. Even while actively bleeding, Tank Girl looks like a badass.
20. She even has time to get in a few jabs about some dude’s manhood while she’s being transported under heavy guard and THEN snaps his neck with her legs. Have I mentioned I’m in love and we’re still only 20 minutes into this movie?
21. Rebecca’s snark is still firing on all cylinders after Malcolm McDowell orders her to perform hard labor.
22. Hi, Naomi Watts! You’re looking particularly mousy and very Australian today. I bet you’re going to find both a new best friend and a new confidence in yourself very very soon.
23. Tank Girl saves Jet Girl from a creepy predator (who has a name that I’m not bothering to learn) by doing the whole “this is my girlfriend, I’m gonna swoop in and plant a big smooch on her” routine. Thankfully, Creeper Man is thoroughly grossed out by the whole display of gals bein’ pals and peaces out. The whole thing is entirely adorable.
24. Girl, meet Tank. That is one seriously huge piece of artillery.
25. At one point, Malcolm McDowell says that Tank Girl “will be fun to break,” and all I keep thinking is that this film is going to involve the serious underestimation of women.
26. Tank Girl is already itching to blow this popsicle stand, but she can’t leave without her gal pal ... who knows her way around fixing things. That could come in handy.
27. Jet Girl has stolen a fighter jet! I knew there was a badass inside you all along, Jet! She looks super cute in her pilot hat.
28. Tank Girl is the lone survivor of the Reaper attack, obvs, so she gets to rock a tank like she’s always wanted, and it is a beautiful sight to see. That is if she can figure out how to actually drive it.
29. These two encounter another lady named Sub Girl, who is played by Ann Cusack (aka the lesser-known Cusack sibling).
30. Sub Girl is eccentric and lies a lot, which is how we also learn that Jet Girl has engineered her own portable lie detector. What can’t this chick do (except stop covering her mouth when she smiles)?!
31. Tank Girl’s new tricked-out tank is a thing to behold, and it responds to her whistle-commands. And I’m still head-over-heels.
32. Remember that awesome little girl with the colored streaks in her hair? She’s been kidnapped and now it’s up to Tank Girl and Jet Girl to rescue her because that’s what ladies do. They HANDLE IT.
33. Turns out Sam doesn’t need any saving from anyone because she engineers her own rescue, but there’s still plenty of time for her and Rebecca to hug.
34. This is how I die: gal pals teaming up like a post-apocalyptic Thelma and Louise to take down a madam. Who they then force to sing. And she actually doesn’t have a bad voice?
35. This movie then breaks into an old Hollywood-style musical number, because why not? Tank Girl singing Cole Porter is something that people should see at least once in their lifetimes. The craziest part of it that everyone knows the lyrics somehow?
36. In all the chaos of staging her own dance mob, Sam gets kidnapped AGAIN. Normally I’m a fan of Tank Girl’s recklessness but this is leading to even worse things at the moment so this bit gets a no from me, dawg.
37. Jet is looking super cute all of a sudden. I approve of this subtle makeover.
38. Tank Girl’s plan is to enlist the Rippers’ help to take down Water & Power and save Sam, which sounds good in theory but may not be the best idea.
39. Unless one of the Reapers is FREAKING ICE-T. ICE-T IS A REAPER AND THE REAPERS ARE MUTATED KANGAROOS. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
40. True to form, Ice-T’s kangaroo (named T-Saint) is somewhat of a gangster, but there is also a sweet one named Booga who just wants to eat crumpets and tea and be friends. We like Booga.
41. Apparently, the army wanted to create the ultimate fighter so they decided to mix human and kangaroo DNA. Considering most of these guys are harmless and just want to sit around playing bongos and collecting baseball cards, I’d say the army misjudged big time.
42. Oh, one of the kangaroos is the horny one. So that’s fun.
43. T-Saint says he used to be a cop. Was he the kind of cop that handled sexually-based offenses in New York City and worked with Stabler and Benson? My headcanon now is that Tutuola became a mutated kangaroo in the post-apocalyptic near future.
44. And Booga used to be mostly a dog, which makes perfect sense because he is the Golden Retriever of mutated kangaroos.
45. “What are you doing? Those guys will mangle you.” “Jet… they’re men.” Said with the most obvious disdain that I have ever heard and now I’m back to wanting to marry Tank Girl.
46. The plan on infiltrating the restricted W&P area is to pretend they’re shooting a hot dudes calendar? Jet gets super into her part of the facade, and some of those guys are actually not too bad in the looks department so I can get behind it to an extent.
47. Time for the tank to come into play because this movie wouldn’t be Tank Girl if Rebecca didn’t get to wield her tank.
48. Said tank comes with a built-in grill and a LOUNGE CHAIR. Amazing. (Fun fact: I paused the movie here and when I came back I couldn't help but take a screenshot.)
49. Rebecca nearly flies off a cliff before Booga comes to her rescue and he is clearly the puppy in shining armor here.
50. Several things to note about this photo: Jet has a distracting amount of arm tattoos, Rebecca looks adorable and I just figured out the head kangaroo man is Reg E. Cathey. Took me long enough.
51. Time for another dance number, this one with the kangaroo dudes. And the next time we see Rebecca and Booga they’ve, uh, hooked up? I’m guessing? It’s a little nebulous but more than definitely implied. I am not sure how I feel about this movie wrecking the more obvious ship of Rebecca and Jet.
52. Ice-T’s kangaroo might not be a fan of her, but actual Ice-T has a song on the movie’s soundtrack. In case you didn’t know that.
53. Jet looks super cute when she’s bossing the kangaroo dudes around.
54. I guess one of them had to die when invading the Water & Power facility, but when Reg E. Cathey bites it they play a really cool sax riff to let you know he’s going to be joining the big jazz club in the sky.
55. The kangaroos roar like Klingons do after one of them dies. (That’s a deep Trek cut right there.)
56. Oh, I forgot about Sam! She’s still here and getting tortured in that pipe used for torture. She gets saved, though.
57. Meanwhile, Malcolm McDowell is still evil but has now turned into a giant hologram? I suppose he can only really die by short-circuit. (Ed. note: Called it.)
58. Rebecca’s tank has become sentient over the course of the movie. That’s a new development.
59. BEST. GLOW UP. EVER.
60. And naturally, Tank Girl and Jet Girl drive off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Because that’s how I would write the end of this movie even if this scene doesn’t happen eeeexactly. Maybe Booga can come too, as long as he continues to be the non-threatening puppy.