Tank Girl (film)


Tank Girl (film)

Infobox Film
name = Tank Girl


caption = Film poster for "Tank Girl"
director = Rachel Talalay
producer = Tom Astor
writer = Tedi Sarafian Alan Martin (comic) Jamie Hewlett (comic)
starring =Lori Petty Ice-T Naomi Watts Malcolm McDowell
music = Graeme Revell
cinematography = Gale Tattersall
editing = James R. Symons
distributor = United Artists
released = flagicon|USA March 31, 1995
runtime = 104 min.
country = USA
language = English
budget = $25,000,000 (estimated)
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id =1:134610
imdb_id =0114614

"Tank Girl" is a 1995 film based on the "Tank Girl" comic book, created by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett. It was directed by Rachel Talalay and stars Lori Petty as Rebecca Buck, aka the eponymous Tank Girl, who had originally appeared in the UK comic book, "Deadline".

Plot

The movie takes place in a dystopian 2033 A.D. after an asteroid hit Earth, turning it into a wasteland and altering the atmosphere, making it so that there has been no rain for the last 11 years. Water is extremely scarce and what little is available is controlled by the monopolistic Water & Power (W&P), led by Kesslee (Malcolm McDowell). Water & Power are opposed by the almost mythical "Rippers," whose precise nature is unknown as the film opens.

Tank Girl, a.k.a. Rebecca (Lori Petty), is a member of a small outlaw group that has set up their own water well in the basement of a house. Learning of the well, W&P attacks, killing most of the people in the house and taking Rebecca and a young girl named Sam (Rebecca's boyfriend's daughter, as it's revealed in "The Making of..." book). Imprisoned, Rebecca is repeatedly brutalized by Kesslee, who wants to break her spirit. Between intellectual jousts with Kesslee, Rebecca befriends her next-door-cellmate (Naomi Watts), a mechanic who works on W&P's vehicles.

W&P take Rebecca to the desert, where they have found a Ripper "subgate," an entrance to their underground lairs. Kesslee has his right-hand-man, Sgt. Small (Harvey), inject Rebecca with a tracking device and then forces her walk onto the subgate; if the Rippers kill her, he will be perfectly happy and if they don't, they will be able to track their location. However, in the midst of having her walk onto the subgate, the Rippers attack, massacring the W&P soldiers and mortally wounding Kesslee (in various scenes from this point until the climax of the movie, we see Keslee being reconstructed by a renowned cybernetics expert (James Hong), and regaining control of W&P).

The two steal a tank and a jet, thereby becoming Tank Girl and Jet Girl in the process. They start out to rescue Sam, who they learn has been sent to a brothel. On the way, they come across another "outlaw" (Cusack) who, after being disarmed, allows them to disguise their vehicles so W&P will not recognize them as their own.

Tank Girl and Jet Girl reach the city Blue Silver where Sam is being held against her will in a brothel. They arrive just in time to rescue Sam, but are discovered trying to sneak her out. The owner of the club known as 'The Madam' (Magnuson) attempts to catch the two, but TG and JG end up holding her hostage and forcing her to sing 'Lets do it (Lets fall in love)' for the club. The song becomes a club sing along and a musical scene, but is cut short by W&P. They take Sam, leaving TG and JG left to rescue her once more.

Tank Girl and Jet Girl are determined to gain the help of the Rippers on their next attempt to rescue Sam. After wandering the desert, they find themselves in the Ripper hideout, a buried bowling alley. The Rippers turn out to be genetically enhanced super-soldiers who were infused with kangaroo DNA who were created by a scientist named Johnny Prophet during the war. Once the war was over, Prophet was given an order to destroy the Rippers, but he spared their lives (Prophet at this time is somewhere on the coast of Australia, working on a way to turn sea water into drinking water). The Rippers' main objective is to take down W&P because they believe everybody should have water. Tank Girl befriends, and develops a romantic relationship with, Booga (Kober), and the two girls are promised acceptance into the Ripper society after they complete a task for them.

Tank Girl and Jet Girl leave to a W&P loading dock where they trick W&P employees into thinking they are photographers putting together a 'Men of Water and Power' calendar, and want to photograph them near crates. They photograph the crates and the pictures are immediately sent back to the Rippers in their hideout. Eventually discovering that guns make up the cargo, Tank Girl and Jet Girl's mission now is to get the cargo back to the Rippers.

Once the cargo is successfully retrieved and back at the Ripper hideout, the Rippers open the crates with the intention to destroying any guns inside. However, they discover most of the crates are filled with dirt, and one of the crates holds the corpse of their beloved creator, Johnny Prophet.

Enraged, the Rippers agree to assist Tank Girl and Jet Girl on their mission to rescue Sam and bring down W&P. Breaking into separate groups, Tank Girl assaults by land with her tank while the Rippers and JG try to infiltrate the hangar bay by air. They reunite briefly and during a shootout, one of the Rippers is killed, enraging the others and sending them on a killing spree of W&P personnel. Jet Girl goes after one who tries to escape in a plane, a victim of his sexual advances previously, she finishes him off while Tank Girl confronts Kesslee who has put Sam in 'The Pipe' a torture chamber of tubes that get narrow as one approaches the bottom, trapping the tortured person inside, further endangering her by letting a hose drain into the pipe with an intent to drown her slowly.

Tank Girl and Kesslee battle, and his newly cybernetically enhanced body is discovered. A few rounds of beer in her tank slow him down, and a dumping of water from above disables his gears; she finishes him off with a device introduced earlier to stab into someone and withdraw water from the victim's very body. After rescuing Sam, the group reunites in an animated epilogue which seems to have met the resolution to the drought. As Tank Girl drives a water-skiing Booga to the edge of a waterfall, she tells Jet Girl to shut up when attempting to warn her of the danger and both plummet happily off the edge as the film freezes and the credits roll.

Production

Rachel Talalay, longtime producer of John Waters, had fallen in love with the comic after receiving an issue for Christmas one year from her stepdaughter, and set out to make 'the ultimate Grrrrl Movie'. Although the resulting film has a considerable cult following along with the far more widely acclaimed comics, Talalay has complained that the studio interfered significantly in the story, screenplay and feel of the movie. [ [http://www.twisted.org.uk/tg/movie.cut.html Fan site reprints Talalay's list of studio changes] ] [ [http://nightmareonelmstreetfilms.com/nightmareinterviewsrachel.html Talalay mentions studio interference] ] [ [http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.12/tank.girl.html Wired 2.12: Tank Girl Stomps Hollywood ] ]

Studio-cut scenes included:

*A much extended role for Sub Girl, like having her build an ark which turns out to be a sand-sub.
*Opening sequence where the comet crashes into the Earth and obliterates everything - lots of SpFx by the Skotaks. Little Rebecca in a trailer park, survives pathetically, like in "Them!"
*A scene with little Sam grabbing all the guards' guns during the Cole Porter number, and Jet getting all Liza Minnelli.
*An opening scene in which "an old lady sand hermit digs up a bottle of water, dances a little jig, then drinks it like in an orange juice commercial. then a Water & Power pilot finds she's taken water and brutally shoots her dead. He reclaims the water, but is attacked by a ripper. Tank Girl witnesses all this on her buffalo, replacing the "Blade Runner"-like studio-imposed introductory voice-over narration, which Talalay says both she and Petty hated.
*A scene with TG and Booga in bed (in a more untoward way than shown in the final cut).
*A scene with TG getting stoned and playing with her collection of dildos.
*Lots more gags in the 'tank chase' scene including a part with TG using her squirt gun and putting a condom on a banana before throwing it at a guard [ [http://www.racheltalalay.com/pages/tankgirl.html Rachel Talalay's Tank Girl page (includes scenes the studio cut from the movie)] ] .

The 'rippers' are also changed in the movie from a group of ordinary (albeit talking and a bit mutated) kangaroos to a new race of genetically-modified supersoldiers with spliced kangaroo DNA. The special effects make-up was created by Stan Winston's studio, who reportedly loved the project so much that they cut their prices in half. [ [http://www.thedougjonesexperience.com/tankgirl~prosthetics.htm Meet the Rippers] - from storyboard to silver screen]

Emily Lloyd was originally cast as the title character, but dropped out just before filming began, refusing to shave her head for the role.

Reaction

The film was panned by critics and has disappointing sales at the box office, only grossing $4 Million against a $25 million dollar budget. Roger Ebert, while praising the film's ambition, said the film's manic energy wore him down, and he couldn't much care about it for more than a moment at a time:

quotation|Whatever the faults of "Tank Girl," lack of ambition is not one of them.

Here is a movie that dives into the bag of filmmaking tricks and chooses all of them. Trying to re-create the multimedia effect of the comic books it's based on, the film employs live action, animation, montages of still graphics, animatronic makeup, prosthetics, song-and-dance routines, models, fake backdrops, holography, title cards, matte drawings and computerized special effects. All I really missed were 3-D and Smell-O-Vision. [ [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19950331/REVIEWS/503310303/1023 :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews :: Tank Girl (xhtml) ] ]

In the wake of poor box-office gross, "Deadline" collapsed, having apparently taken huge gambles on "Tank Girl" merchandising, and the character and the strip have only recently re-appeared. Although the creators Hewlett and Martin had joked in numerous interviews about howand how they only did the film to "get lots of cash to do what we really want to do: Go on holiday!", both were pretty disappointed with the movie. Their involvement with the production was limited to say the least.

The creators of the original comic series, Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett, speak poorly of their experiences in creating the film, calling it "a bit of a sore point" for them. Martin shrugs,cquote|We had hardly any involvement until the very last minute when they realised that it really didn't look anything like the original comic and then they pulled in Jamie and Philip to pad it out with comic panels. Up until that point we'd kind of hoped that they knew what they were doing. They made a lot of noise as though they did, but when it came down to it it didn't look that way.

To be honest they'd offered to make a film and at that point we were still a cult - Deadline was only selling 20,000 issues a month, which is just peanuts really - and the character wasn't really well known in America. So for someone to actually pick that up in the first place was a miracle and for them to then say: "You guys can write the script for us," knowing that we had no previous screenplay writing experience was impossible. [http://sci-fi-online.50megs.com/Interview/02-11-22_AlanMartin.htm Alan Martin interview] ]

Hewlett has said:

Martin continues:

cquote|I can't remember the name of the film, but it was a heist movie about a bunch of guys digging their way through a sewer into a bank vault. At the moment they broke through, the lead character says, "Through the shit, to the stars."

The experiences that Jamie and I had in Hollywood were almost the antithesis of that movie; it was like digging our way "out" of a loaded bank vault and "into" a shitty sewer. ["Tank Girl" book 3]

Cast

* Lori Petty as Tank Girl
* Ice-T as T-Saint
* Naomi Watts as Jet Girl
* Don Harvey as Sergeant Small
* Jeff Kober as Booga
* Reg E. Cathey as Deetee
* Scott Coffey as Donner
* Malcolm McDowell as Kesslee
* Stacy Lynn Ramsower as Sam
* Ann Cusack as Sub Girl
* Brian Wimmer as Richard
* Dawn Robinson as Model
* Bill L. Sullivan as Max
* James Hong as Che'tsai
* Charles Lucia as Captain Derouche
* Doug Jones as Ripper

Bongwater performance artist Ann Magnuson and godfather of punk Iggy Pop also cameo as The Madame and Rat face, respectively.

oundtrack

Infobox Album
Name = Tank Girl Original Soundtrack
Type = soundtrack
Artist = various arists


Released = March 28, 1995
Recorded =
Genre = Alternative rock Hardcore rap
Length =
Label = Warner Bros./Elektra
Producer =
Reviews = * Allmusic Rating|3|5 [http://wm06.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:w9frxquhldke link]
Last album =
This album =
Next album =
The music consultant who assembled the soundtrack for the film was Courtney Love. Rachel Talalay originally wanted Elvis Costello to do the cover version of "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love", but he declined, and the song was instead performed as a duet by Joan Jett and Greg Graffin of Bad Religion.

The soundtrack album was released on March 28, 1995 on Warner Bros./Elektra Records.

Track listing

# "Ripper Soul" by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, performed by STOMP! – 1:42
#"Army of Me" by Björk – 3:56
#"Girl U Want" by Devo – 3:51
#"Mockingbird Girl" by The Magnificent Bastards featuring Scott Weiland – 3:30
#"Shove" by L7 – 3:11
#"Drown Soda" by Hole – 3:50
#"Bomb" by Bush – 3:23
#"Roads" by Portishead – 5:04
#"Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love" by Joan Jett and Greg Graffin (of Bad Religion) – 2:23
#"Thief" by Belly – 3:12
#"Aurora" by Veruca Salt – 4:03
#"Big Gun" by Ice-T – 3:54

Other songs in the film

* "B-A-B-Y" by Rachel Sweet
* "Big Time Sensuality" by Björk
* "Blank Generation" by Richard Hell & the Voidoids
* "Disconnected" by Face to Face
* "Shipwrecked" by Sky Cries Mary
* "Theme from Shaft" by Isaac Hayes
* "2c" by Beowulf
* ""Wild, Wild, Thing" by Iggy Pop

The comics themselves, in keeping with their experimental and often metafictional nature, commonly featured "soundtrack suggestions", like The Vaselines, The Senseless Things, and The Pastels.

Trivia

*The tank used in the movie is a heavily modified Stuart M5A1.
*The words 'Tank Girl', 'Jet Girl' or 'Sub Girl' are never spoken in the movie - everyone always calls TG 'Rebecca' or 'Beckie', JG 'Jet', and SG's only a cameo, so she's never called anything except 'liar' and 'rain lady' (although in the deleted scenes Beckie does refer them as 'Jet Girl' and 'Sub Girl').
*Three of the Spice Girls members: Emma Bunton, Geri Halliwell, and Victoria Adams auditioned for the role of Tank Girl.
*Björk was originally cast as Sub Girl, but Ann Cusack took over, apparently at Petty's suggestion after working together on "A League of Their Own".
*Steven Spielberg and his production company at one point expressed some interest in the project, but later decided it was "too hip" for him. This gave rise to a sort of catch-phrase used by the comics and fans thereof: "too hip for Spielberg".
*Sara Stockbridge modeled as Tank Girl for a series of promotional photos to help her get the part in the movie. Though unsuccessful in getting the role, the photos themselves became well known and for a time were seen on the covers of magazines like "ELLE", "Vogue" and "The Face".
*The tank has a little Salvador Dalí ornament that dangles from the antenna like fuzzy dice.
*In the film's climax in which the Rippers are leaping around and fighting the employees of Water & Power, the actor's wires are clearly visible.

References

External links

* [http://www.tank-girl.com/ tank-girl.com] the official home of all things Tank Girl
*imdb title|id=0114614|title=Tank Girl
* [http://www.post-apocalypse.co.uk/tank.html A detailed synopsis and review of the movie]


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