Lori Petty, Ice-T, Naomi Watts, Ann Magnuson, Malcolm McDowell
I love films that feature actors or actresses with personality quirks, unique appearances, and sharp attitudes. I do, I really do.
I hated "Tank Girl," a film based on a British cult comic strip, starring Lori Petty in the leading role and surrounded by a winning supporting cast including Ann Magnuson, Malcolm McDowell, Naomi Watts, Ice-T, and punk legend Iggy Pop.
I love this cast. I love this idea. Why does this film feel so completely wrong?
I suppose my obvious comparison in response would be to the quirky "Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai," a film that never really became a hit until it hit video but is now widely regarded as a cult favorite. Where "Buckaroo Bonzai" works is in its complete lack of self-awareness, lack of self-importance and surrender to self-deprecation. "Tank Girl," on the other hand, as directed by Rachel Talalay, seems to be trying extra hard to throw tons of cinematic tricks at the screen in the hopes that a few will stick. Petty, whom I adore, feels remarkably self-conscious here...as if she's constantly aware this is her big opportunity to be a leading lady and she's going to show us everything she's got.
If only she'd have relaxed...she's talented, but this film never really allows her to shine.
Talalay has no concept of pacing, and seems content to keep a frenetic pace throughout the film. There's almost no time for anyone to breathe, and instead of character development we get character quirk development.
Tedi Sarafian writes the script, allegedly based upon the comic strip, but never gathers the charm, energy or personality present in the comic strip. The performances? They are not necessarily horrible, but almost completely one-note.
Courtney Love coordinates the film's soundtrack, which only adds fuel to film's frenetic fire. "Tank Girl" is, at the least, an entertaining film to watch with lively characters, fun costumes and innovative production design. Yet, the filmmaking never goes beyond this surface presentation and ultimately "Tank Girl," well, how can I say it? Hmmmm. Tanks.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic