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Film: Tank Girl

"Horrible world being horrible at you? Sing Cole Porter at it."

A 1995 film based on the notorious comic book series Tank Girl, starring Lori Petty as Tank Girl, Naomi Watts as Jet Girl and... rapper Ice-T as a mutant kangaroo.


The film contains examples of:

  • Adrenaline Makeover: Jet Girl is meek and mousy, and lets the Water and Power mook push her around until she makes friends with Tank Girl. By the end of the movie, Jet has quit stuttering, is telling off people on the radio, cowing the Reavers when they cross her, and even killing the mook who sexually harassed her.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking
    Tank Girl: The Rippers are a demonic army of bloodthirsty, human-eating, purse-snatchin', mutant creatures.
  • Art Shift: The movie is interspersed with images drawn in the comic book style, as well as a few somewhat related animated sequences. This was pulled whenever they didn't have the money to shoot the scene they wanted (especially the ending) so they animated it instead.
  • Artistic License Astronomy: The impact of a comet somehow destroys so much of the Earth's water that it hasn't rained in 11 years.
  • Apocalypse How: Rebecca Buck or Tank Girl explains the back-story.
    "Listen up, cause I'm only telling you this once. I'm not bedtime story lady, so pay attention. It's 2033. The world is *screwed* now. You see, a while ago this humongous comet came crashing into the earth. Bam, total devastation. End of the world as we know it. No celebrities, no cable TV, no water. It hasn't rained in 11 years. Now 20 people gotta squeeze inside the same bathtub - so it ain't all bad."
  • Bad Boss: The Big Bad Kesslee, Up to Eleven.
    • He kills a loyal minion/doctor because she couldn't repair his face. So, downloading him into a holographic projection of his head is somehow an IMPROVEMENT?!
    • He also kills a competent captain of his men, because he hadn't yet captured a small area of land. Maybe if he didn't kill all of his competent people, he would have survived.
  • Boyfriend Bluff: Tank Girl pretends that Jet Girl is her girlfriend to get Sgt. Small to leave Jet Girl alone.
  • Brain in a Jar: According to one of the animated sequences, Tank Girl's tank is controlled by one of these.
  • Bring It: Kesslee's gesture to Tank Girl's tank just before it starts firing at him.
  • Busby Berkeley Number: Crowd Song (and dance) to Cole Porter's "Let's Do It" at Liquid Silver.[1]
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Played With in the case of Tank Girl. She pretends to be a airhead at times, including making bizarre statements. However, when the chips are down she acts rationally enough - the crazy stuff is just her personality or an act, depending on the situation.
  • Costume Test Montage: After sneaking into a Liquid Silver dressing room, the heroine tries on a variety of outfits in an attempt at Dressing as the Enemy (nurse, dominatrix and one other).
  • Crapsack World: Albeit a very wacky one.
  • Crowd Song: Cole Porter's "Let's Do It" at Liquid Silver.
  • Damsel in Distress: Sam (the 10 year old girl), repeatedly.
  • Death World: Let's see, an evil Mega Corp. with its own Mildly Military Elite Mooks hunting and killing whoever they can find, almost no water, monster killer kangaroos... check, check and check. Granted, it's pretty heavily parodied and subverted by the end.
  • The Dragon: Sergeant Small is this to Kesslee.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Tank Girl only calls Jet Girl by that name or some variation (e.g. Jet, Jettina, etc.).
  • Eye Pop: After Tank Girl and Jet Girl escape from Water And Power, there's a animated interlude with the two girls driving in Tank Girl's tank. At one point Jet Girl's eyes bug out of their sockets at Tank Girl's antics.
  • Famous Last Words: DeeTee says "I'll see you cats at that big jam in the sky."
  • Fanservice: Tank Girl and Jet Girl sometimes wear scanty costumes, and the classy brothel Liquid Silver runs on it.
  • Finishing Stomp: Tank Girl does it to the locator device on Kesslee's wrist.
  • Flatline: Happens to Kesslee after his head is cut off.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: The brothel owner's dress with the feathers arranged like Shoulders of Doom.
  • Gentle Giant: Booga, the title character's Ripper love interest with the mind of a child.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Subverted. Sgt. Small is disgusted when Tank Girl and Jet Girl make out.
  • Girls Behind Bars: Tank Girl and Jet Girl spend some time incarcerated in Water and Power's coed prison.
  • Groin Attack: TG nails a Water & Power trooper with his own gun and uses a crushing grip on two male Liquid Silver dancers.
  • A Handful for an Eye: While Tank Girl is on guard duty, a Water and Power trooper sneaks up on her. She throws sand/dirt in his eyes to distract him.
  • Hit You So Hard Your X Will Feel It: The title character tells Kesslee "I'm gonna hit you so hard, your children will be born bruised!"
  • Hoist By His Own Petard: Kesslee has a device that drains a person's blood from their body, killing them, and purifies it into drinkable water. He uses it to kill one of his subordinates, and at the end Tank Girl uses one to kill him.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Tank Girl is fairly competent on her own, but her sidekick Jet Girl is significantly saner and somewhat more practical, meaning that because of her most of Tank Girl's schemes don't end with her dead.
  • Idiot Ball: Tank Girl deciding to stop for a musical number in Liquid Silver instead of escaping, which leads to Sam being captured.
  • Interspecies Romance: Tank Girl and Booga are a human and a Mutant-kangaroo-that-was-formerly-a-dog.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Tank Girl and Jet Girl when they enter Liquid Silver.
  • Magic Brakes: After Tank Girl steals the Water & Power truck.
    Jet Girl: There's a big cliff coming up on you. Now hit the brakes. Hit the brakes!
    Tank Girl: Brakes aren't working, girl! Plan B!
    Jet Girl: Get outta there! Quick! Jump!
  • Makeover Montage: Rebecca making over the outside of her tank in a animated montage. If you look closely you'll notice that it gets made over from a PT-76 light tank to a M-51 Super Sherman.
  • Meganekko: Jet Girl. When first met she's a nice, meek girl who's easily pushed around and is quite smart (an expert mechanic and pilot).
  • Murderous Thighs: Tank Girl uses this to perform a Neck Snap on a Water & Power soldier.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: "Let's Do It" at Liquid Silver.
  • My Little Panzer: Sam's Danger Ball is one of these, much to Iggy Pop's surprise. It shoots out blades when anyone claps their hands nearby.
  • Neck Lift: Tank Girl to Jet Girl twice while inside a tank.
  • Neck Snap: Happens at least three times: Tank Girl to a Water and Power trooper after offering him an "oil change"; a Ripper to a W&P trooper during the attack that freed Tank Girl, and a Ripper to a W&P trooper during the attack on the W&P fortress.
  • Never Going Back To Prison: When Tank Girl first encounters Jet Girl, she assumes Jet Girl is there to take her back to the prison she escaped from, and makes her feelings about the place known.
    I ain't goin' back there. You're gonna have to kill me first.
  • Parental Incest: Tank Girl jokes that her first time was with her father.
  • Phallic Weapon: Tank Girl has a moment loving on the gun of the tank she ganks from Water & Power. To the tune of Shaft'', no less. And later on, explicitly called out as she rides the cannon up to the window of a truck. "Feeling a little inadequate?"
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The brothel owner's dress with the feathers arranged like Shoulders of Doom.
  • Pineapple Surprise: How Tank Girl kills a random mook.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Both Tank Girl and Jet Girl.
    • After dropping a bucket of water on Kesslee's head and shorting him out:
    Tank Girl: Have I hurt you yet?
    • As Jet Girl points a gun at her sexual harasser Sergeant Small:
    Sergeant Small: Fuck Me!
    Jet Girl: How many times do I have to tell you? I don't want to! [shoots him]
  • Quicksand Sucks: Subverted. Those were instead the Rippers' subgates.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Rippers after DeeTee is killed.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: Near the beginning a ship is seen on a dried harbor bottom.
  • Sand Is Water
    • Tank Girl takes a shower while in the Water & Power prison. In sand. Mmm.
    • "Rain Lady" corresponds to the character "Sub Girl" from the comics, and plows her submarine through the desert for the Final Battle!
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: While the Rippers are taking apart the guards inside Water and Power, Sergeant Small says "Screw this, man," and takes off.
  • Seize Them!: As Tank Girl and Sam are escaping Liquid Silver, the Madame recognizes Tank Girl and shouts "Seize them! Guards!"
  • Self-Destructive Charge: DeeTee during the final battle inside Water and Power.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: The Rippers in their initial appearances.
  • Shout-Out: To The Wizard of Oz - the bucket of water falling on Kesslee's head.
  • Shrinking Violet: Jet Girl starts out like this. Tank Girl quickly slaps it out of her.
  • Smoking Barrel Blowout: Jet Girl after she shoots Sergeant Small.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: Tank Girl does this on Jet Girl's behalf to stop Sergeant Small's sexual harassment.
  • Spiteful Spit: Tank Girl to a Water & Power trooper when she's captured.
  • Spontaneous Choreography: The Liquid Silver prostitutes during the Crowd Song.
  • Stan Winston: Designed and created the Rippers.
  • Storming the Castle: Tank Girl, her tank, Jet Girl and the Rippers assault the Water & Power fortress at the end of the movie.
  • Tank Goodness: Tank Girl has a tank with an astonishing assortment of accessories as well as a Brain in a Jar controlling it.
  • Tap on the Head
    • A Water & Power trooper knocks out Tank Girl after capturing her outside her house.
    • Tank Girl knocks out Sub Girl (AKA "Rain Lady") by tapping her on the top of the head with a plastic fish.
    • A Water & Power guard is knocked out from behind with a bowling pin.
  • Truth Serum: The Rippers use nitrous oxide to try to get the truth out of Tank Girl and Jet Girl.
  • Two Words: Obvious Trope: "I got two words for you...Brush your teeth!"
  • Vanity License Plate: The tank has the license plate "TANK" on the back and "KNAT" on the front.
  • We Will Meet Again: Kesslee uses the "This isn't over" variant.
  • Wild Take: The animated Jet Girl's reaction upon seeing the animated Tank Girl pointing a tank's cannon at her before firing.
  • World of Ham and Cheese: Lori Petty is a freedom fighter who drives a tank with "Tank" and "Knat" license plates, a cyborg brain, a charcoal grill and loads its cannon with beer cans when she runs out of ammo. Ice-T proudly plays a mutant kangaroo. But most of all, Malcolm McDowell plays Kesslee, the director of Water and Power. He knows he's just there to make fun of the whole crazy mess of a movie. WATER! IS! POWER!
  • Wrench Wench: Jet Girl is an expert mechanic.
  • You Have Failed Me: Kesslee to Captain Derouche, a subordinate who failed to stop the Rippers.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: The Madam at Liquid Silver.