Directed By: Rachel Talalay
Written By: Tedi Sarafin
Based on a Comic-Strip By: Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin
Cinematography: Gale Tattersall
Editor: James R. Symons
Cast: Lori Petty, Ice-T, Naomi Watts, Malcolm McDowell, Don Harvey, Jeff Kober, Reg E. Cathey, Scott Coffey, Ann Cusack, Iggy Pop, Brian Wimmer, Billy L. Sullivan, James Hong, Doug Jones, Stacy Linn Ramsowar
A girl is among the few survivors of a dystopian Earth. Riding a war tank, she fights against the tyranny of a mega-corporation that dominates the remaining potable water supply of the planet.
The film successfully fills out a comic book world with vivid colors, fashions, and ridiculousness.
The problem is that it all feels constantly staged on a set and bargain basement. The practical special effects are the only thing that is very impressive. Even later in the film Malcolm McDowell’s character’s more digital look is lackluster.
The film looks cheap and it keeps its rebellious D.I.Y. Punk attitude, but it doesn’t sell the story. It tries to remind the fans of its origins from time to time showing a scene and then showing the outcome from the panel of the graphic novel. Fans might remember how much it is not the graphic novel, but light entices newbies in the audience to seek out the source material.
The film isn’t horrible it is probably actually ahead of its time given a decade later it would probably have been treated better by the studio and audiences might have been more receptive. If made today probably would have been a successful limited series on a streaming Service
Surprisingly I quite enjoy the film. Though wasn’t actually looking for much. Maybe it is that offbeat production and sense of humor the film has that makes it feel a little different and special.
Lori Petty’s performance is enjoyable one of her biggest starring roles. Though I can understand if some audience members might find her annoying. While she is certainly energetic and wacky to truly be a believable action hero. Here she comes across as campier and like a demented sidekick, but maybe that is part of the appeal.
Her performance makes the action scenes a little more hard to believe. When you have this more comedic character all of a sudden being a savior and out stoic hero.
The film attempts to be experimental with not only the comic book panel cutaways but also a musical sequence that comes out of nowhere and probably helps cement the film’s cult classic status. Not to mention genetically altered kangaroo men.
The film was clearly made to be appealing more to teenagers and a female audience. Though it already had limited appeal as more of a cult comic book. Where the filmmakers and studio at the time hoped would come out and support the film and have at least that audience.
Anytime the film risks getting too violent. Which can happen in a dystopian apocalyptic landscape. It cuts away, there is no abundance of bad language or adult situations that are hinted at but cut short. Even a slight Beastiality romance between a kangaroo-man and the lead is more hinted at than anything
The film is also one of the earliest appearances of actress Naomi Watts in a supporting role.
Though credit must be given to this film for offering diversity and representation across the board in the casting of the film.
During the film and by the end it will definitely feel like you are on some kind of psychedelic or drug. Think of it as a precursor to a studio film like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY in wackiness and heroics.