The collected comics were given to director Rachel Talalay as a Christmas present and she became enamoured of them and pressed to obtain the film rights. Previously, Rachel Talalay had emerged as a production accountant and manager and then producer on the various A Nightmare on Elm Street films at New Line Cinema. She made her directorial debut with Freddys Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), the worst of the Elm Street films, and then went onto the equally awful Ghost in the Machine (1993). Neither of these boded well for Tank Girl. Moreover, upon opening, the film was slaughtering by the critical press at large and publicly denounced by the creators of the comic-books.
Surprisingly and despite expectation, Tank Girl emerges likeably on screen. It is difficult to understand why so many people disliked it it is a film that advertises itself as being exactly what it is. Moreover, it is a faithful recapturing of the comic books anarchic nose-thumbing punk attitude. Perhaps it is that people dislike what the film is it is brash and snot-nosed, its humour is enjoyably dirty and it revels in a freewheeling, permanent party attitude. It is like Mad Max goes California punk, or Bill and Ted do the holocaust. Rachel Talalay displays a genuinely bizarre sense of humour like the images of mutant kangaroos doing recitations of Beat poetry or the armed hold-up that Lori Petty manages to turn into a Cole Porter song-and-dance number.
Lori Petty, totally unrecognisable from her previous girl-next-door roles in the likes of Point Break (1991), A League of Their Own (1992) and Free Willy (1993), gives an immensely cheerful performance, which comes in a gracelessly gawky gait, full of flippant insolence and a mind-boggling wardrobe seemingly scoured from the rubbish tip outside Salvation Army stores. Malcolm McDowell has an equal amount of fun with his part even if he is only there at the beginning and end of the film. Talalay directs with a great deal of energy. Also of note is the then unknown A-list name of Naomi Watts in the role of Lori Pettys shy bespectacled sidekick Jet Girl. This is something that the series of kinetic animation inserts and comic-book panels add to considerably. This is a film that has definite potential to be rediscovered as cult material.
Subsequent to Tank Girl, Rachel Talalay vanished from cinema screens as a directorial force. She has vied between assignments for television in both the US and the UK, including episodes of Doctor Who (2005 ). Her two other works of genre note are as producer of The Borrowers (1997) and as director of the BBC production of The Wind in the Willows (2006).