Lori Petty as Tank Girl.

This ’90s Movie Is the Real Barbenheimer Crossover

Pa pa pa pow!

This is the summer of Barbenheimer, the epic event that occurred when Barbie and Oppenheimer were released to theaters on July 21st. People flooded the internet with memes in the lead-up to opening weekend, when they planned to watch both movies back to back. This meant planning showtimes, groups to go with, and special outfits for each film. Barbie and Oppenheimer may seem like two vastly different movies, which is the basis of the appeal. One is a close examination of the human experience with a star-studded cast. And the other is just Oppenheimer.

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Okay, it wasn’t just Oppenheimer. It showed the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer as he worked on the atomic bomb and struggled with the aftermath of his creation. He feared his creation started a chain of events that would lead to the end of humanity. So one movie depicts how a woman with cool accessories and amazing outfits can do anything while the other reminds us of the desolation the hubris of humanity can bring. But way back in the 1990s, a movie came out that combined many aspects of Barbenheimer. Of course, I’m talking about the cult classic Tank Girl.

Pink Corvette or a tank, same difference

Tank Girl is like if Barbie took place in a world ruined by Oppenheimer‘s technology. Maybe Tank Girl (Lori Petty) is a little more Weird Barbie than Sterotypical Barbie, but she is 100% my kind of Barbie. She’s got shaved blonde hair with clothes that came straight out of the punk scene. She paints her nails with a brush one would use to paint walls and she never shies away from a cool makeover. She’s a little naughtier than Barbie with her cunning double entendres and she knows how to trick men into doing exactly what she wants.

Inspired by the counter-culture comic book series by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett, Tank Girl takes us to a post-apocalyptic not-so-distant future. The year 2033 shows a world plagued by drought after a comet hit Earth. The evil Water & Power (W&P) corporation strictly controls all the remaining water. Tank Girl and her friends live off the grid while stealing water from W&P. However, the bad guys figure it out and raid their dream house. They even kill Tank Girl’s Ken, I mean boyfriend. After W&P takes her into custody, Tank Girl has no plan to go quietly.

During her time in W&P’s work prison, Tank Girl meets her new BFF, Jet Girl (Naomi Watts). Together, Tank Girl and Jet Girl escape W&P. They give their respective militia issue-grade vehicles fun makeovers while getting themselves fresh wardrobes. But they wouldn’t be complete without their Kens. Tank Girl and Jet Girl make friends (and more than that) with human-kangaroo hybrid super soldiers called Rippers. With help from Jet Girl and the Rippers (one of which is played by Ice-T), Tank Girl takes down W&P and lets the water flow across the world once more. Like Barbie, Tank Girl is an iconic female role model. This girl can even make a post-apocalyptic world hers.

(featured image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio)


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Author
D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.